Pavian Law-school

The Pavian Law-school

Italy was to be for a while the focus of the whole world’s legal history. For one thing, the thread of legislation was never quite broken there. Capitularies or statutes which enact territorial law came from Karolingian emperors and from Karolingian kings of Italy,The Pavian law-school. and then from the Ottos and later German kings. But what is more important is that the old Lombard law showed a marvellous vitality and a capacity of being elaborated into a reasonable and progressive system. Lombardy was the country in which the principle of personal law struck its deepest roots.

Besides Lombards and Romani there were many Franks and Swabians who transmitted their law from father to son. It was long before the old question Qua lege vivis? lost its importance. The “conflict of laws” seems to have favoured the growth of a mediating and instructed jurisprudence. Then at Pavia in the first half of the eleventh century a law-school had arisen. In it men were endeavouring to systematize by gloss and comment the ancient Lombard statutes of Rothari and his successors. The heads of the school were often employed as royal justices (iudices palatini); their names and their opinions were treasured by admiring pupils. From out this school came Lanfranc.

Thus a body of law, which though it had from the first been more neatly expressed than, was in its substance strikingly like, our own old dooms, became the subject of continuous and professional study. The influence of reviving Roman law is not to be ignored. These Lombardists knew their Institutes, and, before the eleventh century was at an end, the doctrine that Roman law was a subsidiary common law for all mankind (lex omnium generalis) was gaining ground among them; but still the law upon which they worked was the old Germanic law of the Lombard race. Pavia handed the lamp to Bologna, Lombardy to the Romagna.

Source: Sir Frederick Pollock, The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I (1895)

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