Bringing the feudal law back home: social practice and the law of fiefs in Italy and Provence (1100-1250)

Attilio Stella

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Abstract

The Libri feudorum is a composite law book containing the customary laws of fiefs held in Lombardy which were codified in 1100–1250. Its function in shaping a late medieval ‘feudal vocabulary’ and, ultimately, modern models of feudalism was highlighted by Susan Reynolds and lies at the core of her anti-feudalism paradigm. This paper questions the disjuncture between social practice and learned law that underlies the paradigm, by analysing the context and making of the Libri feudorum and of legal writings associated with it – by Pillius de Medicina, Iacobus de Ardizone and Jean Blanc. By showing how practice could shape legal tools used by learned lawyers to frame fiefs and by reassessing the influence of the Libri feudorum on practice, the paper challenges the idea that fiefs were the outcome of professional or academic law and unveils aspects of the practical nature and intellectual dimension of lawyerly writing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Medieval History
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date9 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Feudalism
  • Feudal law
  • Social history
  • Legal history
  • Libri feudorum
  • Susan Reynolds

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