A survey of the main outlines of Continental European legal history from the fall of the Roman Empire to the codifications of the 19th century. The course will focus on the main expressions of European legal culture over this long period of time: the “barbarian law codes” (6th–10th centuries), the revival of the academic study of Roman and canon law (11th–13th centuries), the customary law (13th–16th centuries), the schools of academic law (14th–17th centuries: the “commentators,” the “humanists,” the “natural law school”), and the process of codification (France and Germany, 18th and 19th centuries). In each period an effort is made to relate the types of law produced to the social, political, and religious history of the period. No background in continental legal history will be presumed. All readings will be in English.
Van Caenegem, An Historical Introduction to Private Law (1992), and multilithed materials.
This course will meet at both HLS and FAS. Please contact the faculty for more details.