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Spring 2025 Seminar

Legal History Seminar: Continental Legal History

Pre/Co-requisites: The ability to read simple Latin prose. Those who have not taken or are not concurrently registered in Continental Legal History will be asked to listen to the prerecorded lectures in that course. For JD1L students, permission of the instructor is required in order to enroll.

Exam type: No Exam

In the first quarter of the 12th century a small group of men in Bologna began to study Roman and canon law with an intensity not witnessed in the previous centuries. The combined product of these two studies, known as the ius commune (“the common law”), became an essential part of the training of any respectable European jurist, and the influence of the ius commune on subsequent developments, up to and including the codifications of the 19th century, is very large indeed. This seminar will introduce students to the techniques of reading and analyzing works in the ius commune of the medieval and early modern periods with the goal of enabling students to write a series of short papers on some part of the ius commune (which then may be combined into a longer paper to fulfill the JD writing requirement).

Offered concurrently in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as History 2080. Students taking this seminar may sign up for an hour of independent written work with Professor Donahue.