Chapter Seven

The work on Chapter Seven in this redraft was minor. This is largely because of the amount of work I’d already put into this chapter; a chapter which caused me more textual difficulties than any other.

The chapter discusses Roman law, beginning with the codification of classical law by the sixth century Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the Codex, Digest and Institutes. This work had little impact in the Latin West until a manuscript was discovered in 1077. The chapter looks at the work of the initial ‘glossators’, who tried to clarify the text, including Irnerius, but the real focus is on the later ‘post-glossators’ Bartolus of Sassoferrato and Baldus de Ubaldis, and their writings which put the law to work. Very little of their work is available in English, and there are no modern editions in any language except for a few short pieces. In Bartolus there are recurrent concerns with the relation between place and power, in terms of the extent of law and the relation between different legal codes. Bartolus explicitly links jurisdiction to territorium. I also say a bit about some of Bartolus’s other interests, including his fascinating tract on rivers and legal issues around their geography. It’s a small text of legal geometry. Baldus is interested in jurisdiction and territory too (they go together like ‘mist in a swamp’, he says), though he also brings the notion of the populace to centre stage.

A subsequent section of the chapter looks at the idea that the ‘rex imperator in regno suo’; that the king is a emperor within his own kingdom. Various legal codes and papal proclamations are discussed. The chapter ends by some discussion of the legacy of thinkers like Bartolus and Baldus in writers on canon law such as Nicholas of Cusa, and in secular legal theorists such as Vitoria, Grotius and Selden. These last three writers were all dealing with issues that arose through colonisation, which forms the background context to lots of the writers discussed in chapters eight and nine.

I think this chapter is perhaps the key to the whole book. I did some initial work on these thinkers in Singapore in late 2008, and then much more extensively in London in 2009 and 2010. I can’t begin to think how I’d have done this work if I’d not had access to the British Library rare books room on a regular (often daily) basis. Three minor referencing issues remain, but I hope these can be resolved with one more trip there.

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This entry was posted in Baldus de Ubaldis, Bartolus of Sassoferrato, Francisco de Vitoria, Hugo Grotius, Irnerius, Medieval Studies, The Birth of Territory. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Chapter Seven

  1. Pingback: The Birth of Territory – Chapter Updates | Progressive Geographies

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