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Medieval legal procedure

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You can find an updated versio of this page at my website www.rechtshistorie.nl.

Medieval procedure is a field thas has received relatively much attention. This is reflected also in the number of modern text editions. Here attention focuses first on the episcopal courts since the 13th century, after the introduction of the officialis or official, the episcopal judge. On this page much space is devoted to Guillelmus Durandus, the author of an encyclopedic work on legal procedure. This page cannot do without a section on the inquisition. The section on the papal courts concentrates on the Rota Romana. At the end there is a list of modern editions.

The following studies introduce you to and offer a guide into medieval legal procedure:

Officials   Durandus   Inquisition   Papal courts   Editions

Officials

Bishops in Northern Europe delegated their jurisdiction since the early 13th century to the official, an ecclesiastical judge. The following studies merit attention, and see also for Utrecht:

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Durandus

The Speculum iuris, an encyclopedic treatise on legal procedure by Guillelmus Durandus (also Duranti) (circa 1235-1296) merits special attention. Durandus was born near Beziers in Southern France. He studied law in Bologna. Pope Clement V appointed him as auditor generalis of the Rota Romana. He attended the Second Council of Lyon in 1274. In 1286 he became bishop of Mende, after fulfilling several other high functions. Instead of mentioning more literature I refer to the online article by Frank Soetermeer  on Durand in the BBKL (in German).

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The inquisition and the "inquisitio"

Through the centuries the inquisition has gained a dark reputation. Originally, however, the "inquisitio" was a legal procedure initiated by a court, instead of a procedure started by accusations of the plaintiff. The papal inquisition had yet to start. Unless armed with papal authority, inquisitors worked locally under the jurisdiction of the bishop. The Dominicans were not the first inquisitors, but they did often act in this role, see also the article by Guy Bedouelle. Franciscans, too, acted as inquisitors. The inquisitorial method became notorious for its use in processes against heretics. Only after the Middle Ages started the reign of terror of the Spanish Inquisition. Two Dominicans, Heinrich Krämer and Jacob Sprenger, wrote in the late 15th century the Malleus maleficarum (1487) or "Witches Hammer", a book that started another gruesome chapter in the history of the inquisition. Jean Duvernoy has compiled a rich list of sources on the inquisition in the Languedoc. The literature mentioned here focuses on the Dominicans and Southern France. 

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Papal courts

Many publications on papal jurisdiction focus on the Rota Romana. Here a selection of literature:

  • Tangl, Michael (ed.), Die päpstliche Kanzleiordnungen von 1200-1500 (Innsbruck 1894; reprint Aalen 1959).
  • Göller, Emil, Die päpstliche Pönitentiarie von ihrem Ursprung bis zu ihrer Umgestaltung unter Pius V. (4 vols., Rome 1907-1911).
  • Lefebvre, Charles (ed.), Antonii Augustini Praxis Rotae et Iacobi Emerix Tractatus seu Notitia Sacrae Rotae Romanae (Tournai-Paris, s.a. [1961]).
  • Lefebvre, Charles, 'Rote Romaine', Dictionnaire du Droit Canonique VII (Paris 1965) col. 742-771.
  • Herde, Peter Audientia litterarum contradictarum. Untersuchungen über die päpstlichen Justizbriefe und die päpstliche Delegationsgerichtbarkeit vom 13. bis zum Beginn des 16. Jahrhunderts (2 vols., Tübingen 1970).
  • Del Re, Niccolò, La Curia Romana (3rd ed., Rome 1970).
  • Puza, Richard, Res iudicata. Rechtskraft und fehlerhaftes Urteil in den Decisionen der römischen Rota (Graz 1973).
  • Dolezalek, Gero, 'Rota', in: Handwörterbuch zur deutschen Rechtsgeschichte IV, Adalbert Erler and Ekkehard Kaufmann (eds.) (Berlin 1989) col. 1148-1152.
  • Dolezalek, Gero, 'Reports of the "Rota" (14th-19th centuries)', in: Judicial records, law reports and the growth of case law, John H. Baker (ed.) (Berlin 1989) 67-99.
  • Hoberg, Hermann, Inventario dell'Archivio della Sacra romana Rota : (sec. 14 - 19), J. Metzler (ed.) (Città del Vaticano 1994; Collectanea Archivi Vaticani, 34).
  • Schwarz, Brigide, ‘Statuta sacri causarum apostolici palacii auditorum et notariorum : Eine neue Quelle zur Geschichte der Rota Romana im späten Mittelalter’, in: Studien zum 15. Jahrhundert, J. Helmrath (ed.) (2 vols., Munich 1994) 845-867.
  • Schmugge, Ludwig, Kirche, Kinder, Karrieren. Päpstliche Dispense von der unehelichen Geburt im Spätmittelalter (Zürich 1995).
  • Bukowksa-Gorgoni, Christina, Causae polonae coram sacra romana rota : XV-XVII saec. : explanatio processuum et regesta documentorum (Rome 1995).
  • Gilomen, Hans-Jörg, Die Rotamanualien des Basler Konzils : Verzeichnis der in den Handschriften der Basler Universitätsbibliothek behandelten Rechtsfälle (Tübingen 1998).
  • Santangela Cordani, Angela, La giurisprudenza della Rota Romana nel secolo XIV (Milan 2001).
  • Ingesman, Per, Provisioner og processer: den romerske Rota og dens behandling af danske sager i middelalderen (Århus 2003).

Main literature   Officials   Durandus   Inquisition   Papal courts   Editions

Editions

The following texts are available in reprints:

  • Guillelmus Durandus, Speculum iuris (2 vols., Basileae: Episcopius, 1574) - reprint Aalen 1975.
  • Pillius, Tancredus, Gratia Libri de iudiciorum ordine, F.C. Bergmann (ed.) (Göttingen 1842; reprint Aalen 1965).
  • Roffredus Beneventanus, Libellus actionum [Super utraque censura cum questionibus sabbatinis] (Avenione 1500) - reprint Turin 1968.

Modern editions:

  • Gross, C. (ed.), Incerti auctoris Ordo judiciarius, pars summae legum et Tractatus de praescriptione (Innsbruck 1870).
  • Wunderlich, A. (ed.), Anecdota quae processum civilem spectant (Göttingen 1841).
  • Quellen zur Geschichte des römisch-kanonischen Processes im Mittelalter, Ludwig Wahrmund (ed.) (5 vols., Innsbruck-Heidelberg 1905-1931; reprint Aalen 1962).
  • Rossi, G., La Summa arboris actionum di Ponzio da Ylerda (Milano 1951).
  • Logan, Donald (ed.), 'An early thirteenth-century judge-delegate formulary of English origin', Studia Gratiana 14 (1967) 73-87.
  • Höhne, H. (ed.), 'Pillii Medicinensis Summula de reorum exceptionibus', Ius Commune 9 (1980) 139-210.
  • El ordo iudiciarius "Ad summariam noticiam" y sus derivados : contribución al estudio de la literatura procesal castellana, Antonio Pérez Martin (ed.), in: Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla 8 (1982) 195-266, 10 (1984) 327-423.
  • Sorrenti, Lucia, Tra scuole e prassi giudiziarie. Giuliano da Sesso e il suo "Libellus quaestionum" (Rome 1999).
  • Ordo iudiciarius Sapientiam affectant omnes - edited by E.C. Coppens, Nijmegen, downloadable in PDF-form , also in : Voortschrijdend procesrecht. Een historische verkenning, C.H. van Rhee, F. Stevens and E. Persoons (eds.) (Louvain 2001).
  • Lepsius, Susanne, Die Richter und die Zeugen. Eine Studie anhand des Tractatus testimoniorum des Bartolus von Sassoferrato (Frankfurt am Main 2003) - study and text edition.

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