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Medieval Public Justice

Medieval Public Justice

Massimo Vallerani
Translated by Sarah Rubin Blanshei
  • Book Info
    Medieval Public Justice
    Book Description:

    In a series of essays based on surviving documents of actual court practices from Perugia and Bologna, as well as laws, statutes, and theoretical works from the 12th and 13th centuries, Massimo Vallerani offers important historical insights into the establishment of a trial-based public justice system.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1972-1
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword to the English Edition
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Sarah Rubin Blanshei

    In the past decade, Massimo Vallerani has become one of the leading exponents of a major shift in the interpretation of legal institutions in the medieval Italian communes and Renaissance territorial states, one that has been strongly influenced by new anthropological perspectives of the second half of the twentieth century.¹ The extended case method orprocessualapproach treats a trial not as an entity unto itself but as part of a process that begins in relationships between the parties before the trial and may have consequences between them after the trial. It is a process that combines specific cases, rules,...

  4. Preface to the English Edition
    (pp. xiii-xx)
    Massimo Vallerani
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)

    Procedure plays an awkward role in the history of justice. It represents the technical part of the narration, often reconstructed in a mechanical and abstract way, as a sequencing of acts without real significance. At the same time procedure is one of the principal indicators for classifying juridical systems and evaluating their stage of development: the passage from accusation to inquisition, however it took place in reality, is always seen as a sign of a completed state structure. It is treated as a natural phenomenon, as a gradual evolution, framed in chronological models of very long duration, from the twelfth...

  6. 1 Procedure and Justice in the Italian Cities of the Late Middle Ages (Twelfth–Fourteenth Centuries)
    (pp. 12-72)

    The launching of the trial as the motor of public justice had a profound political and cultural significance in twelfth-century Europe. From the studies of Andrè Gouron¹ and Ennio Cortese² and the systematization of theordines iudiciariiby Linda Fowler-Magerl,³ we know that the formulation of anordo iudiciishared by diverse powers occurred with the contribution of a plurality of cultural centers, often independent from Bologna, even if all or almost all the authors had contact with Bolognese learning of the urban schools, the university, cathedral churches, and great monastic centers.⁴ We can also see that the devised procedures...

  7. 2 How Procedures Think: Facts and the Trial
    (pp. 73-113)

    From a logical point of view, the trial presents itself as a system for knowing the facts that ought to be defined, proven, and if necessary, sanctioned. But what is understood as a “fact” and how one proceeds to identify and prove it in a trial are not simple questions, nor do they yield immediate answers. Common sense suggests a simplified version: facts are probable criminous events that have to be verified in a seat of judgment. In juridical reality, however, the definition of a fact is very complicated because the name to be given to a fact and its...

  8. 3 The Accusatory System in Action: Bologna between the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
    (pp. 114-173)

    In this chapter we examine the development of the accusatory trial in Bologna between approximately 1280 and 1330: from the apogee of the popular government to the submission of the city to the pontifical legate (1326). It is a predominantly technical study of the accusatory procedure and of its application on an urban scale by the podestarial tribunal. As in the case of all technical choices, it must respond to some preliminary options.

    The accusatory trial of theDuecentois the heir of a very long tradition of a public triadic trial modeled on theplacitumand taken up again,...

  9. 4 Peace Accord and Trial in the Judicial System: The Example of Perugia
    (pp. 174-227)

    We now deal with the theme of the trial from a perspective different from the frontal one used for the accusatory and inquisitorial trials. The perspective here is designed by the value and function of the acts of peace in the communal tribunals, in this case the courts of the podesta and Capitano del Popolo of Perugia in the second half of theDuecento.¹ Measuring the impact of the “private” accords on the public trial is a useful exercise for understanding the nature of communal justice and for a better reconstruction of the complex pathways traversed in order to determine...

  10. 5 How the Inquisition Is Constructed: Arbitrium and Power in Perugia
    (pp. 228-271)

    In a famous passage from theTractatus de maleficiis, Alberto Gandino presents the inquisitionex officioas a kind of ongoing and current exception to the ordinary trial, a practice widely accepted in the urban tribunals, but contrary to civil law: “But concerning civil law, today judges of the podesta try any kind of crime through inquisitionex officio. . . and to such an extent judges may pay heed to custom, as Lord Guido notes, and as I saw commonly observed, though it is against civil law.”¹

    In this definition, framed by a contrast, and often recalled in...

  11. 6 The Inquisitorial Trial in the Political Struggles in Bologna between the Duecento and Trecento
    (pp. 272-305)

    Research on the Bolognese situation starts from the statute of the commune of 1288—a document that comprises the most important normative achievement of the Popolo government, which in the span of a few years had promoted and directed the reform of all existing legislation in the urban sphere.¹ Indeed, redaction of the new statute of the commune was accomplished in conjunction with a new compilation of the statute of the Popolo (now lost), and hence with the revision of the statutes of the principal organizations of the guilds and arms societies.² The civic norms therefore were rewritten according to...

  12. 7 The Petition to the Signore and the Power of Mercy
    (pp. 306-348)

    The petition became broadly diffused in the Italian states toward the middle of the fourteenth century, based on the model of the pontifical petition. The case of Bologna is very precocious and anticipatory of successive tendencies: imported by Bertrando del Poggetto, pontifical legate in 1326, the system of petitions was used as a true instrument of government by Taddeo Pepoli from 1337. Examination of registers of Pepoli decrees permits us to reconstruct the typologies of petitions and the forms of grace. The first typology is divided into three principal types: juridical petitions that request the reduction of a penalty and...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 349-372)