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Social sciences and humanities


single-cycle master degrees (5 years) in LAW

Course year 1
Teaching units Unit History of medieval and modern law
History and Law (lesson)
  • TAF: Basic compulsory subjects SSD: IUS/19 CFU: 9
Teachers: Alessandro AGRI''
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download


Alessandro AGRI''


The Course aspires to offer a wide analysis of the italian and european legal history, in the timespan from the fall of the West Roman Empire to the Contemporary Age. The main topics, that will be the object of a detailed study during the Course, concern the history of the primary institutions of law, the legal culture, the legal thought and other juridical phenomena having a repercussion on social, philosophical and economic areas.

Admission requirements

In order to participate, with a dynamic approach and with a critical sense, in this Course it is vital:
1) to have an adequate knowledge of the Italian and European history;
2) to have a good knowledge of the main important Institutions of Roman Law.
3) to have an upper intermediate level of English language.

Course contents

The Course architecture is based on the following four modules:

I.1 Introduction to the discipline. Origin of the discipline; harbingers and preludes of the teaching at the italian universities.
I.2 From the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Germanic Kingdoms
I.3 The lombard legislations and the main frankish capitularies
I.4 The pre-irnerian Schools

II.1 The "legal renaissance", Irnerius, Pepo and the establishment of the School of Bologna
II.2 The Glossators: method and generation
II.3 The rebirth of the italian urban centers: institutions and iura propria
II.4 Commercial law
II.5 The post accursians, the School of Orléans and the Commentators
II.6 Canon law
II.7 Ius Commune-Iura Propria

III.1 Legal Humanism
III.2 Natural law doctrine
III.3 The Second Scholasticism: the School of Salamanca
III. 4 The Neo-Humanism in Italy: L.A. Muratori

IV.1 Legal Enlightenment: the enlighten sovereigns and their reforms
IV.2 French Revolution and the intermediate law
IV.3 Cesare Beccaria
IV.4 The Codification Epoch: ABGB, Napoleon Code, BGB
IV.5 The Historical School and the School of Pandectae.

The structure of the contents and the subdivision of the CFU is approximate and could be modified on account of students feedback as well as other particular necessity (e.g. needs of updating).

Teaching methods

Study of the lecture notes and didactic materials provided by the lecturer: - slides uploaded to the specific folder on Teams (MATERIALI DEL CORSO) - articles and essays concerning specific topics uploaded to the specific folder on Teams (PAPAERS) - readings of some paragraphs or chapters of the handbook adopted, in order to delve into some crucial topics of the history of law. Lectures will be delivered always in english either live or online, it will depends on the development of the health emergency Covid 19. In this latter case, lesson will be recorded and streaming (simultaneous and synchronous) so as to permit students to interact profitably with the lecturer. The attendance is not compulsory yet intensely recommended.

Assessment methods

Exams will take place on campus, compatibly with sanitary provisions and consequent measures. The exam consists in one oral test that will last 30 minutes on average. It will be based on the learning of the Course contents in view of the mentioned educational tasks, by means of one question for each module of the Course (4 questions on the whole). The assessment elements that contribute to determine the final score are: - the knowledge and the skill of comprehension; - the ability to apply the knwoledge; - the autonomy of judgment, the critical thinking and the formulation of judgment; - communication skills. The exams will be held during the didactic calendar and for each session students must register by using Esse3 platform. There are no mid terms exams.

Learning outcomes

Expected results at the end of the Course are:

- Knowledge and ability of comprehension: at the end of the Course, students will acquire an appropriate level of knowledge and comprehension of the topics;

- Knowledge and applied ability of comprehension: at the end of the Course, students will be able to understand the basis of the history of civil and criminal law and of the history of the institutions. They will acquire the ability to connect the topic analysed during the Course with historical, social, philosophical and economic dynamics, so as to understand fully the essence and the complexity of the legal phenomena; they will increase their horizontal skills, such as the ability to contextualise historical and legal events, in order to develop a more conscientious learning of the current positive law;

- Autonomy of judgment: at the end of the Course, students will be able to use the learned knowledge in an adequate and indipendent way; they will acquire the ability of critical analysis of the subject in order to face the historical-legal issues properly;

- Communication skills: at the end of the Course, students will increase their communication and interaction skills; they will be able to handle concepts, topics, and the lexicon concerning the field of the legal history properly and efficaciously; they will improve their communication skills as regards the english language (fluency, legal terminology, ability of oral expression).

- Learning ability: at the end of the Course, students will achieve the ability to use in autonomy and adequately the acquired knowledge so as to update continuously their expertise.


A. Padoa Schioppa, A History of Law in Europe: From the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2017. Obbligatorio per non frequentanti/Compulsory for non attending students: entire book with the exception for cap. 26 and part VI.
Program for attending students: attendees will study
1) slides of the Course;
2) notes of the Course;
3) essays uploaded on Teams by the lecturer.