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John of Salisbury and Law

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Chapter Summary

Since the highly laudatory judgement delivered in the mid19th century by Friedrich Carl von Savigny, studies devoted to John of Salisbury have underlined the extent and exceptional quality, for his period, of the legal knowledge displayed by the great humanist, both in his major work, the Policraticus, and in his correspondence. John represents law as the interpreter of equity, in a way personifying it by declaring that it is to the interpreter that "a will for equity and justice made itself known"; in our opinion, however, this "will for equity and justice" can only be the divine will, as, indeed, is implied by the definition of the law given by John. The definition of law is followed by an analysis of the particular situation of the prince in his relationship to the law. John says that all the prince's subjects are constrained by obligation to observe the law.

Keywords: Friedrich Carl von Savigny; John of Salisbury; law; mid 19th century; Policraticus



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