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Framing the feudal bond: a chapter in the history of the ius commune in Medieval Europe

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In this article I wish to show how history of legal doctrines can assist in a better understanding of the legal reasoning over a long historical period. First I will describe the nineteenth century discussion on the definition of law as a ‘science’, and some influences of the medieval idea of science on the modern definition. Then, I’ll try to delve deeper into a particular doctrinal problem of the Middle Ages: how to fit the feudal relationship between lord and vassal into the categories of Roman law. The scholastic interpretation of these categories is very original, to the point of framing a purely personal relationship among property rights. The effort made by medieval legal culture to frame the reality into the abstract concepts of law can be seen as the birth of legal dogmatics.


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