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A consultation by Andrea Alciato on the laws of war

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In 1550, Andrea Alciato wrote a consilium concerning a case in the Reichskammergericht, one of the so–called Reformationsprozesse, between Henry II (the Younger), Duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, on the one hand, and the town of Goslar, together with the leaders of the Schmalkaldic League on the other. In the first question of this consilium, Alciato argues in favour of the Emperor’s legislative supremacy over the Reichskammer­gericht. In three other questions, he uses feudal law along with the ius commune. Alciato concludes that the Duke’s lands belong to the victors, that his children cannot be deprived of their father’s fiefs and that the League is under an obligation to sequester these. It can be seen that Alciato is legitimating the absolutism of Charles V and that some of his sources are cited for their authoritative nature rather than because they correspond with the political reality.

Affiliations: 1: KULeuven, Division for Roman law and legal history, Sint-Michielsstraat 6, PO Box 3453, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium


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