Archive for August 2010

The latest research in legal history

16 August 2010

The conference season is in full swing and I have had the good fortune to listen to a number of papers on law in the medieval period.

At the recent Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman studies, Professor Stephen D. White of Emory University showed in a masterly paper how the fables in the border of the Bayeux Tapestry might be interpreted within a context of the judicial process, while Thomas Roche of the Archives départementales de la Nièvre discussed the role of the Norman duke in settling disputes in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

On the hottest day of the year so far, I attended a conference on the Imprint of Roman law in Lombard and Carolingian Italy, organised by Projet Volterra (see Peter Sarris of Trinity College, Cambridge, gave a useful discussion of the colonate in late Antiquity, reminding us all of the difficulties in using legal texts to define the status of people.  Simon Corcoran of University College, London, discussed the practices of the Byzantines in southern Italy, which for me raised some interesting questions about the role of notaries, while Professor Michael Crawford of the Institute of Classical Studies, London, showed, in an insightful paper, the evidence and perceptions of Roman law that can be found in the work of Paul the Deacon. In a tour-de-force, Professor Luca Loschiavo of Teramo university then not only showed the different approaches taken by scholars of Lombard law, but also gave some of us the chance to refresh our Italian.

And, finally I should mention briefly some forthcoming events relating to early legal history. For those who like to plan in advance, a three-day conference on Law, Violence and Social Bonds, c. 900-1250 to be held at St Andrews University in June 2011 (see Then there is also our annual workshop and our international conference to be held in 2011, the details for both of which will be found here shortly.