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| Book Review | Law and History Review, 17.2 | The History Cooperative

 Nevertheless, while trying to satisfy emotions, Cantor also provides a comprehensive and up-to-date narrative of the history of Anglo-American law, with critical comparisons with the Romanist tradition of "Justinian law" [sic]. He carries the story of common law from Glanville down to the O. J. trial--from the "legal revolution" of the twelfth century down to the state of Anglo-American law in the 1990s. The first key figure is Bracton, who was the first to introduce theory (drawn mainly from Roman law but also scholasticism and Magna Carta) into the unruly growth of English custom. Bracton is characterized by Cantor, variously and imaginatively, as "a medieval Holmes," a plausible secondary character in a Hardy novel,

Bracton Online home page, Harvard Law School Library

Bracton's chief claim to fame is his association with the long treatise De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae (On the Laws and Customs of England), which the noted legal historian F.W. Maitland described as "the crown and flower of English jurisprudence." The work (commonly known now simply as Bracton) attempts to describe rationally the whole of English law, a task that was not again undertaken until Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England in the eighteenth century. The work is remarkable both for its wealth of detail and for its attempts to make sense out of English law largely in terms of the ius commune, the combination of Roman and canon law that was taught in the universities in Bracton's time.

While the attribution of the work to Bracton is of considerable antiquity, it now seems that the bulk of the work was written in the 1220's and 1230's by persons other than Bracton himself.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 13th, 2007 at 10:17:19 AM EST
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