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Abigail Firey
University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, KY 40506-0004)
Lady Justice's Schoolrooms: Learning Law in the Holy Roman Empire (Germany and Italy, ca. 800-1000)

Preparation of a three-volume history of law in medieval western Europe.

The concept of the rule of law evolved over centuries, yet its narrative has often neglected social context or cultural change. This project studies the impact of law on particular historical communities and, reciprocally, the influence of communities in shaping legal norms. It suggests that the meaning of law can be affected by the interpretative mediation of teachers and administrators, even when they are not directly delivering justice. The project is part of a book-chapter treating the spread of legal knowledge in Germany and Italy in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. Using unpublished manuscripts annotated by medieval teachers, it explores legal knowledge at the regional level, to reveal tensions and reciprocity between regional interpretations and legal universalism. It explores how judicial practices and principles, framed as commonly-held standards of equity and ethics, can be shaped by those who know law’s history, rationales, technical framework, and rhetoric.

Project fields:
Law and Jurisprudence; Legal History; Medieval History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 7/31/2019