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Roman law and the emperor -- the rationale of ‘written reason’ in some Consilia of Oldradus da Ponte

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The consilia which will be examined here were written in the vicinity of the papal Rota at Avignon by Oldradus da Ponte. Educated at Bologna, he appears to have arrived at the Lateran in the entourage of Peter Colonna just before the Colonna fled from the wrath of Boniface VIII, and after a short spell as assessor for the Capitano del Popolo at Bologna and then as a teacher at Padua, to have migrated to Avignon where he was still active in 1337.

Initially, Oldradus' consilium 69 will be examined on the assumption that even a document which has long been described as ‘famous’, ‘important’, ‘celebrated’ and ‘interesting’, will reward reconsideration. It will be argued that Oldradus did in fact sound a discordant note which failed to harmonizewith what has been presented as a contemporary consensus, namely that Justinian's legislation ought to be treated with a ‘veneration similar to that accorded to Holy Scripture’. This will be followed by a broader analysis of the deployment and nature of biblical and other extra-legal authorities in his consilia. An epilogue examines the wider significance of Oldradus' consilia.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St. John's College, Cambridge.

Publication date: 1994-01-01

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