chapter  8
16 Pages

e Sacred Muses and the Twelve Tables: Legal Education and Practice, Latin Philology and Rhetoric, and Roman History

Philology and Rhetoric, and Roman History1

Edward Peters

e interests, activity, and inuence of Latin philologists, students of rhetoric and Roman history, and teachers and practitioners of law in regard to learned law between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries have generally been considered under the broad label of “legal humanism.” Yet the nature of humanist interest-and the interests of individual humanists-in learned law was hardly uniform or unchanging from, say, Petrarch to the Dutch Elegant School. One of the dangers of such terms as “legal humanism” is that they imply a systematic consistency over time that surely did not exist. Another is that they also and always tacitly imply an equally unchanging “scholasticism” of which learned law was a component and an implacable opposition between the two. e problem is further compounded by the use of such terms as “renaissance” and “humanism” apropos periods much earlier than the eenth and sixteenth centuries, some of which impute a very dierent character to “humanism” than is conventionally understood. Both problems bear on the teaching, practice, and general public perception of legal learning from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries.