Citizenship, exile, and natural rights in medieval Roman law, ca. 1200-1400
Riethdorf, Cornelius Maximilian
University of Cambridge
Faculty of History
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Riethdorf, C. M. (2016). Citizenship, exile, and natural rights in medieval Roman law, ca. 1200-1400 (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.41648
This dissertation lies at the intersection of the history of political thought and legal history. It concerns the relationship between the political community (civitas) and the individual, as citizen (civis) and as human being, in the medieval Roman law tradition from ea. 1200 to 1400. My primary sources are the writings of the most famous north-Italian jurists (including Accursius, Bartolus of Sassoferrato, and Baldus de Ubaldis), who were at the centre of the late-medieval reception of classical Roman law. I analyse three types of exile found in the legal theory of the Roman lawyers: deportation, imperial banishment, and communal banishment. This analysis is framed contextually with reference to the social and political conditions of northern Italy, where exile served not only as a political measure, but also formed part of the ordinary administration of justice. The legal procedure of exiling is informative about what we would today call due process of law and states of emergency. Furthermore, since exile caused loss of citizenship, by evaluating the legal qualities lost and retained by exiles, it is possible to establish the meaning of civic belonging, as well as the meaning of not belonging to any civitas - of being merely a human person with natural rights (statelessness, in modem terminology). My findings allow me to revise existing narratives about citizenship and natural rights in medieval Roman law. I argue that citizenship was not fundamentally contractual, and that it was primarily (if not exclusively) associated with private-law rights rather than political rights and public duties. I reject the current historical consensus that sees the origins of natural rights language only in medieval canon law, philosophy, and theology, by demonstrating that the Roman lawyers also articulated a theory of natural rights in terms of subjective ius naturale.
Digitisation of this thesis was sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.41648
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