ABOUT THIS BOOK
A Short History of European Law brings to life 2,500 years of legal history, tying current norms to the circumstances of their conception. Tamar Herzog describes how successive legal systems built upon one another, from ancient times through the European Union. Roman law formed the backbone of each configuration, though the way it was used and reshaped varied dramatically from one century and place to the next. Only by considering Continental civil law and English common law together do we see how they drew from and enriched this shared tradition.
“A remarkable achievement, sure to become a go-to text for scholars and students alike… A must-read for anyone eager to understand the origins of core legal concepts and institution—like due process and rule of law—that profoundly shape the societies in which we live today.”
—Amalia D. Kessler, Stanford University
“A fundamental and timely contribution to the understanding of Europe as seen through its legal systems. Herzog masterfully shows the profound unity of legal thinking and practices across the Continent and in England.”
—Federico Varese, Oxford University
“Required reading for Americanists North and South, and indeed, for all of us inhabiting a postcolonial world deeply marked by the millennia of legal imaginings whose dynamic transformations it so lucidly charts.”
—David Nirenberg, University of Chicago
Herzog’s book is a remarkable achievement, sure to become a go-to text for scholars and students alike. Comprehensive and concise, it bridges the continental and Anglo-American traditions and focuses on vital questions of legal authority and legitimacy. It is a must-read for anyone eager to understand the origins of core legal concepts and institutions—like due process and rule of law—that profoundly shape the societies in which we live today.
-- Amalia D. Kessler, Stanford University
A brilliant and bold synthesis of more than two thousand years of the history of European law. Herzog deftly articulates the complex relationship between political and social events on the one hand and the juridical solutions devised to address them on the other. She challenges both the idea of formal continuity of law over time and the assumed divergence between English common law and Continental law. A Short History of European Law is a valuable and original book.
-- Simona Cerutti, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris
In this fresh and sometimes surprising book, Herzog acknowledges the worldwide impact of European legal history without ever becoming Eurocentric. She connects legal history with their imperial dimensions, civil with common law, and core topics with illustrative detail. Drawing on diverse historiographies, she links this long history to today’s dynamically changing world of law. A great read, erudite and original.
-- Thomas Duve, Max Planck Institute of European Legal History
Few histories are more consequential than those of our laws, since how we imagine the relationship of our laws to their past can itself affect the present of our polities. How surprising, then, that few historians have dared to confront the vastness of that history. Herzog’s lapidary book is much vaster than even its title suggests and is required reading for Americanists North and South, and indeed, for all of us inhabiting a postcolonial world deeply marked by the millennia of legal imaginings whose dynamic transformations it so lucidly charts.
-- David Nirenberg, University of Chicago
A fundamental and timely contribution to the understanding of Europe as seen through its legal systems. Herzog masterfully shows the profound unity of legal thinking and practices across the Continent and in England. This will become required reading for students and scholars across the social sciences.
-- Federico Varese, University of Oxford
Exceptionally readable, the book presents the various elements of Roman law augmented by German law that thereupon fed into the legal systems of France, Germany, and England…This is a marvelous introductory reflection on the beginning of law in the West that was then exported to the remainder of the globe through the imperial enterprise…Here is an essential read for legal historians and law students.
-- S. R. Silverburg Choice
An estimable achievement. Students and teachers of legal history are greatly in her debt.
-- David Lieberman Journal of Modern History
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: The Making of Law in Europe
Part One: Ancient Times
1. Roman Law: Now You See It, Now You Don’t
2. The Creation of Latin Christendom
Part Two: The Early Middle Ages
3. An Age with No Jurists?
4. Lords, Emperors, and Popes around the Year 1000
Part Three: The Later Middle Ages
5. The Birth of a European Ius Commune
6. The Birth of an English Common Law
Part Four: The Early Modern Period
7. Crisis and Reaffirmation of Ius Commune
8. Crisis and Reinvention of Common Law
9. From Ius Gentium to Natural Law: Making European Law Universal I
Part Five: Modernity
10. North American Developments
11. The French Revolution
Part Six: The Nineteenth Century
12. Codifying the Laws of Europe: Making European Law Universal II
13. Codifying Common Law
Epilogue: A Market, a Community, and a Union