A Companion to Western Legal Traditions

From Antiquity to the Twentieth Century


This volume offers an extensive introduction to Western legal traditions from antiquity to the twentieth century. Drawing from a variety of scholarly writings, both in English and in translation, thirteen leading scholars present the current state of western legal history research and pave the way for new debates and future study. This is the ideal sourcebook for graduate students, as it enables them to approach the key questions of the field in an accessible way.

Contributors are: Aniceto Masferrer, C.H. (Remco) van Rhee, Seán P. Donlan, Stephan Dusil, Gerald Schwedler, Jean-Louis Halpérin, Jan Hallebeek, Agustín Parise, Heikki Pihlajamäki, Dirk Heirbaut, Bernd Kannowski, Adolfo Giuliani, Olivier Moréteau, and Jacques Vanderlinden.

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Aniceto Masferrer, Ph.D. (2000), is Professor of Legal History at the University of Valencia. He has published around 25 monographs and edited volumes in Spanish and English, including The Making of Dignity and Human Rights in the Western Tradition. A Retrospective Analysis (Springer, 2023). He is also the editor of GLOSSAE. European Journal of Legal History.

C.H. (Remco) van Rhee, Ph.D. (1997), is Professor of European Legal History at Maastricht University. He has published widely on European legal history, the history of courts and adjudication, and modern civil procedure. He is an editor of Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis and contributed as chair of the working group on Obligations of the Judge and the Parties to the Model European Rules of Civil Procedure (UNIDROIT/European Law Institute, 2021).

Seán P. Donlan, Ph.D. (2002), is Professor of Law at Thompson Rivers University. He has published on comparative legal history, comparative law, and Irish history. In addition to editing the journal Comparative Legal History, his edited publications include Comparative Law: Mixes, Movements, and Metaphors (Routledge, 2020) and Legal Traditions in Louisiana and the Floridas, 1763-1848 (The Law Book Exchange, 2019).

Cornelis Heesters, MA, LLM, is an independent researcher, writer, editor, and translator living in Baltimore.
Notes on Contributors

Western Legal Traditions: An Introduction
  Aniceto Masferrer, C.H. van Rhee, Seán P. Donlan and Cornelis Heesters

1 Antiquity (753 bc –565 ad )
  Jan Hallebeek

2 Early Middle Ages (500–1100)
  Stephan Dusil, Bernd Kannowski and Gerald Schwedler

3 High and Late Middle Ages (1100–1500)
  Dirk Heirbaut and Heikki Pihlajamäki

4 From Ius Commune Multi-normativity to a Sovereign Legislator (1500–1650)
  Adolfo Giuliani

5 1650–1775
  Jean-Louis Halpérin

6 Revolutionary Period and Nineteenth Century (1776–1900)
  Aniceto Masferrer and C.H. van Rhee

7 Contemporary Period (1900–Present)
  Olivier Moréteau, Agustín Parise and Jacques Vanderlinden†


This book has been conceived and designed for researchers, lecturers, students (both graduate and postgraduate) and those who are interested in law, history and comparative legal history in general.
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