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Law without Lawyers

Law without Lawyers

The Early Middle Ages

Chapter:
(p.46) * Two * Law without Lawyers
Source:
The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226077611.003.0003

The early Middle Ages was a world without lawyers—or nearly so. The legal system in Rome eroded drastically, at least in the Western empire, during the years that followed the turn of the sixth century. By the end of that century, little more than its ghost remained, and the Roman legal profession faded away with it. The eclipse of the Roman legal system and profession resulted from a series of events usually called “the fall of the Roman empire.” The eastern half of the empire remained reasonably intact throughout the early Middle Ages and indeed for nearly a millennium thereafter. Although Roman government eventually did crumble in the West, its demise was slow and chaotic. The church's own organization helped to preserve numerous features of Roman administrative style. Some of its structural elements, such as provinces and dioceses, corresponded to administrative units of the late empire.

Keywords:   Middle Ages, lawyers, legal system, Rome, Western empire, legal profession, Roman empire, church

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