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Denis L. Drysdall, Andrea Alciato, the Humanist and the Teacher. Notes on a Reading of his Early Works

Denis L. Drysdall, Andrea Alciato, the Humanist and the Teacher. Notes on a Reading of his Early Works

Publié le par Marc Escola

The attention given to Alciato in recent years has been concerned mostly with his “Emblemata”. This term, used originally as the title of a compilation of epigrams describing personal devices, became very soon the name of a new genre of poem and illustration widely used in architectural and artistic ornamentation. In his lifetime however Alciato was better known in Italy and France as a jurist and philologist who, equipped with an extraordinary knowledge of classical literature, questioned the interpretations of his predecessors, the commentators and glossators. At the same time he was famous as a teacher who attracted great numbers of students by the clarity and concision of his delivery. This book, which offers a view of his personnality, his method, and his place as a teacher of the law between mos italicus and mos gallicus, is based on a reading of works not always accessible to specialists of the emblems.

Contents :


Chapter One: The Budding Humanist. In Bifum

Chapter Two: History of Lombardy

The “Antiquitates mediolanenses”

Inscriptions and Symbolism

Inscriptions in later works

The Rerum patriae libri IV

Chapter Three: Philology: the Method

The Annotationes and the Opusculum (1515)

The Praetermissa (1518)

The Annotationes in Tacitum

Chapter Four: Philology: the Method Applied

The Dispunctiones (1518)

The Paradoxa

De eo quod interest


Chapter Five: The Teacher at Avignon

De stipulationum divisionibus

De verborum obligationibus, 1519

Chapter Six: Religion and Philosophy. Contra vitam monasticam

Chapter Seven: Philology: a Theory of Language

The Commentaria

De verborum significatione libri quatuor

Book 1


“Proprietas” in law

“Proprietas” and the “plebiscitum municipale”

“Proprietas” and the avoidance of inequities

Book 2



“Extensio” as a means of interpretation

Book 3

Book 4

The dedication to Archbishop de Tournon

Chapter Eight: The Teacher at Bourges

Ad rescripta principum commentarii. “Letter to the Reader”

Chapter Nine: Philology: “Obiter dicta”. Parergon iuris

Chapter Ten: The Poet




Works Cited