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Lyon and the Jesuits, as Told by their Books: Case 6: Law

This guide is a student project produced by History Department intern Cora Kim, Fall Semester, 2019.

Lyon's Law Books

The French legal system developed from the influences of Roman and canon law, combined with regional traditions, into a distinctive system.  The publications of canon and Roman law evolved gradually into books of distinct French law, written in French instead of in Latin.  Lawyers formed an independent class of author that was second in publication only to the Church, and many of the most impressively bound books come from the legal works of this time.

Despeisses' Law Book

Despeisses, Antoine. 1750. Œuvres De M. Antoine D'Espeisses... Lyon: Les Frères Bruyset.

Printed in 1750, this newest law book from Lyon in the Gonzaga Collection was written by Antoine Despeisses, a French lawyer.  Written in French, it applies concepts of Roman law to the French law system, indicating the establishment of secular and independent French legal system.


Roman Law

Covarrubias, y. Leyva. 1574. Didaci Covarruvias a Leyva Toletani, Episcopi Secoviensis... Lugduni: Sumptibus Phil. Tinghi Florentini.

This volume on Roman law was published in 1574 and demonstrates the foundations of the French legal system.  Notice the exceptionally good condition of this book and its high quality binding.

Toschi's Comparative Religious Law

Toschi, Domenico. 1661. Eminentissimi Dominici Tuschi, Regiensis... Lugduni: Sumptib. Phil. Borde, Laur. Arnaud & Claud. Rigaud.

Leather-bound with an elaborate frontispiece, this work on comparative religious law was written by Domenico Toschi, an Italian jurist and cardinal of the church, and published in 1661.


Gratian's Canon Law





Gratian. 1572. Decretum Divi Gratiani: Totius Propemodum... Lugduni: Apud Hugonem à Porta.

This 1572 production of the canon law written by Gratian in the twelfth century demonstrates the importance of canon law in forming Western and specifically French law.

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