- Alciati, Andrea
- (1492—1550)Italian humanist and lawyer, educated in classical languages in his native Milan and then in law at Pavia, Bologna, and Ferrara. His Emblematum liber / Book of Emblems (1531) was one of the most influential examples of a type of Renaissance publication, the emblem-book, that became popular and was imitated throughout late Renaissance Europe. His other claim to fame was as a reformer of legal study. While teaching at the papal university at Avignon in 1518, he developed a new approach to jurisprudence inspired by humanism. What set Alciati apart from traditional teachers of Roman law was his application of the critical linguistic and textual methods of the humanists to the standard text of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, while belittling the commentaries and glosses by medieval jurists, which had come to be the main focus of traditional legal education. Just as the humanists did with literary texts, he taught directly from the ancient text, giving a philological and historical exposition. This humanistic approach caused great enthusiasm among his students at Avignon and Bourges and came to be known as "the French manner" (mos gallicus), in contrast to the traditional "Italian manner" (mos italicus) which focused attention on the opinions of famous medieval professors.Mos gallicus found more followers in French and German jurisprudence than in Italy, though most followers adopted a hybrid approach that combined the new with the traditional. Alciati's development of this new approach to Roman law was strongly influenced by the Florentine humanist Angelo Poliziano, by the Dutch humanist Erasmus, and by his French friend Guillaume Budé. He eventually returned to Italy, where he ended his career as one of the most famous law professors of his generation.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.