The History of Law in Europe. An Introduction is the concise account offered by Bart Wauters and Marco de Benito of European legal history, from Rome to the 20th century codifications.
The book is written for students and all those readers — whether legal students, scholars, lawyers, or the general public — interested in this essential aspect of European history. The book offers a description of the different ways of understanding the law in the context of Europe’s political, economic, social, and cultural development. It does not seek to be encyclopedic, but instead aims at presenting the key developments and most crucial points in European legal history.
The comparative approach avoids the mere juxtaposition of national histories and prefers to identify the main lines that show “the way in which law emerged and evolved in Europe to form a common language, of which national laws are nothing but dialectal expressions”.
The work seeks a balance between the contextualization of law and its own peculiarity. “The law is a repository of cultural and intellectual currents, and is never alien to social, economic and political processes. But this should not make us forget that, at the same time, it possesses a great deal of autonomy, evolves according to its own internal dynamics, and is also an active agent in all these areas”.
“A stimulating, lucid, and imaginative read” (J. Fernández-Villaverde, Pennsylvania). “A fascinating and powerful epitome” (F. Reinoso, Complutense). “An ideal first port of call” (R. Lesaffer, Tilburg).