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The Principle of the Personality of Law in the Germanic Kingdoms of Western Europe from the Fifth to the Eleventh Century


Simeon L. Guterman

«How many times does it happen that five men walk together or are seated together and that not one has the same law as another of his brothers». In these words Agobard of Lyons in 817 describes the culmination of the personal law system that followed the establishment of the Germanic kingdoms in the fifth century. Out of the coalescence of Roman and Germanic legal traditions thus promoted by the personal law system, and the subsequent growth of the territorial principle, which replaced the personal law principle, were born the juridical elements in modern Civil and Common Law systems.
Contents: Beginning in the fifth century with a dual system which recognized Roman law for Romans and Germanic law for the ruling people, the principle of personality was extended under Frankish rule until it included the majority of Germanic tribes.
So far as the author is aware, the only study devoted to the subject was published in a French journal in 1894.