14th-century Italy provides a fascinating case study of legal pluralism. It was a politically fragmented society with different kinds of law co-existing. This paper will raise fundamental questions:
• What counts as law?
• What counts as authority in law?
• What is the nature of law?
I am looking at these questions from a specific angle: the theories of 14th-century Roman and Canon Law jurists, that is jurisprudence. My focus will be at the political level, that is with public rather than private law. The ambit of the sources is far wider than this, covering all aspects of society which came under the concern of the law. Here, I am concerned with the way in which the jurisprudence of Roman and Canon law interpreted the Corpus iuris civilis and the Corpus iuris canonici to cope with this legal and social variety.