Also found in: Dictionary, Legal.
a school of jurists of the 11-13th centuries at the University of Bologna in Italy. The remarks inscribed by the glossators in the margins and between the lines of texts that they were studying were called glosses (hence the term “glossator”).
The glossators revived—at first for teaching purposes and later for practical application as well—the classical Roman law, mainly the Code of Justinian. The founder of the glossator school, Irnerius, was the first to separate Roman law from the general rhetoric curriculum and teach it as a separate subject, not in excerpts but in full. The glossator school is represented by Bulgarus, Martinus, Hugo, Azo, Jacobus, and Accursius, who systematized his predecessors’ work in a single compendium of glosses, the Glossa ordinaria. The glossators did not understand the historical limitation of legal institutions, considering Roman law outside time and above the state (ratio scripta—written reason). With their explications they promoted the imperial policies of the German emperors and the increase of feudal exploitation. At the same time, because of the secular character of the argumentation, the comprehensive, meticulous comparisons of legal norms, and the extensive use of juridical concepts and categories, the glossators laid the foundation of juridical science and culture, which had been almost completely lost since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The glossators were the first to envisage the acceptance of Roman law by Western Europe, and by their activity they facilitated its development. Their labors served as the foundation of later commentary on the Roman law by the postglossators and legists.
REFERENCESSauvigny, F. K. O rimskom prave v srednie veka [iz soch.]. St. Petersburg, 1838. (Translated from German.)
Dernburg, H. Pandekty, vols. 1-3. Moscow-St. Petersburg, 1906-11. (Translated from German.)
Muromtsev, S. A. Retseptsiia rimskogo prava na Zapade. Moscow, 1886.
Z. M. CHERNILOVSKII