This introductory chapter begins with a review of studies on the history of European law and the well-known narrative about the development of a pan-European ius commune or universal common law, ca 1100–1400. It then sets out the main purposes of the book, which are to flesh out the grand narrative with detailed studies covering the learned laws — civil, canon and feudal; and to provide greater access to the sources and conventions of this field of study. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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