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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. t163

Barnabas Brissonius



Alternative Names

Barnabé Brisson



B’s life was tragic. A well-known scholar, though never an academic, he was an advocate of the parlement of Paris and ultimately one of its presidents. He also held a number of royal commissions or positions, the most notable of which was his negotiation of the marriage of king’s brother with Elizabeth I of England. The negotiation was a success, though the marriage never took place. When the Seize took over Paris in 1589, forcing the king to flee, they appointed B. first president of the parlement. B’s acceptance of the position called into question his loyalty to the king. He affirmed it in a formal document, and the Seize immediately had him executed in 1591.

B’s writings were extensive, and included poetry and history. His best-known legal works are a massive dictionary of the Corpus Iuris Civilis (De verborum quae ad ius civile pertinent) and a systematic arrangement of the legislation of the French kings (Le code du roy Henry III). Both works had a long publication history. Among his shorter works, one might mention De ritu nuptiarum et iure connubiorum (TUI 1584, t. 9), the accuracy of which as a reconstruction of the classical Roman law was unchallenged until a few modifications of his account became necessary with the discovery of Gaius in the early 19th century.

Source: O. Deschamps, in DHJF.

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