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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. t186

Petrus de Bella Pertica

c. ?1247–1308


Alternative Names

Petrus de Bella Petrica; Pierre de Belleperche



That P. studied at Orléans seems clear. He does not, however, seem to have studied with Jacobus de Ravanis, whom he, in some sense, succeeded as professor there. He left the university around 1296 and entered into the service of Philippe IV as maître des comptes. He was also a member of the parlement. In this period he accumulated a number of ecclesiastical benefices. In 1300, he went to Rome to celebrate the jubilee. On the way he passed through Bologna where he was invited to give a repetition, the text of which still survives in manuscript. He was a member of the influential group of ‘lawyers of the last Capetians’, along with, among others, Guillaume de Nogaret and Pierre Mornay. He was nominated successor of Mornay as keeper of the seal, but resigned the nomination, perhaps because he objected to the proposed process against the Templars. Eventually, for a brief period before his death in January of 1308, he became keeper of the seal, and, like Mornay, bishop of Auxerre.

Relatively few manuscripts of P’s juridical works survive. (The tangled history of the printed editions will be discussed below.) His importance lies in the fact that he was the vehicle through which the ideas of the school of Orléans, particularly about the role and importance of customary law, passed to the Bolognese: Dinus de Mugello, his student Cinus Pistoriensis (who cites him many times in his commentary on the Code), and, ultimately, to Cinus’ student, Bartolus de Saxoferrato. The mechanism of this transmission is not completely clear. Part of it was clearly the repetitio that P. gave at Bologna in 1300, and it is even possible that the young Cinus was the reporter of that repetitio. Both Dinus and Cinus, however, know more about the views of the school of Orléans than is contained in the repetitio. It seems highly likely that Dinus and Cinus had manuscripts of the Orléans commentaries, perhaps brought to Bologna by P. in 1300 or perhaps obtained by Dinus independently. Modern scholarship tends to regard Jacobus de Ravanis as a more original thinker than P., and has pointed out that works of the former were later attributed to the latter. Cinus, however, does seem to prefer P. to Jacobus.

Source: F. Soutemeer and M. Bassano, in DHJF.

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