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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. t253

Joannes Carafa



Alternative Names

Giovanni Antonio Carafa



J., the son of Tommaso, was destined for an ecclesiastical career. He held various chaplaincies at a young age. Probably by 1433, he had received a doctorate utriusque iuris at the studium in Napoli. The head of the Carafa family, Antonio, called ‘Malizia’, had been supporting the Aragonese since 1420. He persuaded Alfonso V ‘the Magnanimous’ of Aragon to promote J. as archbishop of Salerno in 1439, but the move did not succeed, and J. abandoned the clerical state and became a layman. When Alfonso took over Napoli in 1442, he made J. the castellan of Castel Capuano. From 1449 J. was a judge of the Sommaria and a member of the Sacro Regio Consiglio. On the death of Alfonso in 1458, the new king, Ferrante, confirmed J. in all his offices, and made him president of the Sacro Regio Consiglio in 1463.

J. claimed that he had taught at the studium from 1425, but he is documented as teaching civil law there only from 1453. In 1463, he began to lecture in canon law, and did so for the rest of his life. When Jean d’Anjou attacked Napoli in 1459, J. began to work at the studium at a slower pace and only intermittently. In 1460, he conducted a doctoral exam in his own house. In September of 1463, with the defeat of Angevins at hand, King Ferrante wanted to revive the studium. He made J. the vice-chancellor and authorized him give both ordinary and extraordinary lectures. In January of 1465, the studium was solemnly refounded with a papal bull, and J. was charged to reform it. From that time forward he was the star of the school and of canon law in Napoli. At the time of the repression of the conspiracy of the barons in 1486, J. was among the judges who condemned Francesco Coppola and Antonello Petrucci and their two sons to death.

Most of J’s writing remains in manuscript. The only printed work that we know of is his treatise De simonia first published in Napoli (GW 06117; Jodokus Hohenstein, after 1477; reprinted Roma 1556; TUI 1584 t. 15.2). Cortese calls particular attention to J’s repetitio on the regula ‘Peccatum’ (VI 5.12.[6.4]), probably given in 1479–80. Cortese also tells us that J. is known to have written other treatises, De ambitu, De iubilaeo, De restitutionibus, and a commentary on the Justinian’s Code. Many of J’s consilia and repetitiones have recently been discovered in manuscripts at the Vatican (Vat. lat. 5922; Vat. Barb lat. 1493) and at the Collegio di Spagna in Bologna (H. c 173 n. 6).

J. married Caterina d’Acaia. They had eight children, one of whom, Orsina, married the famous Neapolitan jurist Matteo D’Afflitto, who used to cite his father-in-law, distinguishing him from the antiqui doctores.

Source: E. Cortese in DGI 1:439-40.

TUI database