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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Secular law remained largely customary and uncodified in east central Europe. While much of south-eastern Europe had remained Christian ever since Roman times, most of east central Europe was Christianized during the high Middle Ages. The Baltic region came later, Lithuania only being converted after 1387. South-eastern Europe was influenced first by Byzantine and then Italian law. In much of east central Europe secular law was based on Slavic customs, later influenced by canon law and German law. The Sachsenspiegel, Schwabenspiegel, and German town law spread to the whole region alongside the German colonization of east central Europe. Towns functioned as conduits of German and learned law. Certain territorial rulers actively promoted Roman law and (partial) codification, while the local nobility preferred uncodified customary law. In addition to foreign university studies, the fourteenth-century universities of Prague and Krakow, cathedral chapters, and notaries helped disseminate the ius commune into the region.

Keywords: east central Europe, customary law, canon law, statutes, town law, German law, Roman law, feudal law, universities, Hanseatic League

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