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Gratian, ‘Father of Canon Law’, was a bishop,

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    Posted: 14 Aug 2012 at 05:49
We just posted this news article over the weekend - thought you might be interested...

New research has uncovered that Gratian, a famous 12th-century lawyer who compiled the canon law text known as Decretum Gratiani, became the Bishop of Chiusi and died on August 10th in 1144 or 1145, according to paper delivered today at the 14th International Congress of Medieval Canon Law.

Anders Winroth of Yale University revealed his findings at a plenary paper entitlted ‘Where Gratian Slept: The Life and Death of the Father of Canon Law’, which he presented to fellow historians at the University of Toronto. Gratian is considered the most important figure in canon law during the Middle Ages, but very little is known about his life. Winroth was able to piece together various sources to discover the new details about the man who taught law at the University of Bologna.

A key source about Gratian was a 12th century Necrology written in Siena. The work (Siena, Biblioteca communale degli Intronati F12, fo. 5 r.) contains a reference to a Gratian, bishop of Chiusi, who died on August 10th. Historians have known about this reference, but it was believed since the 19th century that the Necrology also stated that this Gratian died around 1240. Winroth examined the original manuscript and discovered that there was no reference to any year of death for this Gratian. He also also found that this particular reference was actually written between the years 1136 and 1160.

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