Accorso, Francis

, an eminent lawyer, who first collected the various opinions and decisions of his predecessors, in the Roman law, into one body, | was born at Florence, in 1151, or, according to some writers, in 1182. He was the scholar of Azzo, and soon became more celebrated than his master. Yet it is thought that he did not begin the study of law before he was forty years old. When professor at Bologna, he resigned his office in order to complete a work on the explanation of the laws, which he had long meditated, and in which he was now in danger of being anticipated by Odefroy. By dint of perseverance for seven years, he accumulated the vast collection known by the title of the “Great Gloss,” or the “Continued Gloss” of Accursius. He may be considered as the first of glossators, and as the last, since no one has attempted the same, unless his son Cervot, whose work is not in much esteem; but he was deficient in a proper knowledge of the Greek and Roman historians, and the science of coins, inscriptions, and antiquities, which are frequently necessary in the explanation of the Roman law. On this account, he was as much undervalued by the learned lawyers of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, as praised by those of the twelfth and thirteenth, who named him the Idol of Lawyers. They even established it as a principle, that the authority of the Glosses should be universally received, and that they should rally round this perpetual standard of truth. The different studies pursued in the ages of Accursius’ friends and enemies, will account for their different opinions of his merits; the one consisted of accumulated learning, interpretation, and commentary, the other approached nearer to nature and facts, by adding the study of antiquities, and of the Greek and Latin historians. Another reason probably was, that Accursius, who has been careless in his mode of quotation, became blamed for many opinions which belong to Irnerius, Hugolinus, Martinus Bulgarus, Aldericus, Pileus, &c. and others his predecessors, whose sentiments he has not accurately distinguished. The best edition of his great work is that of Denis Godefroi, Lyons, 1589, 6 vols. fol, Of his private life we have no important materials. He lived in splendour at a magnificent palace at Bologna, or at his villa in the country; and died in his 78th year, in 1229. Those who fix his death in 1260 confound him with one of his sons of the same name. All his family, without exception, studied the law; and he had a daughter, a lady of great learning, who gave public lectures ou the Roman law in the university of Bologna. Bayle doubts | this; but it is confirmed by Pancirollus, Fravenlobius, and Paul Freyer. The tomb of Accursius, in the church of the Cordeliers at Bologna, is remarkable only for the simplicity of his epitaph “Sepnlchrum Accursii glossatoris legum, et Francisci ejus filii.1


Biographic Universelle. Ginguene Hist. Lit. D’ltalie, vol. I. p. 371. Gen. Dict.