Savigny, Friedrich Carl Von (1779–1861)

Friedrich Carl von Savigny, founder and doyen of the (German) historical school of law, was one of the most erudite legal scholars in modern times. Savigny was not only the leading legal theorist of his age but also the most eminent legal historian and Roman lawyer. In addition, he was highly influential in university affairs (as founding faculty member and at times rector of the University of Berlin, which was created by von Humboldt in 1810) and in politics (as member of the Prussian State Council, minister of justice, and adviser to the crown).

Savigny's thought was complex, subtle, and penetrating. Although his often-masterful prose tended to hide that fact, his ideas were not free from internal contradictions. His most important contributions were his theory of ...

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