Sur la réception du Jus commune et du droit étranger en Suède, ca. 1550-1615. Résumé : La connaissance du droit romain a commencé à pénétrer en Suède à la fin du Moyen Âge, mais elle a progressé surtout au XVIe siècle dans le contexte de la Réforme qui encourageait à remplacer les références au droit canon par d’autres textes. Les études juridiques faites par des Suédois à l’étranger et l’achat de livres venus du reste de l’Europe indiquent les canaux par lesquels le jus commune a pu être reçu grâce à l’action d’un tout petit nombre d’experts en droit.
1. The reception of learned law in Reformation Sweden (ca. 1550-1615) has hitherto been a relatively little researched topic. For example, in his study of the seventeenth-century reception of Roman law in Sweden, Stig Jägerskiöld passed over the development prior to 1650 in about ten pages. I have thus assessed some of the existing research here. In this article, I present some evidence on various aspects of the ownership and use of the foreign learned legal literature in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Sweden. 
2. I will first discuss some examples of references to Roman law in sixteenth-century episcopal correspondence, legislation and literature. I will then move on to introduce some sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Swedes known to have studied law abroad, and their careers. Because of a scarcity of learned lawyers in the royal administration despite the demand for them, legal studies were a stepping-stone to some of the most influential positions as advisers and secretaries to the king, especially for commoners. As noblemen in any case advanced within the military, judiciary and administration, they had less incentive than commoners to take degrees. The question of legal studies is also related to that of legal literature. Although the source material concerning book ownership is not extensive, it can probably be said that the books brought back by law students or acquired by Swedes were more likely to be perused rather than paraded as status symbols during this period. Some individual Swedes even possessed quite substantial legal libraries, and the books they acquired testify both to the place and extent of their legal studies, as well as to their individual interests.
3. This preliminary study suggests that although a greater interest in Roman law predated the Reformation, the clear medieval emphasis on canon law dissolved quickly in the wake of the Lutheran creed. Roman law and especially German jurisprudence, and to a lesser degree Italian and French doctrine as well as feudal law, began to dominate. The political turbulence and the Reformation also helped to create a temporary scarcity of learned lawyers in the country. While the absolute majority of medieval Swedish law students had either already been clerics or they were hoping for a career in the cloth, the king became the main employer and patron of law students. The need of men who had pursued legal studies on the Continent was considerable, and legal studies could be a profitable investment in a future career within the royal central administration. Finally, in my conclusion, I will offer some suggestions for future research.
The Context and Some Evidence of the Medieval Reception
4. Early modern Sweden was a vast, thinly populated country with a predominantly rural and agrarian population. In 1600, the population of Sweden (including Finland) constituted about 1.2 million inhabitants. Seen in a European perspective, the Swedish late-medieval towns were hardly more than villages, apart from the unrivalled capital Stockholm, which was clearly the biggest town with its 9,000 inhabitants (1580s). The peasantry dominated the country and, all in all, the nobility, clergy and burghers comprised 3-4 per cent of the population. 
5. The Swedish judiciary was in the hands of non-learned laymen, the courts in the countryside consisting of a noble judge or his substitute and 12 peasant ‘jurors,’ while the town courts were manned by the burghers of the town. The superior judge (lagman) with his jury acted partly as an instance of appeal as did the royal provincial assizes (konungsräfst), while the king was naturally the supreme judge in all matters temporal in his reign. There were no professional public notaries or advocates in medieval Sweden, and no judge in the reign needed a degree, university studies or professional training in law in order to administer justice. Therefore, it must be conceded that one can only talk about the ‘legal profession’ in Sweden in quotation marks.  In his recent book on the professionalization of medieval lawyers, Brundage has included the following features in his definition of professional jurists : study and mastery of a body of knowledge, a professional and corporative identity, a special ethical code of conduct and advancement of the whole professional community which had social prestige. In several European countries, this had been achieved by the 1230s.  (While it is generally accepted that the Swedish legal profession was only established in the seventeenth century after the setting up of the first Court of Appeal in 1614,  this is only when the professionalization process began. We can only talk of true professionalization in Sweden and Finland in the nineteenth century.) 
6. The Swedish provincial laws, the oldest layer of medieval laws, date in their present form from the 1280s-1350s. These were largely replaced by the laws bearing the name of King Magnus Eriksson (ca. 1350), one for the towns and another for the rest of the country. These remained the dominant laws in Sweden until the second half of the sixteenth century, when the latter started to be replaced by King Christopher’s Law of the Realm (1442). These laws were naturally supplemented and altered by royal statutes, ordinances and so on. However, it can be said that, compared to many other countries in later medieval Europe, the Swedish legal system was considerably more simple. It had less overlapping layers, its normative jungle was more easily penetrable by its non-professional legal practitioners and it had less competing jurisdictions both in the secular and ecclesiastical field. This was also partly due to the near-total absence of feudal jurisdictions.
7. The medieval Swedish secular laws, in force until the eighteenth century, do display evidence of the influence of learned, mainly canon law. Indeed, as usual in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church and its legislation were the major channel through which the learned law penetrated the country. Moreover, during the whole medieval period the number of men knowledgeable in the legal literature of the ius commune grew through foreign university studies, mainly by clerics, even if the number of university-trained lawyers never was high. 
8. Despite the significant reception of foreign, mainly canon and Roman, law through ecclesiastical influence in medieval Sweden, however, there were elements in its legal system that delayed and checked – even hindered – reception. The basic conditions of the Swedish lay-dominated judicial system combined with a very small group of ius commune-trained learned lawyers did not provide an optimal breeding ground for the reception of complicated scholarly doctrines in the medieval and Reformation period. This was even acknowledged by those versed in learned law. For example, the Swedish upper clergy seems to have been decidedly reluctant to teach the laity one of the most intricate and sophisticated elements of the canon law doctrine of matrimonial law, the words of consent. The thin line between engagement and marriage thus depended on whether the words of consent had been exchanged in the present or the future tense. This could and did pose problems for the laity and cases involving the interpretation of the words appeared in the ecclesiastical courts all around Catholic Europe. The Swedish marriage process was based on a different logic. Thus, the chapter of Uppsala thought it impolitic to cause confusion in the system – and give people more pretexts for breaking initiated unions – by encouraging laymen to use formulas other than the one in the manual used in the diocese of Uppsala for present-tense consent.  Because of the disparity between the canonical doctrine and the formal public Swedish marriage system, the post-Reformation Swedish Lutheran church immediately shed the canonical distinction of the words of consent without a backward glance. 
9. As for the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, it has also been convincingly shown that the lay-dominated legal system with public and oral trials as well as markedly accusatorial criminal justice prevented judicial torture, an inherent part the ius commune doctrine of proof, from becoming a regular feature of early modern Swedish procedural law.  Even more generally, Pihlajamäki has observed that in Sweden the quality of the legal communication was branded by the lay-dominated judiciary, particularly at the lower-court level.  These internal factors of the Swedish legal system must be taken into consideration in assessing the various aspects of the reception of the ius commune in Reformation Sweden.
Examples of References to Roman Law in Reformation Sweden
10. As I have argued elsewhere, a knowledge of Roman law was growing in late-medieval Sweden through the improving state of the university education of higher clerics, especially through their canon (and to a small extent even through their Roman) legal studies and degrees. For example, Hans Brask, bishop of Linköping (bp. 1513-1527), had taken the degree of doctor decretorum after studies both in Germany and Italy.  His register contains letters which referred to canon and Roman law, in some letters more or less in passing, but in others quite elaborately. In his letter of 14 March 1523 to Archbishop Johannes Magnus (1488-1544) of Uppsala, Bishop Brask referred to the tractate De permutationibus beneficiorum by Federicus Petruccius de Senis, who taught law at Siena and Perugia in the 1320-1340s, the Liber Sextus, decisions of the Rota Romana and the decretal Excecrabilis (1459) of Pius II (1458-1464).  In addition, it seems that while sojouring in Rome in 1504, Brask had annotated a copy of the Swedish law-book with marginal glosses containing parallel passages from Roman law (concordanze). 
11. While the well-educated Catholic prelates were a disloyal and in any case dying race in Reformation Sweden, the new king Gustav I Vasa (r. 1521-1560), the founder of the new dynasty, needed capable administrators with knowledge of the law. He hired German noblemen such as Conrad von Pyhy (ca.1500-1553) and Georg Norman (d. 1552 1553) for his service. These Germans also brought with them a familiarity not only with the German law, but also with the ius commune, both appreciated by the king. This left some traces in practice. Thus, hardly surprisingly, the 1541 church ordinance (Articuli Ordinantiæ), written by Norman, insisted that parental consent was required for a valid marriage as also approved by the emperor (Ty thet är i Kyrkolagen uttryckt och af Kejsare gillat eller approberat). 
12. Unlike Denmark, where Archbishop Andreas Sunesen had written the Liber legis Scaniæ, a Latin paraphrase on the provincial law of Scania systematising and explaining it early in the thirteenth century,  there seems to have been no comparable effort in Sweden. However, in the early sixteenth century, archdeacon Ragvaldus Ingemundi (ca. 1445-1515) had translated Magnus Eriksson’s Law of the Realm, the most important law of medieval Sweden, into Latin. It has been supposed that this translation was done for the benefit of an international audience, first and foremost the papal Curia.  There are even other Latin translations of the Swedish law.  Ragvaldus Ingemundi’s translation was printed with a preface by Johannes Messenius (1579-1636), professor of law at the University of Uppsala, in 1614 – the same year the Court of Appeal was established. 
13. The famous Swedish reformer Olaus Petri (1493-1552) did not refer to learned law in his Commentary on the Town Law apart from two comments regarding procedural law (Chapter on the town court, Rådstugubalken [R]). As he had strong antipathies against oaths and oath-helpers (R 25), expressing an almost inordinate fear of perjury, he preferred that ‘an innocent be tortured than someone swears a false oath.’ He also observed with satisfaction that Roman law (j keysare laghen), probably as applied in Holy Roman Germany, authorized ‘torture with the Maiden or other [methods], but not that one must take an oath…’. Discussing the punishment (fines or the pillory) of those accusing others falsely or slandering them (R 30), he also noted that this was ‘taken from Roman law’ (Thetta stycket är tagit vtaff Romare lagen). Moreover, he observed that this was also the rule of the lex talionis. 
14. As for Olaus Petri’s famous ius commune-inspired Rules for Judges and its foreign, mainly Roman-canon sources (e.g., the regulae iuris, the Digest and canon law), I shall merely refer to the body of research already done on them.  However, there are also other, less-known Rules for Judges, much more practical rules mainly discussing procedural law (e.g., judges, the jury or nämnd, witnesses, etc.) and family law (e.g., the legal guardianship of orphans). It has been assumed that they were written by an active lower court judge, possibly identifiable as Jöns Jöransson Lilliesparre (af Fylleskog) (d. 1623 1624), around 1611.  The author probably knew some Roman law, having possibly studied in Germany ; instead of calling Roman law ‘kejsarerätt’ (imperial law), as had been customary in medieval Sweden and as Olaus Petri had done,  he called it ‘almenneliga rätten’ (probably a translation of gemeines Recht or ius commune). In two passages, the person who compiled these rules referred to Roman law, again contrasting and comparing Roman and Swedish law. The first mention was in connection with the burden of proof and the threshold of evidence. The author expressed great appreciation of the principle of Roman law that the accuser had to prove the deed rather than the defendant denying it. Moreover, the evidence had to be ‘clearer than the midday light,’ an expression (luce meridianis clarior) frequently used in Roman-canon procedural law.  If this was not so, the author thought it advisable to search the ‘old and common law’ (then gamble och almennelige rätten) and be guided by it. If in doubt, it was better to free than convict and to interpret facts benignly rather than maliciously.  The author also criticised Swedish law in discussing the termination of guardianship of minors at the age of fifteen. The Swedish law-book called this the ‘lawful age’ (laga ålder), but Roman law (allmännelige rätt) – with its age of majority at twenty-five – was more advantageous (nyttigare) for the children. 
15. Similarly, in his Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus, Olaus Magnus Gothus (1490-1557) had contrasted Swedish and Roman law, making a couple of flattering comparisons between Swedish law and the Corpus iuris civilis. For example, he noted that the whole Corpus iuris civilis contained no legal matter that Swedish law would not have mentioned at least briefly. (Indeed, it is not impossible that Olaus Magnus Gothus had access to the volume annotated by Hans Brask.) Olaus Magnus also referred to ‘Abbas’ (prout etiam Abbas de iudiciis suadet) – possibly meaning the Ordo iudiciarius by Nicolaus de Tudeschi (d. 1445), also known as Panormitanus, Abbas modernus or Abbas Siculus  – in connection with his discussion of trials and mediation in Sweden.  Later, early seventeenth-century commentaries on Swedish law took this comparison further. They made more learned and more frequent observations on certain points where domestic law differed from learned law, as well as of similarities between the two. The tutor of the future king Gustav II Adolf, Johan Bengtsson Schroderus (1577-1645), later ennobled as Skytte and a former student of the universities of Frankfurt an der Oder, Wittenberg and Marburg (master’s degree, 1598), was versed in law. In Skytte’s Commentary on the Swedish Town Law, written in 1608, he noted, for instance, that there was a discrepancy between learned law and Swedish law in the emphasis on consummation. The Swedish law on guardianship was also different from Roman law, Skytte observed.  He equally pointed out sections and rules upon which Swedish and Roman law agreed.  All these works were the necessary preliminaries towards longer and more consistent legal works in mid-seventeenth-century Sweden.
Legal Studies Abroad in the Sixteenth-Century : Some Learned Families and Careers
16. I will now move on to introduce some evidence of Swedes pursuing legal studies abroad in the sixteenth century, a subject so far hardly touched on by research. It is often difficult to know how to assess the depth and breadth of these studies. Students who had enrolled in a university may only have been there on a tourist trip under the pretext of studying. They might have listened to some lectures and bought (possibly even read) some books. They might have pursued legal studies for months or years. However, those who actually were admitted to a degree in law were very rare in this period. Noblemen may have had less incentive for taking degrees in law than commoners as they could take high office and royal patronage more for granted. It is hardly surprising therefore that the two Swedish doctors of law known from the latter half of the sixteenth century were not noble.
17. Although formal training in law was not necessary in Sweden, the Oeconomia [ca. 1584] by Count Per Brahe (1520-1590), dealing with noble education and husbandry, discussed what a nobleman needed to study and learn. Brahe did not devote much space to the question of actually studying the law, as noblemen were supposed to learn it largely by practice. However, as Brahe observed, the noble estate ‘requires and demands’ that justice (Rättwijsan) be done and upheld. Firstly, then, one was to inquire into natural justice, and ‘this,’ Brahe went on, ‘you will find in Officijs Ciceronis, then what written law and justice requires you will find Jn Institutionibus Justinianj, in Sweden’s written law-book and other places.’  As this text clearly demonstrates, along with the traditional Swedish law that noblemen were to know of old, a basic knowledge of Roman law had come to be expected in the aristocratic all-round education. However, a modicum did not suffice for the crown which needed better-educated lawyers who had received formal training abroad.
18. We have some information concerning certain non-noble families whose foreign studies helped to climb the career ladder successfully, supported by the king and royal family. We could almost call them administrative dynasties because several members of the family became high-ranking and leading civil servants. Jöran Persson Salemontanus (ca. 1530-1568), had pursued studies in Wittenberg, especially in law. He returned to Sweden with a letter of recommendation from Philipp Melanchthon himself, first entered the service of King Gustav I Vasa, and then his successor, King Erik XIV (1560-1568). Persson became the trusted and influential favourite of the king, acting as the royal procurator or accuser in the infamous new royal court Höga nämnden (‘high jury’), an instrument of the king through its political trials. The court used torture as a means of extracting confessions and providing information in a fashion inspired by Continental law. The crime of treason and lese-majesty also came to be more widely construed, influenced by the Roman legal doctrine. For his services, Persson, his master’s loyal servant, was even ennobled under the family name of Tegel. But when Erik XIV was overthrown, the hated advisor was in his turn tried, tortured and executed.  Duke Karl of Södermanland later acted as patron to Persson’s son, Erik Jöransson Tegel (ca. 1566-1636), and financed his German studies. Tegel was then employed in the ducal chancery (kansli). Prince Karl, Duke of Södermanland later ascended the Swedish throne as Karl (Charles) IX (r. 1599-1611). He – somewhat ironically – utilized the son in the same capacity as the late King Erik XIV had used the father. Tegel became the royal procurator or accuser in a major political trial against several leading noblemen who, not surprisingly, were found guilty and executed. This event became known as the ‘blood-bath of Linköping.’ 
19. Andreas Olai (1521-1560), who studied law in Leipzig, became doctor iuris utriusque and served King Gustav I Vasa (r. 1523-1560) until his death. Andreas Olai had placed a sum of money in the care of two Leipzig burghers, the interest on which he and his brother, Benedictus Olai (ca. 1525-1582), doctor of medicine and later personal physician to the king, used while studying for many years in the town. Later Benedictus Olai permitted his two nephews, magister Laurentius Suenonis Wager (d. 1586) and Olof Claesson (d. 1595), to use the interest and even some of the capital to finance their studies in Leipzig. We know that at least Laurentius Suenonis pursued legal studies there. Both he and Olof Claesson came to work as secretaries to Prince Karl, Duke of Södemanland. The rest of this private ‘scholarship fund,’ as it has been called, was used for the studies of Nicolaus Chesnecopherus (1574-1622), great-nephew of Andreas and Benedictus Olai.  Chesnecopherus had studied in Helmstedt, Wittenberg, Lemgo and, finally, at the University of Marburg, where he defended his doctoral thesis in law in 1600. After his return to Sweden in 1601, he was immediately hired by Karl IX and he got a position in the royal chancery (kansli). Although Chesnecopherus’s two uncles had been employed in the ducal chancery in the 1580s and there was thus a family tradition of service to Karl, it was obviously his degree as doctor of laws that made the difference. The following year, Chesnecopherus was nominated as Royal Chancellor, an influential position he held for many years (1602-1611). 
20. Obviously, the Swedish kings needed and esteemed the services of jurisperiti. Indeed, in the 1530s and 1540s, King Gustav I Vasa spent much energy attempting to recruit German lawyers for his administration and diplomatic service.  The results proved disappointing more often than not. In certain cases, the king was even willing to support the legal studies of foreigners on condition that after passing their exam they remained in royal service for a certain number of years. An example of this is the nephew of the German Georg Norman, who had entered the service of King Gustav. The king financially supported the young man’s legal studies, but he later failed to enter royal service.  Such experiences probably encouraged the kings to patronize the studies of their compatriots in foreign universities.
21. Thus, these Swedish examples show that commoners especially could find law a most profitable study, providing them with rare expertise and helping them to launch on a possibly brilliant career. These men returned to the homeland, equipped with cosmopolitan experience, legal learning, language skills and international legal literature in their trunks, seeking the king’s favour and ready for anything in his service.
Ownership of Legal Literature
22. Very little is known about legal literature owned by either private or institutional libraries after the havoc and destruction caused by the tumultuous Reformation period and the rapacity of the Vasa kings. Again, there is practically no research on the ownership of legal literature. What there is has not been researched systematically. Unlike the Middle Ages, there seem to be very few sources such as inventories, wills, loan receipts or surviving books to give us information on this in the Reformation period.  I believe however that the evidence suffices to suggest that in legal literature, as with the university studies, there was a quick refocusing from canon to Roman law after the Reformation.
23. In the early sixteenth century, Bishop Hans Brask of Linköping, already mentioned above, is known to have owned both canon and Roman law books. In 1516, he donated the glossed Digestum vetus, the first part of the Digest, to Linköping cathedral.  In addition, judging by the references to Roman and canon law in his register, discussed above in more detail, he probably owned several other law books as well. He referred several times to the Codex, for example.  In addition to his own personal book collection, as bishop he naturally also had access to the more considerable libraries of the episcopal mensa and the chapter of Linköping. He was also interested in adding to his book collection. In a letter dated 1524 to a Swedish cleric in Germany, Brask mentions his wish to purchase works by Bartolus of Saxoferrato (1313 1314–1357) and Baldus de Ubaldis (ca. 1327-1400) (haffde vi gerna haffth Bartolum et Ballum in legibus). He failed to specify these works, probably assuming that the recipient, Petrus Benedicti, doubtless knew he meant the commentaries of these famous legists on various books of the Corpus Iuris Civilis. 
24. Another Swedish bishop, whose faith probably resembled that of a Reformist Catholic more than an actual Protestant, Bishop Sveno Jacobi of Skara (d. 1554) also owned several Roman and canon law books. In an inventory drawn up after his death, he was reported to have owned a copy of the Codex Justinianus and the Institutiones. In addition, he had the Summa Ganfredj, i.e., the Summa super titulis decretalium by Goffredus of Trano and books identified as Due partes panormitanij, probably meaning two volumes of the Lectura super quinque librum Decretalium by Nicolaus de Tudeschis. We also know that the library of Sveno Jacobi contained the repertorium to the Glossa ordinaria (in Glossam ordinariam) as well as the Glossa Ordinaria itself – bound together with its repertorium – in six volumes (Sex partes Glose ordinarie cum repertorio). However, it is left unspecified whether the Ordinary Gloss is that of the Liber extra or another canon or Roman law book – even the Bible had its own Ordinary Gloss.  In addition, Sveno Jacobi owned the Formulare instrumentorum (Cologne, 1504) which has his name engraved on the clasp, presently in the collection of the Royal Library of Sweden. The book also has annotations on the interior of the vellum cover and title leaf, in the hand of Sveno Jacobi.  Thus, the bishops Brask and Jacobi basically represented the older, medieval type of book collector although the existence of Roman law in their libraries demonstrates its growing role.
25. The library of Baron Hogenskild Bielke (1538-1605) was probably confiscated by the crown after his execution for high treason. No library catalogue or inventory exists, but the book collection has been reconstructed as far as possible based on the books and manuscripts themselves, currently mostly owned by the University Library of Uppsala. However, it is quite probable that numerous books formerly owned by Bielke have been lost.  In addition, Bielke had an avid interest in domestic law, and collected legal manuscripts containing the provincial and royal laws, because these contained slightly different variants of the same texts and diverse other norms. These manuscripts  were a rich mine of material and arguments that could potentially be used for the pretensions of the nobility in the tug-of-war for noble privileges and in the political struggles against the monarchy. In addition, Bielke held many offices as a judge during his career. In fact, being lagman (superior judge) of the provinces of Uppland and Norrland, he was one of the leading judges in the country. 
26. The good baron, who had studied in Turku (Åbo), Wittenberg and Roskilde, also had other strings to his bow. He owned the Codex Justiniani translated into German, and the Institutiones – in fact, it has been observed that Bielke possessed most of the books recommended in Count Per Brahe’s Oeconomia for the moral and civil education of the young Swedish nobleman.  As for other foreign legal literature, Bielke, who had both studied and been a prisoner-of-war in Denmark, owned Bishop Knut of Viborg’s commentary on the law of Jutland, Expositiones circa leges Jutiae. Bielke had received the Sachsenspiegel as a gift from a Danish friend, and he also had a manuscript of the Culmisches Recht, a Polish law influenced by the law of Lübeck.  Hogenskild Bielke’s library contained at least one book on feudal law, Ulrich Zasius’s Tractat vom Lehenrecht, and another on guardianship, Jodocus Damhouder’s Patrocinium pupillorum et viduarum, a book bound together with Borgnino Cavalcani’s Opus propter plurimorum etiam extraordinariorum casuum decisionem.  Criminal law was represented by two short tractates, one by Guido de Susaria and another by Paulus Grillandus Castilionicus. 
27. Judging by the surviving books, Bielke’s interests seem mainly to have been in procedural law. He had many works in the vernacular dealing with procedure and courts in Germany. Bernhard Heyder’s Spiegel deß Notariat Ampts, Noe Meurer’s Cammergerichts Ordnung und Proceß and Kilian König’s Practica Vnd Process der Gerichtsleuffte. Two copies of Albertus Pölmann’s Handbuch Darinnen was sich bey Gerichte zutregt can also be found in the library. In addition, he possessed the two-volume Practica actionum forensium absolutissima by Johannes Oldendorp. 
28. Thus, the surviving books of his library differ considerably from those of baron Erik Sparre (1550-1600). No catalogue or similar information on Sparre’s library has survived. However, in his Pro lege, rege et grege (ca. 1585-87) discussing royal and noble privileges, Sparre not only used many basic legal sources, such as all the books of the Corpus Iuris Civilis as well as the Liber extra, but also four commentaries by Baldus de’ Ubaldis on Roman and feudal law, one work each by Bartolus of Saxoferrato, Jason de Mayno, Panormitanus, Lucas de Penna and several other authors, fifteen all in all, writing on Roman, feudal and canon law.  As can be observed by this example, the seat(s) and amount of learning did influence the book collections of individual Swedes. In Bielke’s library the emphasis was on German procedural literature, especially vernacular. Thus, his interest in law would seem to be more practical, whereas Sparre’s books, assuming he owned those he referred to, are largely composed of learned Italian jurisprudence, written in Latin, mirroring his legal studies in Padua.
29. We do have evidence, from the acts of a seventeenth-century inheritance dispute from the Svea Court of Appeal, of an unusually large and learned law collection of more than 100 books, mainly Italian and German jurisprudence.  The collection had been handed down from many generations of men in the family, studying law and arts in Germany. The law books, most if not all, were acquired by Andreas Olai (1521-1560), who studied law in Germany, taking a doctoral degree in law and serving King Gustav I Vasa until his death.  Later, they came by inheritance into the possession of Chancellor Chesnecopherus, who then had to share them in 1611 with his cousin magister Nicolaus Sabancorus (d. 1620) after the return of the latter from Jena. Sabancorus received a third of the collection, the majority of the volumes consisting of legal literature. Sabancorus’s legal studies in Jena had yielded results : while in Germany, he had written three dissertations, namely, De regalibus in 1606, De justitia et jure in 1609 and Tractatus de connubiis in 1610. In addition, he acted as one of the first advocates in the country.  According to some information, he might have been later nominated as the procurator of the Svea Court of Appeal.  To me, it seems probable that Sabancorus who, once in Sweden, also wrote two other works, De regnis juribus, justitia & iure (1613) and Tractatus de testamentiis condendis (1613), made good use of this part of the inherited family library when he continued his legal authorship. In fact, Nicolaus Sabancorus has been called ‘the first professional lawyer who even dealt with Swedish law in a published work.’ 
30. The library of King Erik XIV Vasa, known through an inventory from 1568, included a number of law books. This royal book collection contained more than 160 different volumes – the exact number cannot be calculated as, for example, Martin Luther’s works in twelve tomes were included. However, in addition to Luther’s works, the theology department contained 34 items and books on history numbered over eighty. In comparison to this, the eighteen-volume law library was not very large, although it was probably considered quite sufficient for a monarch, as the accent of a prince’s upbringing was on history and politics. Moreover, the personal tastes of Erik XIV leant more towards astrology and theology than the law, which is also apparent in the library catalogue.  Erik’s library contains some of the main collections of canon laws : the Liber extra, the Sext and two copies of the Decretum Gratiani. However, the absence of the Clementines from the collection is conspicuous. The Roman law sources were the Codex Justinianus (two copies), Digesta (two copies of each three parts : Digestum vetus, Infortiatum and Digestum Novum) and the Institutiones (two copies). In addition, the king, possibly following the famous adage ‘Nemo iurista nisi Bartolista,’ possessed several works of Bartolus : his commentary on the Digest (3 books) and the Code as well as a collection of Bartolus’s consilia. The Abreviationes in utroque jure may have been of use to the king when studying the rest of the collection. 
31. Finally, the law library of King Erik contained several recent or near-contemporary works on the laws, courts and legal practices of the Holy Roman Empire, Poland and France. Three books dealt with Germany or the Holy Roman Empire : Polithiæ Cesaris Caroli 5:tj, Keiserlige Malefitz rætt and a book listed as “Kort beschreibung Kon. Wirde vud [sic !] Magistrat.” The Institutiones regni poloniæ and the Liber super parlamentum parisiense, identified as probably being the Stilus suprimae curie parlamenti Parisiensis by Guilelmus de Brolio (Guillaume de Breuil), a Parisian priest and copyist, active in the late fourteenth century,  as well as a three-volume work by Johannes Bertachini, probably the Repertorium juris utriusque, printed in several editions, represented Polish, French and Italian authorship respectively. 
32. Thus, it is obvious that the library of King Erik focused first and foremost on Roman law and secondly on canon and German law. Nevertheless, what could be called ‘national’ legal literature, dealing with a field of law or institution in a particular country, may have played a more important role for the king and his advisers than what could be surmised by the simple count of the books. These works helped to keep the Swedish rulers updated on legal progress in other monarchies and of the legal solutions chosen in criminal and procedural law and the judiciary. These collections of foreign law may have functioned as sources of inspiration and mines of novel ideas, legislation and arguments available in law for the kings and their chief legal aids.
33. All in all, relatively little research has been done on the reception of the ius commune in the late Middle Ages and the Reformation period. Questions that further research would need to address are, among others, the following. How was the ius commune (and more generally foreign) legal norms, institutions and literature used in Reformation Sweden ? How did the various legal actors (individuals, groups, nobles, the king, merchants, etc.) use it to further their aims ? Who owned legal literature and studied law abroad and why ? How did these men use the ius commune that they had been studying abroad in Sweden (if they did) ? What was the role of legal literature and learned law in Sweden prior to establishment of the first Court of Appeal (1614) and did its role change after this milestone ?
34. Based on this preliminary inquiry, however, my strong impression is that in the Reformation period the emphasis on the ownership of foreign law books shifted from canon law to Roman, German and feudal law. The Roman-German jurisprudence came to be updated and mirrored the times, while the latest canon law books no longer found their way into the Swedish libraries. Canon law books, once so voluminous in the medieval cathedral and episcopal libraries, were no longer the vogue, and their proportion and absolute number in book collections was reduced to a fraction. Nevertheless, to confirm or reject this preliminary assessment would require more thorough corroborative research.
35. I feel that it may be somewhat overly categorical to claim (albeit tentatively) that ‘it would seem that the foreign legal studies played a rather limited role in the Swedish reception [of the ius commune].’  One could perhaps suggest more cautiously that the reception of the ius commune and foreign law remained restricted in early modern Sweden just as the number of students abroad was limited. Certainly, not all law proposals became reality because of political controversies and opposition, conflicting interests between (and even within) estates, and the lay-dominated and largely oral legal tradition in a relatively peripheral, rural and archaic society. Nevertheless, this does not diminish the role of university studies abroad and of those who had studied in foreign universities.
36. The university students acted as intermediaries (Vermittler) between learned and domestic law.  They made annotations on interesting and possibly useful subjects in their imported law books.  They introduced Roman legal institutions, sometimes in a simplified form, into Swedish law and legal manuscripts.  They commented on domestic laws, noting differences and similarities between them and the ius commune as already discussed above. They drafted the laws and statutes, attempting to alter domestic law inspired by learned foreign doctrines.  They negotiated and argued with the learned legal hirelings of cities and foreign powers.  They acted as indispensable channels of the knowledge of foreign law and legal literature in a country without universities or jurisprudence. Indeed, it may have been quite frustrating to waste one’s expensive and hard-won Continental legal education and sophisticated learned argument on dealing with uncouth bailiffs, brutal squires and rural bumpkins. These relatively scarce Swedish jurisperiti, however, combined their two different universes that at times must have seemed light years apart from each other. The ways they attempted to bridge their two realities still require more research.
37. In a small, peripheral country like Sweden where national law, the ius proprium, had such a dominant position, there were many shades of legal learning between the doctor of laws, perfectly versed in the ius commune, and the total ignoramus with only a slight and very practical knowledge of domestic law. This all makes the study of the Swedish reception the more challenging and fascinating. I believe that that a closer analysis of the mechanisms of reception in European peripheries such as Sweden has much to offer even to scholars interested in ius commune in general.