Peter of Ancarano

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Peter of Ancarano (Italian: Piètro d'Ancarano, Latin: Petrus Ancharanus)[1] (c.1333 – 1416) was an Italian jurist. He worked in the tradition of Giovanni d'Andrea.[2] He earned the Latin nickname anchora juris,[3] and was also known as Pietro de Farneto.[4]


He studied Roman law under Baldus de Ubaldis at Perugia, and then canon law under Bartholomeus de Saliceto at Bologna.[5] His academic career was mainly at Bologna. He was an influential jurisconsult and teacher in Florence from the 1390s.[2] He spent time also at Siena and Venice. In 1402 he moved to the University of Ferrara, with Antonius de Butrio (who was one of his students)[5] and Johannes de Imola. An elaborator of conciliarism, he participated in the Council of Pisa and Council of Constance on behalf of Antipope John XXIII.[6]


Peter of Ancarano's commentary on the Decretals of Gregory IX was celebrated.[7]

  • Tractatus de schismate

His views were fundamentally in favour of papal monarchy; but in terms of the Western Schism as it stood after 1400, the behaviour of both Antipope Benedict XIII and Pope Gregory XII made him shift ground towards a conciliar resolution.[8] Baldassarre Cossa (shortly to be an antipope as John XXIII) persuaded him, perhaps with Butrio, to write in 1405 on the schism.[9] In line with the Bologna faculty generally, and Francesco Zabarella, he believed Pope Gregory, in particular, should keep to commitments he had made.[10]


The marriage of Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence and Margaret Holland in 1412 required a papal dispensation, because of the degree of consanguinity as defined in canon law and the Book of Leviticus. The dispensation was granted by John XXIII, against quite recent precedent (the 1392 case of Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac who wished to marry the widow of his late brother John III, Count of Armagnac, and was refused by Pope Clement VII); and proceeded on the basis of an opinion of Peter of Ancarano (influenced by Andrea). It created a precedent itself, on papal powers.[11]


  1. ^ Petrus de Ancarano; Pierre d'Ancarano.
  2. ^ a b Thomas Kuehn, Heirs, kin, and Creditors in Renaissance Florence (2008), p. 183; Google Books.
  3. ^ (French) Alfred Franklin, Dictionnaire des noms (1875), p. 25;
  4. ^ (German) ALCUIN page.
  5. ^ a b Ken Pennington page.
  6. ^ R. N. Swanson, Universities, Academics and the Great Schism (2002), p. 209–10; Google Books.
  7. ^ (Italian) Péter Erdő, Storia della scienza del diritto canonico: una introduzione (1999), p. 114; Google Books.
  8. ^ Joseph Canning, A History of Medieval Political Thought: 300-1450 (2006), pp. 178–9; Google Books.
  9. ^ Brian Tierney (editor), Authority and Power: studies on medieval law and government presented to Walter Ullmann on his seventieth birthday (1980), p. 227; Google Books.
  10. ^ Philippe Levillain, The Papacy: Gaius-Proxies (2002), p. 635; Google Books.
  11. ^ Richard A. McCabe, Incest, Drama and Nature's Law, 1550-1700 (2008), p. 48; Google Books.

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