1243-1254 Pope Innocent IV

Pope Innocent IV

       Innocent IV was well prepared for his role as one of the great popes of the Middle Ages.  Click here for more on the 'lawyer pope.'

Innocent IV

       He served as a renowned canonist and lecturer at the famed University of Bologna, where the great medieval legal celebrity, Irnerius, popularized the study of Roman law.  Innocent's writings reflected the absorption of a variety of discursive practices, but the dominant systematizing tracks taken in all of his major texts reflect the overarching influence of Aristotle on his thinking.

This was the crucible of scholasticism for thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, and later, Francisco de Vitoria, who sought to bring together theology, philosophy, and law, all informed by the classical teaching of Aristotle.  Aquinas' musings would lay the foundation for all modern conceptions of international law that were to play such an important role in mediating the ownership of newly discovered lands in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Click here for more on Aquinas and the crusadesInnocent IV's Crusade

       Innocent IV, often describes as the greatest lawyer that ever sat upon the chair of St. Peter, became the mentor to Discovery Era legal theorists like de Victoria and Hugo Grotius. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/grotius/

        His most important contribution was a discussion of the rights and duties of pagan nations under natural law, a commentary that built on the papal decree known as Quod super his which asserted the church's right to conquer the lands of non-believers through the proxy of Christian Kings.