church of Saint Dominic
tomb of Giovanni da Legnano


A brief description.


The tomb of Giovanni da Legnano, (+1383) in the church of San Domenico, Bologna.


Giovanni da Legnano was born in Milano, and became professor of canon law at the University of Bologna about 1350. He developed a reputation as one of its most renowned professors.


He was famous for a variety of works, most of them dedicated to Cardinals and Popes. He dedicated De bello (c. 1360) to Cardinal Albornoz; for Urban V, he prepared De pace (1364), and De pluralitate beneficiorum (1365) as well as several treatises for Gregory XI. He defended Urban VI after the outbreak of the Great Western Schism and achieved an international reputation. 


After 1378, the English court took Urban's side, and its members, therefore, would be concerned with the views of his chief apologist, John of Legnano. As a member of Richard II's court, Chaucer would have been familiar with these events, especially since he was in Italy when the Schism broke out.

Legnano wrote works on ethics, theology, and astronomy in addition to his works on law.

When he died in 1383, he was at the height of his fame.

Source: Chaucers Name Dictionary. © 1988, 1996 Jacqueline de Weever.


Giovanni da Legnano was buried in the church of San Domenico of the Dominican priory at Bologna.
His tomb is constructed by Jacobello
Dalle Masegne,
a famous sculptor active at the end of the 14th century in Emilia and Venezia. One of his finest work is a relief, 
marble, 63,3 x 76,5 cm (1383-1386), shows a class

of students with great naturalism and animation.






Honoured 900th year of the foundation of the University at Bologna.

The university of Bologna developed out of the "Schools of the Liberal Arts" which flourished at Bologna early in the eleventh century. An important feature of the General education given in these schools was the Dictamen, or Art of composition which included rules for drawing up briefs and other legal documents.

The study of grammar and rhetoric was closely or Art of composition which included rules for drawing up briefs and other legal documents. The study of grammar and rhetoric was closely connected with the study of law. At the same time, the political, commercial and intellectual growth of the Lombard cities created a demand for legal instruction.

Ravenna, long the home of jurisprudence, lost his prestige through its conflict with the papacy, and Bologna was its successor. Towards the close of the eleventh century (1088)  it was Irnerius who began the study of the entire "Corpus Juris Civillis" and organized the school of law as distinct from the arts school (1100-30).

Along with this revival of the Civil Law came the epoch-maKing compilation of the Camaldolese (or Benedictine) monk Gratian. The "Decretum Gratiani" published about 1140, became at once the recognized textbook of canon law.


Bologna was thus in its origin, a "jurist" university. The work of Irnerius and Gratian was continued by such men as Odopedus (d. 1300), Joannes Andrea (1270-1348), Saint Raymond of Pennafort, O.P. (1175-1275), and Ricardus Angelicus, who later became Bishop of Chichester (about middle of thirteenth century).

The fame of its professors drew to Bologna students from all parts of Italy and from nearly every country of Europe. It is said that their number at the beginning of the thirteenth century was 10.000. Bologna was known as the "Alma Mater studiorum", and its motto, "Bononia docet", was literally true.


Source: Transcribed by Ted Rego. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight

The Ninth Century of the University of Bologna,

Alma Mater Studiorum.

On stamp and postmark detail – a lady-student – from
the marble relief, 63,3 x 76,5 cm, by Jacobello dalle
Masegne, (1383-1386).


Italy 1988, Michel  2054, Scott 1746

                 Postmark Bologna 10.06.1988.


Same picture on

Italy 2004, postmark Legnano 28.11.2004.

                 Giornata dello studente.


With thanks to Mr and Mrs José en Regina Bogaert – Van Wayenberge.


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