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Making Practicality a Virtue: Morality, Law, and Fortitude in Giovanni da Legnano's De Bello


  • Jasonne M. Grabher

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    • Dr Jasonne M. Grabher is general manager of the Melbourne School of Graduate Research, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


While Giovanni da Legnano's De bello (ca.1360) deals primarily with practical issues related to the law of war, he also delved into the areas of moral philosophy and theology by examining the cardinal virtue fortitude. Giovanni's interest in fortitude continues longstanding medieval concerns about the morality of war and other forms of sanctioned violence, but his approach to the subject is that of a jurist attempting to bring licit violence more firmly under the rule of law. The historical context in which he wrote, furthermore, provides a useful framework for understanding his motivations and his treatment of various issues in the work.