Devising law: On the philosophy of legal emblems

Peter Goodrich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Early modern lawyers, civilian and common alike, developed their very own ars iuris or art of law. A variety of legal disciplines had always relied in part upon the use of visual representations, upon images and statuary to convey authority and sovereign norm. Military, religious, administrative and legal images found juridical codification and expression in collections of signs of office (notitia dignitatum), in heraldic codes, in genealogical devises (impresa) and then finally in the juridical invention in the mid-sixteenth century of the legal emblem book. This chapter traces the complex lineage of the emblem book and argues that the visual depiction of authority and norm that it promulgated so successfully laid down an early modern structure and implicit regulation of vision. The mens emblematica of the humanist lawyers was also the inauguration of a visiocratic regime that continues in significant part into the present and multiple technologies of vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLaw, Culture and Visual Studies
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789048193226
ISBN (Print)9789048193219
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Devising law: On the philosophy of legal emblems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this