The Correspondence of Franciscus Duarenus

Primary Contributors:

† Chris Heesakkers and Nathalie Smit

Title-page from Francois Duaren, Disputationes anniversariae, 1573. (Image courtesy of Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura)

Franciscus Duarenus (1509–1559)

Franciscus Duarenus, or François (le) Douaren was born near Saint-Brieuc in 1509. He was a French jurist who studied in Paris under Guillaume Budé. Duarenus and Budé maintained a close relationship. When Budé transferred to the University of Bourges, Duarenus followed him to continue his education with the older scholar. After Duarenus finished his studies, he started a teaching job at the University of Bourges in 1538. Following a dispute with Enguinaire François, Baron de Kerlouan (1495–1550), he relocated to Paris and became an advocate of the Parliament of Paris.

Following his departure from Bourges, Duarenus published multiple commentaries, which included his influential commentary on the Roman law of obligations, Commentarius de pactis (1544). Although Duarenus moved from the University of Bourges, he continued to perfect a study program for higher education in France. His De ratione docendi discendique juris epistola, was the first statement of the mos gallicus, the French humanist approach to the study of Roman law which sought to study the Corpus Iuris of Justinian by means of a philological and historicizing method. This work was highly influential and was introduced to most European law faculties. Duarenus returned to the University of Bourges to resume teaching in 1550 following the death of the Baron de Kerlouan.

Partners and Additional Contributors

This catalogue is based on Chris Heesakkers’s unpublished transcriptions of Duarenus’s letters that are preserved in the Leiden University Library. The catalogue was compiled by Nathalie Smit during her research internship in the Sharing Knowledge in Literary and Learned Networks [SKILLNET] project, funded by the European Research Council (project no. 724972), under the direction of Dr Dirk van Miert. The introductory text was written by Nathalie Smit.


A total of thirty letters are included in this inventory. These are all the letters from and to Duarenus that are kept in Leiden University Library. Duarenus wrote and received these letters over the course of twenty-one years. Most of the letters originated in France, but a number were written in Switzerland and Germany. The destinations of the letters, however, remain unknown to date. Although Duarenus was French, he wrote all his letters in Latin, with the addition of phrases and passages in Greek.

Further resources


Bibliographie de L’Histoire des Universités Françaises des Origines a la Révolution, ed. A. Picard and J. Picard (Paris, 1978), pp. 92–107.
Die Amerbachkorrespondenz IX Band: Die Briefe aus den Jahren 1553–1555, ed. Beat Rudolf Jenny (Basel, 1983), p. 585.
Mélanges P. F. Girard (Paris, 1912), pp. 573–621.
Repertoire Analytique et Chronologique de la Correspondance de Guillaime Budé, ed. Louis Delaruelle (Toulouse, 1907), pp. 236–40.
Wilfrid Vogt, ‘Franciscus Duarenus, 1509-1559: Sein Didaktisches Reformprogramm und Seine Bedeutung für die Entwicklung der Zivilrechtsdogmatik’, PhD dissertation, Stuttgart, 1971.

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