While the body of the noblesse formed the high court, the court of the burgesses was composed of twelve legists (probably named by the king) under the presidency of the vicomte - a knight also named by the king, who was a great financial as well as a judicial officer.
(I) The assizes of the high court are preserved for us in works by legists - John of Ibelin, Philip of Novara and Geoffrey of Tort - composed in the 13th century.
According to the story of the legists who wrote these books - e.g.
The story of the legists is now generally rejected.
Thus the story of the legists shrinks down to the regular myth of the primitive legislator, used to give an air of respectability to law-books, which really record an unwritten custom.
In the 13th century it became necessary for the legists to codify, as it were, the unwritten law, because the upheavals of the times necessitated the fixing of some rules in writing, and especially because it was necessary to oppose a definite custom of the kingdom to Frederick II., who sought, as king of Jerusalem, to take advantage of the want of a written law, to substitute his own conceptions of law in the teeth of the high court.
Was seeking to found a united kingdom in Great Britain; while the Habsburgs were entrenching themselves in Austria; above all, while Philippe le Bel and his legists were consolidating the French monarchy on an absolutist basis, there could be little thought of the holy war.
The general tendency both of the imperial constitutions and of the maxims of the legists is in favour of liberty.
About this time Tash-kOprizada began and 'Ata-ullah continued a celebrated biography of the legists and sheikhs who had flourished under the Ottoman monarchs.
In spite of the perpetuation of all the old abuses and the continual appearance of new devices for increasing the papal revenue; in spite of the jealousy of kings and princes, the attacks of legists and the preaching of the heretics; in spite of seventy years of exile from the holy city, forty years of distracting schism and discord, and thirty years of conflict with stately oecumenical councils deliberating in the name of the Holy Spirit and intent upon permanently limiting the papal prerogatives; in spite of the unworthy conduct of some of those who ascended the papal throne, their flagrant political ambitions, and their greed; in spite of the spread of knowledge, old and new, the development of historical criticism, and philosophical speculation; in spite, in short, of every danger which could threaten the papal monarchy, it was still intact when Leo X.
In spite of his instincts for dominion and the ardour of his temperament, he made no attempt to shake off the French yoke, and did not decide on hostilities with France until Philip the Fair and his legists attempted to change the character of the kingship, emphasized its lay tendencies, and exerted themselves to gratify the desire for political and financial independence which was shared by the French nation and many other European peoples.
Legists differ as to whether the band was legal or not, but revolutions make their own laws, and the Covenant could not be more illegal than the imposure of the liturgy.
All those time-worn medieval institutions which no longer allowed free scope to private or public life were demolished by the legists in favor of the monarchy.
Therefore in 1158 a commission was appointed embracing four Roman legists as representatives of the emperor, as well as those of fourteen towns, to examine into the imperial and municipal rights.
He surrounded himself with clerks and legists of more or less humble origin, who gave him counsel and acted as his agents.