Law School? More Like “Lie School”!

Giovanni Boccaccio, de Casibus Virorum Illustrium 3.10:

Our present age, having ignored ancient custom, rips little children away, I will not say from the rules of grammar, but from the breasts of their mothers, so that it can force them out not into the schools but into the brothels, in which sacrosanct laws are dragged with a base sort of prostitution from the most just into sinful seductions. This is not done, as some pretend, so that a tender age which will not lose what it has learned will be more aptly imbued with the laws, but rather so that it can be more quickly accommodated to serving avarice. Nor do those who, decked out in robes, mount the cathedrals and pulpits fear to profess this in a sonorous clamour while omitting philosophical proofs as though unnecessary, and defiling the parts from which justice consists and by which the manners of people are reformed for the better by saying, “Let’s forget about these things – they’re superfluous, and don’t teach us how to seek our bread.”

And so, while it doesn’t suffice for armored asses to have neglected what they don’t know, they try even to shamefully mar what is known if they can, pressing on with this mission with all of their strength to the point from which they can disembowel the simplicity and sanctity of the laws and extract quarrels unwilling to come into public notice, and to make the disputes among the litigants immortal with their raillery. And since they celebrate with the loudest acclamation one who, with subterfuge and nefarious sagacity has protected mendacity against the truth for a long time, they nevertheless cultivate, praise, and extol the one to whom, by any fraud whatever, much wealth has accrued, as a father of the laws, an archive of justice, and the reliquary of the truth. O unbending justice of God, how long will you permit this crap?

Portrait by Raffaello Morghen, circa 1822

Presens autem evum, spreta veteri solertia, non dicam a grammaticalibus regulis, sed a nutricum uberibus evellit infantulos, ut eos non in scholis sed in fornicibus trudat, in quibus sacrosancte leges turpi quodam lenocinio ex iustissimis in scelestas trahuntur illecebras; nec agitur hoc – ut aliqui conantur pretendere – ut tenella etas, non dimissura quod ceperit, aptius imbuatur legibus, quin imo ut citius avaritie serviatur. Nec hoc verentur profiteri clamore sonoro qui, fimbriati, cathedras conscendunt et pulpita, dum, omissis phylosophicis demonstrationibus tanquam superfluis et quibus ex partibus iustitia constat et mores hominum reformantur in melius, ore spurcido et obsceno vocabulo aientes: «Sinamus hec: superflua sunt; nec de pane querendo nos instruunt». Et sic dum faleratis onagris non sufficit neglexisse quod nesciunt, conantur etiam turpi nota fedasse, si possint, eo totis incumbentes viribus unde ex simplicitate ac sanctitate legum eviscerare possint nolentia in publicum devenire litigia, et litigantium lites cavillationibus immortales facere. Et cum illum boatu summo celebrent, qui subterfugiis astutiisque nephariis adversus veritatem diu mendacium tutatus est, eum tamen cui quibuscunque fraudibus ample devenere substantie legum patrem iuris archivum veritatisque sacrarium colunt predicant et extollunt. O Dei indeflexa iustitia quam diu pateris hec?

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