Bartolus (1314-1357), Italian jurist, professor of the civil law at the university of Perugia, and the most famous master of the dialectical school of jurists, was born in 1314, at Sassoferrato, in the duchy of Urbino, and hence is generally styled Bartolus de Saxoferrato. His father was Franciscus Severi, and his mother was of the family of the Alfani. He studied the civil law first of all under Cinus at Perugia, and afterwards under Oldradus and Jacobus de Belvisio at Bologna, where he was promoted to the degree of doctor of civil law in 1334. His great reputation dates from his appointment to a chair of civil law in the university of Perugia, 1343, where he lectured for many years, raising the character of the law school of Perugia to a level with that of Bologna. He died in 1357 at Perugia, where a magnificent monument recorded the interment of his remains in the church of San Francisco, by the simple inscription of "Ossa Bartoli." Bartolus left behind him a great reputation, and many writers have sought to explain the fact by attributing to him the introduction of the dialectical method of teaching law; but this method had been employed by Odofredus, a pupil of Accursius, in the previous century, and the successors of Odofredus had abused it to an extent which has rendered their writings in many instances unprofitable to read, the subject matter being overlaid with dialectical forms.
It was the merit of Bartolus, on the other hand, that he employed the dialectical method with advantage as a teacher, and discountenanced the abuse of it; but his great reputation was more probably owing to the circumstance that he revived the exegetical system of teaching law (which had been neglected since the ascendancy of Accursius) in a spirit which gave it new life, whilst he imparted to his teaching a practical interest, from the judicial experience which he had acquired while acting as assessor to the courts at Todi and at Pisa before he undertook the duties of a professorial chair. His treatises On Procedure and On Evidence are amongst his most valuable works, whilst his Commentary on the Code of Justinian has been in some countries regarded as of equal authority with the code itself.