A medieval canonist of Welsh origin, date and place of birth and death unknown. He was one of the leading professors at Bologna in the decade preceding the Fourth Lateran Council (1215); possibly he and his fellow countryman gilbertus anglicus ended their days as Dominicans. Both decretist and decretalist, his collection of decretals suggests English affiliations: he may have studied or taught law in England before the Bologna period or at least may have had some connection with John of Tynmouth and his associates in the English schools (see canon law, history of). Tancred, in the preface of his Apparatus to the Compilatio tertia antiqua, speaks of him simply as an English professor in the schools of Bologna. The extant works of Alanus are: Collectio decretalium (c. 1206), a critical register of which has been published by R. von Heckel (see bibliography); Apparatus to Compilatio prima antiqua (after 1207); glosses on Compilatio secunda antiqua (shortly after 1210 or 1212); and Apparatus Decretorum (Ius naturale ). Some have held that he was the author of Compilatio quarta antiqua, but this was definitely joannes teutonicus.
The apparatus Ius naturale is one of four great apparatuses on Gratian's Decretum that appeared at Bologna between 1190 and 1210. A first recension dates from about 1192, a second from some ten years later. As Stickler has shown (1959), the two recensions differ doctrinally: whereas, for example, Alanus originally was in the Gelasian-Gratian tradition of the juridical independence of the spiritual and secular powers, he had shifted by 1202 to a theocratic position. However, although some consider Alanus to be the architect of those curialist doctrines of papal sovereignty that eventually crystallized in the unam sanctam of Boniface VIII, he was simply responding to a wind that was blowing from the Summa of huguccio (see church and state). The Collectio Decretalium of Alanus is one of the many systematic collections of decretals that appeared about this time. A first version had an appendix of 111 chapters; in a second version, which was that "received" at Bologna, Alanus inserted these chapters into the body of his collection, distributing 412 decretals in 484 chapters. Except for a division into six books instead of the classic five and some additional decretals, it follows the layout of the collection (1202–03) of Gilbertus Anglicus and appears to owe something to Anglo-Norman collections. With that of Gilbertus, the Collectio Alani is the principal source from which john of wales formed his Compilatio secunda antiqua (1210–12) after the publication of Innocent III's official Compilatio tertia antiqua in 1210 (see quinque compilationes antiquae).
Bibliography: j. f. von schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des kanonischen Rechts 1:84, 188–89. s. kuttner, Repertorium der Kanonistik 67–75, 316, 325, 346. r. von heckel, "Die Dekretalensammlungen des Gilbertus und Alanus nach den Weingartener Handschriften," Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung 29 (1940) 116–357. a. m. stickler, Historia iuris canonici latini: v.1, Historia fontium 231. s. kuttner, "The Collection of Alanus: A Concordance of Its Two Recensions," Rivista di storia del diritto italiano 26–27 (1953–54) 39–55. a. m. stickler, "Alanus Anglicus als Verteidiger des monarchischen Papsttums," Salesianum 21 (1959) 346–406; Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 1:265–66. "Bulletin of the Institute for Research and Study in Medieval Canon Law," Traditio 16 (1960) 557–58; 17 (1961) 534–36.
[l. e. boyle]