Opera omnia, quae prodierunt, auctore vel superstite, vel defuncto. Studio et diligentia Alexandri Scot, Scoti iurisconsulti

Lyon, Ioannis Pillehotte, 1606.


Folio. FIRST EDITION thus. Five volumes in four. 1) pp. (cvii), 2358 col., pp. (il). 2) pp. (xii), 2104 col., pp. (lxxxiii). 3) pp (xxiv), 1950 col., (lxiv): (viii) 328 col pp. (xiii) last blank. 4) pp. (xlviii) 2064 col. pp. (lvi). Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Title’s printed in red and black with large woodcut printer’s device, engraved portrait of Cujas by Jacobus de Zettre in vol 1, historiated woodcut initials, large grotesque and historiated head and tail-pieces, one woodcut genealogical table, “ex libris joannis caroli offis La Haye advo.” in early hand on all four title pages. Light age yellowing with some browning (poor quality paper), worm trail at gutter of quires O-P and quires 5E to 5G of vol 1 touching a few letters, and in upper blank margin towards end, single worm hole in vol 2, waterstaining in several places, heavier at end of vol 1, the occasional mark or stain. Good unsophisticated copies in contemporary reverse calf, covers bordered with a gilt rule, spine with raised bands ruled in gilt, covers worn in places some worming to spines, a.e.r.

A good unsophisticated copy of this new monumental and most complete edition of the works of Cujas, revised and supplemented from his notes of lectures, conversations and dictations by his student Alexander Scot of Aberdeen. Cujas was a key figure in the establishment of modern jurisprudence, and the founder, with Alciat, of Renaissance legal studies. Scaliger (one of his students, along with de Thou) said of him: “ce qu’Alciat a commencé, Cujas l’a accompli”; Cujas was instrumental in turning away from the late mediaeval interpretations of Roman law, which sought to transpose the letter of the law into the feudal legal system then operating in Europe. Instead, Cujas produced a return to the spirit of Roman law, and looked afresh at Classical jurisprudence unblinkered by the commentators of the late middle ages; he was “le veritable fondateur de l’école historique du droit” (M. Lerminier, Introduction Générale a l’Histoire du Droit, Paris 1829, pp. 43-46).

“Alexander Scot (1560?-1615) was a native of Aberdeen, and a graduate of King’s College. He studied theology at the University of Tournon. But, like other intellectual and ambitious young men, he was drawn to the University of Bourges by the reputation of Cujas. Cujas was the most brilliant and successful teacher of law, Roman and feudal. By his application of historical methods of interpretation, especially his study of sources and his use of the Byzantine law and commentators, by his critical labours to secure an accurate text, his lucid, orderly expositions of the true sense and relation of each text, and his mastery of jurisprudence as a science Cujas had revolutionised the study of Roman Law in France and Germany. He has never been surpassed as a commentator and interpreter: though no longer the oracle of universities and courts, his is still a name of high authority. That Alexander Scot became his favourite disciple and familiar friend is, of itself, conclusive proof of Scot’s character and abilities. Scot took his degree in utroque jure at Bourges, and taught in the Faculty of Law. It is said that after 1590 he filled Cujas’ chair. But his chief praise is that, with filial affection, he published (at Lyons, 1606) the earliest edition of his master’s collected works, revised and supplemented from his notes of lectures, conversations and dictations. To his legal attainments Alexander Scot added high classical scholarship. His Greek Grammar (1593) long continued to be a popular text-book in schools and universities. Lawyers remember him by his Vocabularium utriusque juris (1601), a book of great research and practical utility. It is interesting to notice that this book is dedicated to William Chisholm, Bishop of Vaison, and that Scot entitles himself a Scottish jurisconsult. He also wrote De Officio Judicis and De Judiciis.” Anderson, Peter John. (2013). pp. 242-3. Studies in the History and Development of the University of Aberdeen. London: Forgotten Books.

Cujas did a great deal of work on the sources of Roman law, and amassed a large number (around 500) manuscripts, unfortunately, dispersed after his death. A good copy of the best edition of his works.

BM STC Fr. C17th p. 121 C1854.


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