Commentarius mirabilis super titulo de regulis iuris.

Venice, Ottaviano Scoto, 1536


8vo, pp. 134, [16]. Gothic letter, a little Roman. Text in single column, smaller printed notes surrounding. Title in black and red, printer’s woodcut device on t-p and colophon, subtitles in red on ff. 3 and 7, floriated initials. Light age yellowing, marginal water stain and minor spots to t-p and a few ll., little paper flaw on f. 50. A good, crisp copy in contemporary limp vellum, yapp fore-edges, front cover with author’s forename in contemporary hand, title to spine rubbed, remains of ties. Recased, occasional ms. notes.

A rare edition of this most famous treatise on civil law by the Italian jurist Dino de Rossoni (or Mugellanus) – died after 1298 – who taught in Pistoia and Bologna. In 1298 he was commissioned to write “De regulis iuris”, the last title of the Liber Sextus Decretalium, a canonical collection in five books compiled under Pope Boniface VIII and inspired by the Decretals of Gregory IX. Mugellanus also wrote other works published later, such as a commentary on the Digest (1513), two treatises entitled “De actionibus”, and some monographs, called “consilia”.

This detailed commentary on the “De regulis iuris”, based on the Roman tradition and the body of Civil Law collected by Justinian I, rethought the standard methodology of the Accursian gloss. It was first published in Rome in 1472 and represented an authority for many fifteenth and sixteenth century scholars, such as Filippo Decio (1454-1535). Like other contemporary scholars from the Bologna school of law, Mugellanus considered the civil law as a discipline embracing all aspects of human life and including elements from moral theology.

After two dedicatory letters by the French jurist Nicolás de Bohier (1469-1539) to Guillaume, bishop of Bourges in Aquitaine and Desconsu Celse-Hugues (1480-1540) from Bourgogne, who had edited other works by Mugellanus, there follows a preface explaining the purpose of the work – summarising Canon Law in rules which explain fundamental legal concepts not clearly expressed elsewhere. The text is then divided into sections containing 88 rules and consilia (ff. 132-133). It stresses the concepts of conscience and will, good and bad-faith, amongst others, but especially focuses on behaviour, maintaining that punishment doesn’t relate to the qualities of individuals but to their particular actions. The work shows some of the typical features of medieval treatises, influenced by Aristotle and the Scholastic tradition. However, its modernity and attention to concrete cases makes it a fundamental source for the history of legal studies, as rules 23 (p. 66v), “sine culpa nisi subsit causa not est aliquis puniendus”, on the possibility of penalty without fault, and 63 (p. 93r), “qui tacet consentire”, on the importance of consent, demonstrate.

No copies of this edition recorded. BM STC It. Adams and Brunet list only previous editions.


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