GERMAN IMPERIAL COURT CASES IN ANALYSIS

Singularium observationum iudicij Imper[ialis] Camerae, Centuriae IIII.

Basle, heirs of Eusebius and Nicolaus Episcopus, 1570.

£1,850

8vo., pp. (32), 482, (80). Predominantly Italic letter, Roman in titles and prefaces, little Gothic and Greek. Few woodcut initials, slightly yellowed, missing the final blank leaf, marginal paper flaw at 311. A crisp, well-margined copy in beautiful contemporary German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards by Thomas Schmidt (Haebler, I, 433 describes an identical binding), skilfully rebacked and varnished. Covers elegantly tooled in blind, triple fillets, wreath of portrayed medallions and coat of arms in the external frame, large and detailed portrait under a vault in the centre. On the front, Justice with the inscription ‘iusticia quisquis pictur/lumine cernis dic deus es[t].’ On the rear, suicidal Lucretia symbolising chastity (‘cas[ta] tulit magnam formae/ Lucrecia laudem factat). Original clasps on the front, remains on the rear, fleurs-de-lis on the spine, joints lightly cracked. Modern bookplate on front pastedown and contemporary purchase note ‘Jodocus Stuvenig [or Stwenig?] emit anno .1575. Coloniae Ubiorum [Cologne].’ Graceful marginal annotations by him, and occasionally by slightly later hands, early ink underlining.

Third much augmented edition by the Episcopus press, after the princeps of 1563 and the reprint of 1565. It provided four hundred learned commentaries on verdicts pronounced by the Imperial Chamber Court (Reichskammergericht). The court was established in 1495, as the highest juridical institution of the German Empire together with the Aulic Council. Its jurisdiction embraced the whole field of law, except for feudal abuses. The author, Joachim Mynsinger or Münsinger (1514 – 1588), sat as a judge of the court between 1548 and 1566.

A skilled humanist, Mynsinger studied law in the top universities of his time (Dole, Tübingen, Padua and Freiburg) and was a late pupil of the German jurist Ulrich Zasius. He was also the chancellor of the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, as well as the first deputy dean of Helmstadt University, founded in 1576. His treatises on law were extremely influential until the mid-seventeenth century, with countless editions in German and Italy. The Singulares observationes were addressed to those who take part in ‘the Republic for safeguarding the right’ (Greek nomophulakia). This edition was so thoroughly amended and enlarged that, as the title indicates, it may be regarded as a new work.

Not in BM STC Ger. Haebler, I, 433.

L1776

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