BY THE FIRST IMPORTANT WOMAN PRINTER
[Von SCHUSSENRIED, Werner]. Modus legendi abbreviaturas in utroque iure.
Paris, Claude Chevallon, 1537.
Paris, Charlotte Guillard, 1540.
Brocardica excerpta a toto corpore Iuris civilis et canonici.
Paris, Charlotte Guillard, 1541.
LECOURT, Benoît. Enchiridion iuris utriusque terminorum.
Lyon, Jean and François Frellon, 1543.
JAMET, François. De ratione studii iuris civilis.
Paris, Pierre Vidoue, .
8vo., five works in one: 1) ff. 36; 2) 48 leaves; a-d8; 3) 20 leaves; +1, a-b8, c3, missing final blank; 4) pp. (16), 187, (5), lacking last two leaves (colophon and blank); 5) FIRST EDITION, 20 leaves, wanting title, a1 and e4. Predominantly Roman letter, little Italic, few Greek words in 5); large printer’s device on title 1) and 4); some historiated initials, added early engraving (the Virgin holding child Jesus and flowers) over lower part of title 4). Tiny clean tear in margin of title 1); generally light damp stains on central and final gatherings of the volume, affecting a couple of letters at Eiv-Eiiv of 5); repairs on title and final leaf of 4), small marginal tear and tiny wormhole at last leaf of 5). A good copy in seventeenth-century mottled French calf; gilt borders and spine with floral lozenges, title on morocco label, all edges red; slightly scratched; modern bookplates on front pastedown and endpaper; in 4), early owner’s initials and scribbled inscriptions on title, early initials ‘IMI’ on verso of last; occasional contemporary and early annotations in margins of 5).
An interesting collection of rare law treatises of the Renaissance. The first is a famous glossary of the common abbreviations in Roman and canon law texts. A very useful and successful tool, it is regarded by Brunet as the first manual of palaeography in print (Suppl., 1044). The work appeared anonymously in Strasbourg, about 1475. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was attributed to Werner von Schussenried, canon of Saint Germain in Speyer (Victor Scholderer, ‘The Author of the Modus legendi abbreviaturas,’ The Library, third ser., II, 1911, pp. 181-182).
Picking the first letters of each line in the section entitled ‘De decreto versificato’ in the editio princeps, one can read ‘Wernherus monstrat ut sic distinctio fiat Sancti Germani Spirae canonicus Cuius erat patria Schussenrieth in Swevia …’ This is a reprint of the revised edition of 1526 by the same printer, Claude Chevallon. The Legum flosculi and Brocardica excerpta provide alphabetical lists of words and sentences from the ancient and medieval legal tradition. They were often bound or published with the Modus legendi. These two editions were issued by the first woman printer of importance, Charlotte Guillard, Chevallon’s wife.
The fourth work is a learned dictionary of legal terminology by Benoît Lecourt. A respected jurist, Lecourt was chevalier of the Church of Lyon from 1540 until his death in November 1559. He published a critical Latin translation of Les Arrêts d’amour by the poet Martial d’Auvergne, as well as an influential treatise on gardens and botany. His library was of the most remarkable of the time. The final work of this collection is a considerable rarity. It is the first and only edition of a passionate encomium of legal studies, written in dialogue form. A short explanation of legal terms with related authorities is included as appendix. François Jamet was an active legal scholar in the first half of the sixteenth century. Very little is known about him.
A modern owner of the book was, very fittingly, Robert Billecard (1886 – 1953), a high magistrate and member of the French Resistance against the Nazi occupation.
1) Not in BM STC Fr., Brunet and Graesse. Adams, M 1544; Moreau, V, 696.
2) Not in BM STC Fr., Adams, Brunet or Graesse. Moreau, V, 1770.
3) Not in BM STC Fr., Adams, Brunet or Graesse.
4) Not in Adams, Brunet or Graesse. BM STC Fr. Supp., 27.
5) No recorded copies in UK or US. Not in Brunet or Graesse. Moreau, V, 207.