PORTABLE LAW INCUNABLE
Formularium instrumentorum ad usum Curiae Romanae.
[Speyer, Peter Drach, 1483-88].
Small 4to. ff. 278 unnumbered ll., [*]-[***]6 a-z8 ℸ8 ɔ8 A-G8 H-I6, lacking [*]1 and [***]6 blank. Gothic letter. First leaf a little finger-soiled at margins, small oil stain to outer blank margin of first and second, repaired worm trail to l3-6 affecting couple of lines and lower margin of last few ll., some light waterstaining and marginal spotting on last few ll. A very good, clean copy, on high quality thick paper, in late C16 German pigskin, traces of clasps, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with roll of interlacing palmettes in blind, raised bands, blind-stamped vellum title label, c.1600 ms. casemark D at foot of spine, all edges blue, a bit rubbed, C18 bibliographical ms. note to fly, C17 inscription ‘Conventus Lucensis’ (Lucca, Italy?) on first leaf.
A very good copy of this small-format formulary for canonists, first printed in Rome in 1474. It is a collection of templates for legal documents, preceded by a detailed index. These precedents, which follow the practice of ecclesiastical courts of the papal curia, had been circulating in ms. among scribes and clerks, in the C15. The collection is subdivided into broad categories, split in turn into more specific types. Among these are forms for the approval of the university curriculum and the obtainment of a ‘Baccalaureatus’, as well as precedents for the surrendering of debt, the collection of ecclesiastical benefices, the purchase of habitations, the summons of prisoners to court, and even the purchase of books. For this, a template, which uses Justinian’s ‘Infortiatum’ as an example, identifies the notary as the witness to a financial transaction between the owner and the bookseller, for the sale of the book at the price of ten florins, and for which the number of leaves and the words at the beginning and end of text and the commentary should be specified. A very sound idea. This third German edition testifies to the gradual spreading of ‘the learned Romano-canonical procedure […] into the German-speaking regions that traditionally had had lay judges (‘Schöffen’)’ (Korpiola, ‘Introduction’, 11).
Pr 2363; BMC II, 495; GW 10207; Hain 7277 ; Goff F257. M. Korpiola, ‘Introduction’, in Legal Literacy in Premodern European Societies, ed. M. Korpiola (London, 2019), 1-16.