AZO OF BOLOGNA [or Azzone da Bologna] Brocardica sive generalia juris

Basel, Kaspar Herwagen [per Eusebium Episcopium, et Nicolai Episcopii haeredes], 1567, August


8vo. pp. [xx], 864, [lxxxiv]. Roman letter with some Italic. Small woodcut printers device on verso of last, floriated and white on black initials, “Caspar Heuchelin” in a near contemporary hand on t-p, ‘A F Ruhler’ in a later hand above “W Ashburner Firenze” 1907 in pencil above that, with his stamp on verso of penultimate leaf, rare marginal notes in an early hand. Light age yellowing, occasional marginal spot or mark, autograph cut from margin of t-p, repair affecting a few words of privilege on verso. A very good, clean copy in a finely worked binding by Caspar Krafft the Younger of contemporary blindstamped pigskin over boards, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, outer and middle panels with small heads in medallion rolls, central blindstamped panels of the figures of Justice, on upper cover, and Lucretia on lower, (dated 1562 with the monogram C. K.), spine with blind ruled raised bands, all edges blue (faded)

Rare edition of this popular legal handbook by Portius Azo, who taught law at Bologna early in the thirteenth century, a list of opposing legal arguments or maxims (for and against) relating to common problems in civil and canon law. ‘Brocardica’ i.e. ‘with protruding teeth’ is a term derived from the jargon of the Bologna law school meaning broadly couched legal arguments, especially pairs of conflicting arguments, for the solution of particular legal problems. Here Azo proposes arguments for and against a host of problems and gives solutions. The work deals with many subjects but particularly in detail with monetary law. “The position established by Pillius became part and parcel of the glossators’ monetary law. This was due to the authority attaching to the name of Azo, to whom a brocard is attributed in the Brocardia sive generalia iuris. This work was published under Azo’s name, and may be traced, at least for the greater part, to Otto Papiniensis, and dated to the end of the twelfth century. … The brocard starts with the juxtaposition of two opposing statements, each accompanied by a host of references, mostly to the texts of the Digest and Code but also to brocards within the same volume. .. Azo’s brocard was to feature as the controlling formula for the coming centuries. From 1250 onwards we find Azo’s doctrine confirmed in the Bolognese Statutes.” John W. Cairns ‘The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula.’

“Early in the thirteenth century Portius Azo stood at the head of the Bolognese school of law which was accomplishing the resuscitation of the classical Roman law. He was the pupil of the celebrated Johannes Bassianus, and his fame so eclipsed all his contemporaries that in 1205 Thomas of Marlborough, afterwards Abbot of Evesham, spent six months at Bologna hearing his lectures every day. Azo was saluted as “Master of all the Masters of the laws,” and the highest praise that could be given another canonist was to declare him to be “second only to Azo.” Savigrey says that Azo was alive as late as 1230. His chief work is a “Summa” of the first nine books of the Code, to which he added a “Summa” of the Institutes. No less than thirty-one editions appeared between 1482 and 1610; of which five are earlier than 1500. Throughout the Middle Ages these treatises were in highest repute.” Reverend Montague Summers.

Caspar Heuchelin, jurist and scholar (1571-1626), was the author of many treatises, most often on legal questions, many of which were published at Tübingen such as “Tres Decades Selectiorum Iuris Controversi Quaestionum’, Tubingae 1599, “Euph miai Ad Illustrissimi Principis, Ac Domini, Domini Augusti, Comitis Palatini” Tubingae 1599, and “Carmina gratulatoria In Laudem Et Honorem Ornatissimorum Doctissimorumque Iuvenum, DDnn Melchioris” Tubingae 1593. This contemporary binding was created in the workshop of Caspar Krafft the Younger, the well-known binder in Wittenberg, both covers are richly blindstamped with fine panels. A very good copy with most appropriate scholarly provenance.

Not in BM STC Ger. C16th, Brunet, Graesse.
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