BARTOLOMEUS BRIXIENSIS [with] DALEN, Michael de. Casus decretorum [with] Casus summarii Decretalium Sexti et Clementinarum.

Basel, Nicolaus Kesler, 9 Aug. 1489 [with], Cologne, Johann Koelhoff, the Elder, 1485.


FIRST EDITIONS. Folio. 2 works in 1. I: ff. [190], last blank; II: ff. [145], with added q9 (called for in BMC). Gothic letter, double column. Initials and chapter headings in alternating red and blue. I: printer’s device to last leaf, light marginal waterstaining to first couple of gatherings, minor marginal repair to title and first leaf, couple of minor marginal paper flaws. II: light water stain at lower blank gutter of final gatherings, minor repair to edges of last 5 ll. Excellent, clean, well-margined copies, on thick high-quality paper, in contemporary German bevelled wooden boards, remains of two clasps, no leather, apparently never covered, sewing supports secured with wooden pegs to inner boards, evidence of former catchplate for library chain to lower cover. c1500 ms ‘M[a]g[iste]r Jacobus Wilhelm[us] legauit hunc librum huius de memoria noue eccl[esi]e in delff [ie. Delft]’ to flyleaf, stamp of the Association of the Bar Library, NYC to blank margin of a2 and its shelfmark to first title verso. Preserved in box.

Excellent, crisp copies, rubricated and in contemporary boards still retaining the original wooden pegs, of the first editions of two important legal commentaries on the ‘Decretals’. These were collections of papal decrees, issued regularly throughout the middle ages for the use of jurists, which regulated the functions, structure, personnel and law of the Catholic Church. They offer priceless insight into the everyday legal and theological questions of the age. A precious reference work, this copy was bequeathed by Jacobus Wilhelmus to the library of Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, c.1500, where it was probably chained.

Bartolomeo da Brescia (d.1258) studied canon law at Bologna and was the author of numerous legal works. Written when Bartolomeo was still a student, ‘Casus decretorum’ – a revised and enlarged version of Benincasa da Arezzo’s (d.1206) ‘Casus decretum’ – is a commentary on the ‘Decretum’, a legal textbook by the C12 jurist Gratian and one of the 6 works that formed the ‘Corpus Juris Canonici’. Later Bartolomeo wrote the standard ‘Glossa’ used for centuries, based on the work of Johannes Teutonicus. ‘Casus’ reprises Gratian’s subdivisions into ‘distinctio’, ‘causa’ and ‘questio’, and deals with a great variety of ‘cases’ spanning the office of bishops, monks and priests, synods, the resignation of a pope, and various regulations pertaining to clerics concerning questions as wide-ranging as property ownership, inheritance and fornication. Little is known of the canonist Michael de Dalen, author of this commentary on two important collections of ‘Decretals’ which followed those of Gregory IX. The ‘Liber Sextus Decretalium’ was issued under Pope Boniface VIII in 1258 and the ‘Constitutiones Clementis V’ under Clement V in 1314. They were the last collections of decretals overseen by a Pope. Together with Gregory’s ‘Decretals’, they formed part of the ‘Corpus Juris Civilis’. They discuss all kinds of questions pertaining to the life of clerics, e.g., illegitimate children, monetary transactions, oaths, burials, offices, tithes, the mass, simony, etc. Two very handsome incunables, beautifully preserved.

I: ISTC ib00151000; Goff B151; HC 2472; BMC III 768; GW 3426. II: The second work present only at Harvard, LC and Berkeley in the US. Goff M534; HC 4661*; BMC I 226; GW M23134.
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