CINUS DE PISTORIO. Lectura super codicem.

Strasbourg, [Heinrich Eggestein], [c.1478]


FIRST EDITION, vol.2 (parts VI-IX) of 2. Royal folio. ff. 241 unnumbered and unsigned ll., a-i10 k8 l-m6 n-o8 p10 q-r8 s10 t-u8 x10 y6 z-A8 B-C10 D12 (-D12, blank). Gothic letter, double column. Large 9- to 10-line decorated initials at start of each part: (VI) in red over green, with fleurons and geometrical motifs in black, bordered with red penflourishings, heron, lion and human face sketched in red or black, (VII) in red and blue, human face and penflourishings in red, (VIII, IX) in red and blue, with blue penflourishings; smaller initials supplied in red, occasional figurative decorations (e.g., dog); capitals, subtitles, paragraph headings and running titles heightened in red. Small scattered worm holes at times touching letters, recto of first contemporary ms. index leaf and verso of last leaf a little dust-soiled at margins, occasional very minor marginal spotting, few ll. slightly browned, lower blank margin of three ll. repaired. A very good, wide-margined copy in early C18 polished calf, marbled pastedowns (wanting feps), C18 gilt armorial supralibros of Elector Charles Theodor of Bavaria, raised bands, gilt sunflowers and cornerpieces to spine, gilt-lettered morocco labels, ‘BP’ gilt at head of spine, marbled blue edges, rubbed and scratched, joints discreetely repaired. C15 ms. index heightened in red to first two blank ll., leaf numbers supplied in ms. in the same hand, C19(?) pencilled ‘Dpl’ (‘Duplum’) to verso of second initial blank, late C15 to late C16 ms. marginalia throughout.

A very good, large, exquisitely rubricated copy of the first edition of this milestone of medieval legal studies—the foundation of Italian civil law. It was printed by Heinrich Eggestein (1415/20-88), recorded as the earliest printer in Strasbourg, with Johannes Mentelin, and one of the earliest outside Mainz. According to T. Gerardy, the type of this edition was not used before c.1476, with a date of publication probably closer to 1478 (‘Gallizianimarke’, 11-23). Cinus de Pistorio (Cino da Pistoia, 1270-1336/37) was a poet praised by Dante in ‘De vulgari eloquentia’, an eminent jurist trained at Bologna and professor at Florence, Siena, Naples and Perugia. His monumental ‘Lectura’, written c.1312-14, is a commentary on the Justinian Code inspired by the French legal school and the fundamental ‘Glossa’ by the Italian jurist Accursius. The title—frequently used in C15 legal commentaries—indicates that such works had been ‘written by the jurists in their activity of teaching the law and indeed they are usually commentaries on a specific part of the corpus […] with relation to the part of the text that was read during a course. The practice of writing comments on the texts was an evolution from the traditional interpretation of the texts, consisting of notes added to the margins (“glossae”)’ (Pananelli-Fratoni, ‘Printing the Law’, 80). ‘Lectura’ brings together Roman law, medieval canon, criminal, civil and customary law, and local statutes. This second volume (Parts VI-IX) includes the law of property, inheritance and sale, regulations concerning servants, the custody of prisoners, violence (including the defloration of virgins), the violation of tombs, various frauds (currency, documents, the sale of the same property to different people or the sale of something which does not belong to the seller) and slander. The early annotators of this copy were legal practitioners, who read the work so carefully as to even make editorial corrections. The early C16 (and keener) annotator was interested in runaway servants accused of theft or corruption, the property to which freed servants and their children are entitled, cases of fraud in this context, the last will of soldiers, inheritance and conditions and ways for disinheriting (in which the late C16 annotator was also interested), sureties for loans, and slander. He recorded the name of Cinus’s ‘preceptor’, the jurist Dynus Muxellanus (d.1300), and a reference to the jurist Pius Antonius Bartolinus, whose work was published in Bologna c.1494; the annotator probably only heard his name or did not remember it well, as he noted ‘Barolynus vel Garulynus’. The late C15 annotator glossed passages on subjects including purchases and donations, the functions of the ‘iudex’ (in Roman law, a private citizen with no magisterial authority, who presented the judgement provided by the praetor) and private buildings, also noting cross-references to Justinian’s ‘Pandectae’.

This copy bears the armorial supralibros of the royal library of Charles Theodor, Elector of Bavaria (1777-99). Founded in the mid-C16 by Duke Albrecht V, the Bibliotheca Palatina in Munich (later Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) reached 17,000 volumes by 1600 and included major collections such as that of Johann Jakob Fugger. With the secularization of Bavaria in 1803 it acquired half a million volumes from Bavarian monasteries, many of which were later sold as duplicates.

Only LC and Huntington copies (both parts) recorded in the US. H*13022; BMC I, 72; GW 7045; Goff C-697 (for parts I and II). M.A. Panzanelli-Fratoni, ‘Printing the Law in the 15th Century’, in Printing R-Evolution and Society 1450-1500 (Venice, 2020); T. Gerardy, ‘Gallizianimarke, Krone und Turm ais Wasserzeichen in grossformatigen Friihdrucken’, Gutenberg Jahrbuch 46 (1971), 11-23.
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