DE FERRARIIS, Johannes Petrus.


Practica singularis ac perutilis conspicui domini

Lyon, Jean de Vingle, 1502


4to, ff. (xii) 234. Gothic letter, double column, well-margined. White on black foliated initials. Title in red with large historiated initial. Dense marginalia throughout in Latin in several early hands, lightly trimmed affecting final letters on some pages. Light age yellowing, marginal tears and one or two tiny worm holes which touch one printed side note on a few leaves. In vellum over boards c. 1600, a.e.r.

A very good, large, richly annotated copy.

Johannes Petrus de Ferrariis was a major jurist of the 14th and 15th centuries who is believed to have written the Practica between c. 1400 and 1415. Born in Pavia c. 1364, he was from a family of jurists and graduated in law in 1388. Within three years he was prior of the College of Jurists of Pavia, an office he would hold several times. He travelled throughout Italy as well as to France and Germany, but spent the majority of his time in Milan and Lombardy.

Practica, also known as ‘Practica aurea’ or ‘Practica papiensis’, was first published in Strasbourg c. 1472. This edition comprises the original text, censored several times from 1572. The work was widespread across Europe with over 20 editions by the end of the fifteenth century. It was used as a legal textbook, as it details 73 ‘formae’ or formulae used in civil, canonistic, and criminal procedures. These describe not only the functions of the notary or jurist in each case, but relate them to the larger mechanisms of the legal system such as the Church, magistrates, and foreign powers.

This particular edition features additions from Francisco Corti, a jurist and professor of law in 15th century Pavia, and Johannes Clinzalius, a contemporary lawyer credited only in this edition and otherwise entirely unknown. This copy is notable for its extensive marginal notes throughout in early modern Latin. One likely belongs to one of the book’s first owners and on the initial page gives an author biography claiming the text to have been announced in a speech in in 1414, as well as connecting it to Theodore II, Marquis of Montferrat, a teacher and patron of de Ferrariis, who was his vicar general in 1413. Margrave of Montferrat from 1381, Theodore initially ruled under the regency of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and was succeeded by his son John Jacob Palaiologos.

Extensive marginalia throughout comment and expand upon the text, several seemingly made by a lawyer explaining what the lawyer is or should be doing in each case. Particular attention has also been paid to passages on the interactions of the Church and the legal system, even regarding non-canonical law. Another makes several small corrections to the text as well as expanding on some points. Maniculae and animals have also been added in the margins.

Adams F270. Baudrier vol. XII p.210, not BMSTC Fr C16. We have located only three further copies, at Altstadt, Regensburg, and Harvard.
Stock Number: L3896 Category: