HOTMAN, François. [with] MYNSINGER von FRUNDECK, Joachim.


HOTMAN, François. [with] MYNSINGER von FRUNDECK, Joachim. Vetus-renovatus commentarius in quatuor libros Institutionvm iuris civilis. [with] Apotelesma, hoc est corpus perfectum scholiorum.

Lyon, Helmstedt, Apud Antonium Candidum, ex officina Iacobi Lucii, [1588], 1588


Large folio. 2 works in one, pp. (xii) 525 (xix), (xl) 704 (ccxxiv). Roman letter, some Italic, occasional Greek. T-ps in red and black with printer’s woodcut devices; author’s woodcut portrait to verso of second, his large woodcut arms to 8, and large woodcut printer’s device to last; woodcut initials and ornaments. Minimal toning, I: very light water stain to upper blank margin of early gatherings, small tear from upper outer blank corner of i1, II: marginal ink splash to verso of H4 just touching side note, the odd spot, small tear to three upper edges, light water stain to upper outer corner towards end. Very good copies in contemporary Saxon pigskin, triple blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll of tendrils and small heads within roundels, second with blind roll of interlacing palmettes, third with blind-stamped full female figures of Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence and Temperance (some signed FH), centre panel bordered by blind rolls of palmettes and tendrils, elaborate blind-stamped armorial centrepieces (signed GK) of Christian I, Elector of Saxony (upper) and Johann Georg, Elector of Brandenburg (verso), diagonally striped, raised bands, corners a bit bumped and worn, covers a little soiled. Ms. casemarks to front pastedown, C18 ‘1 Julii 1717’ to first t-p.

In a solid, handsome pigskin binding. The centrepieces are signed G.K. (Georg d. Ä. Kammerberger, EBDB w000435 and Haebler I 221-225). ‘The Kammerbergers were a family of bookbinders, whose workshops in Wittenberg were active during a large part of the C16 and throughout the C17 century. The company probably flourished under Georg Kammerberger the Younger in the 1590s, who was elected Master of the Guild in 1592’ (Haebler). This binding is stamped with the finely cut arms of Christian I, Elector of Saxony, and those of Johann Georg, Elector of Brandenburg. Christian I married Sophie of Brandenburg, Johann Georg’s daughter, in 1586; after her husband’s death in 1591, she became Regent (Sophia Electrix) during the minority of their son, until 1600. Given that, during the Regency, her personal arms were used in escutcheons and medals, this binding was probably produced for her library in the preceding years, with the Saxon and Brandenburg arms identifying her status as wife and daughter.

Two important commentaries to Justinian’s ‘Institutiones’—a cornerstone of the Western legal system. Justinian I (482-565) ruled for forty years over the Byzantine empire and succeeded in temporarily rekindling the former splendour of Rome by reclaiming Italy, Dalmatia and Spain from the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. ‘Institutiones’ is part of his ‘Corpus iuris civilis’, the first codification of Roman law. Based on the ‘Institutiones’ of Gaius, and other authorities, including Ulpian, it is a compendium of the basic institutions of Roman law devised by Theophilus and Dorotheus, two Byzantine law professors, under the supervision of Tribonian. François Hotman (1524-90) was a French Protestant lawyer associated with the anti-absolutist faction. In his revolutionary ‘Anti-Tribonian’, he advocated the substitution, in France, of Roman law based on Justinian, a change the king could have enforced with a legislative act. With a philological approach, he ‘favoured an alliance between law and history in order to distinguish between “old law” and “new law”, that is, between obsolete law and authoritative law’, being concerned with ‘salvaging what still had practical value’ among Roman laws (Kelley, ‘François Hotman’, 189). His ‘Commentarius’, also featuring a life of Justinian, sought to highlight Roman laws still relevant to the present, distinguishing originals and interpolations by later jurists, including the berated Tribonian. Joachim Mynsinger von Frundeck (1514-88) was a German jurist and writer, a judge at the Imperial Chamber of Justice in Speyer and later Vice-Chancellor of Helmstedt University. He was the first to publish documents of the so-called ‘cameralistic jurisprudence’, the decisions of the Imperial Chamber based on confidential consultation. Here in a scarce German edition, ‘Apotelesma’ was organised ‘in the form of “glossae” or annotations to single passages in the text, accompanied by brief comments. (Padoa-Schioppa, ‘History’, 269). Subjects include the laws relating to agriculture, wills, evidence, landed property and inheritance.

I: Baudrier XII, 484. Not in BM STC Fr. or Brunet.II: No copies recorded in the US.BM STC Ger., p.746 (1563 ed.). Not in Graesse. A. Padoa-Schioppa, A History of Law in Europe (Cambridge, 2017); D.R. Kelley, François Hotman (Princeton, 1973).

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