Statuta Patavina.Venice, per Guglielmo da Fontaneto sumptibus Girolamo Giberti, 1528
Folio. ff. 6 inserted blanks, (xxiv) 142, 20 inserted blanks. Roman letter, t-p in red and black within woodcut cartouche surrounded by foliage, attractive printer’s device to centre; another within woodcut border with putti, grotesques, urns and foliage; decorated initials. T-p slightly browned with early repair to lower margin, first gathering a bit thumbed, ink burn to fol. xvi touching a few letters, occasional small marginal water stains, two tiny wormholes to first few gatherings, slight browning to a few ll. A very good, clean, well-margined copy in contemporary Italian (probably Veneto) goatskin, three of four clasps, fine brass bosses, corner and centre pieces. Blind-tooled to a triple-ruled panel design, outer border with floral branches, second with vine leaves and rosettes, third with cross-hatched central panel with stamped title and vine leaf to each corner. Spine in six compartments, triple-ruled cross- hatched decoration, raised bands, joints a bit cracked, ms binding material just visible within. Occasional early marginalia in red crayon and black ink.
The remarkable binding, with very fine brass bosses, clasps, corner and centre pieces, resembles bindings produced in the Veneto in the late C15 influenced by the contemporary Venetian style (de Marinis II, 1556, 1592).
A very good, crisp copy of this uncommon second edition of the ‘Statuta Patavina’, the legislative corpus of the city of Padua, based on the Roman ‘ius commune’. First published in Vicenza in 1482, the ‘Statuta’ was reprinted in 1528 with revisions by Bartolomeo Abborario, jurist and professor of law, and dedicated to Leonardo Aymo, the ‘potestas’ of Padua appointed by the Republic of Venice. Like all other medieval and Renaissance civic statutes in Italy, it encompassed decrees on criminal, civil, tax, estate, agricultural and commercial law first codified in the early thirteenth century, when Padua gained a solid political and civic status, and later revised or integrated during the rule of the Ezzelini, the Carraresi and, after 1405, the Serenissima. The extensive table of contents is divided into broad sections—e.g., types of cases and procedures in civil courts, obligations for debt and usury, or the purchase of goods and estates in the district of Padua. Following the structure of juridical manuals, each section details regulations concerning specific circumstances within its area of interest: e.g., the non-validity in civil courts of legal documents styled on ‘charta bombicina’ (cotton or silk paper), situations in which contracts are considered fraudulent or novices entering monasteries may or may not purchase goods. As customary in civic statutes, criminal law and punishment seeking to control the social order played a crucial part, with long sections devoted to prisons, fugitives, the office of the ‘iudex maleficiorum’ and criminal procedures for offences like murder, manslaughter, verbal abuse of the wounded and religious, blasphemy, adultery, vagrancy, prostitution, incest, rape, theft, arson and false testimony.Only Harvard and Wisconsin at Madison copies recorded in the US.BM STC It., p. 483; USTC 846009.