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    A Superb Thirteenth-Century Italian Manuscript on Vellum of the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX

    Gregory IX, Pope (1227-1241). Decretales Gregorii Papæ IX. [Decretals of Pope Gregory IX, with the Gloss of Bernard of Parma, in Latin, Manuscript on Vellum. Italy (probably Bologna), second half of the thirteenth century].

    Folio (12.3125 x 8.1875 inches; 313 x 208 mm.). 316 (of 318) vellum leaves of text, plus two leaves at front (a later inserted title leaf on thick vellum and a table of contents leaf in a later hand on contemporary vellum) and two flyleaves at back (one later medieval paper and one contemporary vellum, both containing early ink ownership inscriptions and annotations). Thirty-two gatherings, mostly of ten leaves: i8 ii-xxvi10 xxvii8 (lacking the bifolium 1 and 10) xxviii-xxxii10. Horizontal catchwords in faint brown ink within rectangular frames at the foot of the verso of the final leaf of each gathering (sometimes partially cropped). There are two sets of early ink foliation in arabic numerals, both faulty: one very faint in the upper right corner of the recto of each leaf and including the titula caption (1-6, 8-46, 46-258, 260-267, 269-281, 283-319), and one (followed here) in the lower outer corner of the recto of each leaf (1-258, 260-267, 269-316, 318-319). Lacking fols. 259 (with text missing from Book V, Title III De simonia, Chapters XXXI and XXXII; fol. 258v ending "de notoriis excessibus taceatur" followed by "nunciavit mundo. erat de symonia" on 260r) and 268 (with text missing from Book V, Title VII De haeritis, Chapters XI-XIII; fol. 267v ending "credentibus fautoribus vel defen" followed by "autem et inducantur et si necesse fuerit" on 269r), otherwise apparently complete. Contents: fols. 1r-78v: Book I De judice; fols. 78v-149r: Book II De judiciis; fols. 149r-225r: Book III De vita et de honestate clericorum; fols. 225r-249v: Book IV De sponsalibus et matrimoniis; fols. 249v-319v: Book V De actionibus et inquisitionibus et denunciatoribus.

    The text is written in dark brown ink in a small neat rounded gothic bookhand (not as round and compressed as littera bononiensis), with headings (incipits and titula captions) in red, in two columns of thirty-six lines (written space: 5.25 x 3.25 inches; 134 x 82 mm.), between thirty-seven horizontals and five verticals ruled in blind or faint plummet, the text beginning below the top line. Prickings visible at the outer edge of most leaves and occasionally in the upper margin. Running-titles in red and blue, with the letter "L" (for "Liber") on the verso of each leaf and the book number on the recto of each leaf in alternating red and blue roman numerals, with penwork flourishes. Five large column-width decorative book openings formed of the name "Gregorius" in typical Bolognese red and blue display lettering with red and blue penwork (five-line on fol. 1r, seven-line on fol. 78v, eight-line on fol. 139r, six-line on fols. 225r and 239v), each beginning with a large painted initial "G" in either blue or dark red with white tracery against a contrasting dark red or blue roughly rectangular ground with white tracery, enclosing curling vines with leaves in contrasting colors and issuing from or incorporating human or animal heads. The opening initial for Book I is rubbed and has been crudely recolored, the opening initial for Book IV is rubbed, with some loss of pigment. Two- and three-line chapter initials in the margins in alternating red and blue with contrasting penwork, one-line initials (marking the phrases which identify the pope from whom the decree had come) and occasional paragraph marks in the text in alternating red and blue. Tiny ink guide letters are visible for the initials.

    The gloss surrounding the text is of different measures (up to 106 lines) written in varying shades of brown ink in a much smaller and highly abbreviated glossing script on an independent ruling of faint plummet or brown ink. There are one-line initials in the margins in red and blue (linking the gloss to the corresponding chapter initial in the text, but not necessarily of the same color), one-line paragraph marks in red and blue (not always alternating), and lemmata underlined in red or brown ink. On fols. 1r and 2r there are variant (long-s) paragraph marks. The gloss has been additionally keyed to the text by later hands in brown and black ink using various systems: alphabetical keying characteristic to Italian manuscripts, series of dashes and dots or circles, and various other symbols, sometimes more than one system on a page. The gloss itself has been glossed, with additional keying systems, and there are extensive interlinear and marginal ink annotations and corrections and additions in several different medieval hands, numerous marginal drawings (including liturgical vessels on fol. 217r; a galero, or tasseled cardinal's hat on fol. 51r; a Roman Centurian helmet on fol. 116r), manicules, or pointing hands, sometimes as extensions of heads or other shapes, and diagrams (fols. 180v, 181r, and 279v) in several different hands, some with yellow wash. An early hand has written the tituli captions at the foot of the page on which they begin. Several passages, mainly in the gloss, have been heavily inked out, especially at the beginning (on the recto of the contents leaf and on fol. 1r) and in a few other places in the text (fols. 146v and 147r). In other places, passages in the gloss and annotations have been washed off (fols. 145v and 146r) or erased by later readers.

    The inserted title leaf is on thick vellum with the title written in red ink in large roman capitals underlined in blue, with decoration in red and blue, and with a thick rule border of red and blue. The contents leaf is written in brown and red ink in a later hand, and is signed at the end, with the jingle "Scriptor scripsisset melius si potuisset" ("The scribe would have written better if he could have") followed by "Deo gratias," and the initials: "n [decoration] n." The contents leaf and final flyleaf are possibly original flyleaves, both are on stubs and the final flyleaf has the early ink foliation "321" in the upper right corner of the recto, suggesting that a vellum flyleaf preceding it was removed and replaced with the paper leaf. No pecia marks are apparent.

    Bound in eighteenth-century French sheep. Covers with blind double-rule border, spine in seven compartments with six raised bands, decoratively tooled in gilt in a floral design in six compartments and with a burgundy morocco gilt lettering label in the remaining compartment, board edges decoratively tooled in gilt, marbled endpapers (French curl, or snail, pattern). Ribbon marker at fol. 225. The binding is rubbed and worn, the joints are tender and starting to split at head and tail, there is worming in the top and bottom spine compartments, and a few small stains to the top edge. This manuscript shows signs of considerable use over several centuries, with occasional staining and soiling. There is minor worming at the beginning (to the contents leaf and fols. 1-2) and end (fols. 309-317), occasionally affecting a letter or two. Several leaves have cockling cuts or tears, some stitched together with red thread. A small portion of the lower corner of fol. 1 has been renewed with vellum, affecting a few words in the gloss, the lower blank corner of fols. 178 and 216 have been renewed with vellum, and fol. 178 has been additionally strengthened in the outer margin with ruled paper, fols. 135 and 236 have been repaired in the outer margin, fol. 193 is torn across, the lower blank corner of fol. 312 has been cut away, and a small piece has been cut from the lower blank margin of fol. 316. The lower corner of the final flyleaf has been reinforced at the outer margin and has an early stitched tear in the upper margin. There are natural vellum flaws or holes in several leaves, some marginal and some with the text or gloss written around them.

    Despite the large number of Decretal manuscripts produced, few substantially complete copies remain in private hands, and only about five copies have sold at auction in the last thirty years. Although this manuscript was not an expensive production (most likely intended for the use of canonists), as evidenced by the almost purely calligraphic decoration and lack of illuminated initials or miniatures, it is a remarkable example, having survived considerable use over several centuries, and with a long and fascinating provenance. The extensive medieval annotations and added glosses provide a wealth of evidence about the study and interpretation of canon law.

    This manuscript is from the Middle Hill Library of Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), with his ink lion crest stamp on the front flyleaf: "Sir T. P. / Middle Hill / 3960," ink inscription on the verso of the front free endpaper: "3960 / MSS. Ph.," ink inscription at the head of the title: "Phillipps MS / 3960," and remains of a small paper label with the manuscript number on the spine. On p. 55 of the catalogue of his collection (The Phillipps Manuscripts: Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum in bibliotheca D. Thomæ Phillipps, Bt., Impressum Typis Medio-Montanis, 1837-1871. With an Introduction by A. N. L. Munby...London: The Holland Press, [1968]), Phillipps listed this manuscript under the heading "Incerti" ("Uncertain"), which includes manuscripts 3941 through 3975, with the note: "At the end are Biographical Notes respecting some of the Lecturers on the Laws at Ferrara and Bologna." A. N. L. Munby writes in his introduction to the catalogue: "With regard to Phillipps's sources of acquisition, he attached many headings, some of them very cryptic, to blocks of manuscripts throughout his catalogue; and I have endeavoured to expand and elucidate these headings in two long appendices to my Phillipps Studies (No. 3, pp. 143-169 and No. 4, pp. 172-211) to which enquirers are referred." Unfortunately, no additional provenance information is provided for manuscripts 3941 through 3975 on p. 154 of his Phillipps Studies No. 3: The Formation of the Phillipps Library up to the Year 1840.

    This manuscript appeared as Lot 516 in the 27 April-2 May, 1903, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge sale, Bibliotheca Phillippica. Catalogue of a Further Portion of the Classical, Historical, Topographical, Genealogical and Other Manuscripts & Autograph Letters, of the Late Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart. F.R.S. etc. Of Middle Hill, Worcstershire, and Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham: "Gregorii Decretales, cum glossa, manuscript of the thirteenth century, beautifully written in double columns, on fine vellum, coloured capitals, and a marginal commentary, calf folio. XIII Cent. In the fifteenth century this MS. belonged to Guigo de Feysigmato, Doctor of Law, and at the end of the volume are biographical notes on various professors at the Italian universities, &c." It appeared again as Lot 32 in the 28 and 29 July 1904, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge sale, Catalogue of Valuable and Rare Books and Manuscripts including a Selection from the Library of W. Le Queux, Esq. and Other Collections.

    On the two flyleaves at the end are several early ink ownership inscriptions, some erased and some inked out. On the first paper flyleaf are two fifteenth-century inscriptions by Guigo de Feysigniaco, or Guy de Feysigny (d. 1465), Doctor of Law, son of Rodulphi de Feysigniaco, or Rodolphe de Feysigny. Another inscription records Guy passing the manuscript on to his son Petro de Feysigniaco, or Pierre de Feysigny. After receiving his Doctor of Law, Guy de Fesigny returned to his native Savoy, where he served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at Chambéry. His decapitation in 1465 by Jacques de Montmayeur has become a part of the folklore of the Savoy. The story of his demise is recounted by François Mugnier in Orgueil féodal: Guy de Feysigny et Jacques de Montmayeur (Paris: H. Champion, 1894). Other inscriptions include that of Johannes de Orliaco, or Jean d'Orliac, also of Savoy. Orliaco, who had come from St. Anthony's convent in Ferrrara, was preceptor of the monastery of the Antonite order in Isenheim, Alsace, from 1466 until 1490 and was responsible for commissioning Martin Schongauer to paint an altarpiece in 1475.

    The Decretals of Gregory IX became the fundamental text of canon law. In 1230, Pope Gregory IX ordered his confessor, the Dominican Raymond of Peñaforte (Raymund of Pennafort) to prepare a new canonical collection. Raymond completed his task in 1234, following the method of the earlier Quinque compilationes antiquæ, borrowing from them the order of the subject matter, treating successively of jurisdiction (judex), procedure (judicium), the clergy (clerus), marriage (connubium), and deliquencies and criminal procedure (crimen), and the division into five books (liber), the subdivision of the books into 185 titles (tituli), and the titles into 1,971 chapters (capita). "This new collection synthesized and superseded the previous official ones and added decretals of Gregory IX and Innocent III. [Of the 1,971 capita, 1,771 are taken from the Quinque compilationes antiquae, 191 are due to Gregory IX himself, seven are taken from decretals of Innocent III not inserted in the former collections, and two are of unknown origin.] Though sometimes known as The Extravagants of Gregory IX (for extra vagantes, wandering outside the Decretum Gratiani) or the Liber extra (that is, extra to the Decretum), it is most commonly referred to as the Decretales of Gregorius IX. To set an official stamp on the new publication, the Pope sent it with a letter of transmission - the papal bull Rex pacificus [of 5 September 1234] - to the universities of Bologna and Paris, proclaiming it the only legitimate version and requiring that it be taught in the canon law courses. A formulaic address prefaced the bull, in which the Pope recommended his publication to the scholarly community at the various universities to which is was sent, that is: 'Gregorius episcopus servus servorum Dei, dilectis filiis doctoribus et scholaribus universis Bononiae commorantibus salutem et apostolicam benedictionem' (Gregory bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved sons, all the doctors and scholars residing at Bologna, greeting and apostolic benediction). The major universities to which the new Decretales was sent were Bologna (Bononie) and Paris (Parisius), and one can sometimes find manuscripts addressed to both Bologna and Paris at once, Parisius bononieque" (Susan L'Engle and R. Gibbs, Illuminating the Law: Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge Collections (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2001), pp. 16-17). This copy of the Decretals is addressed to the doctors and scholars of the university of Bologna (fol. 1r).

    "There could be no greater compliment to manuscript production in Bologna and Paris than this papal confidence in the publishing skills of those two universities. In fact, Bologna largely cornered the market in legal manuscripts and there were 119 civil and canon law texts on the Bolognese pecia list of the first half of the fourteenth century" (Christopher De Hamel, A History of Illuminated Manuscripts (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1997), p. 138). The Decretals of Gregory IX were supplemented by two further sets of decretals, those of Boniface VIII in 1298, called the "Sixth Book of the Decretals" (Liber sextus), and those of Clement V, published by his successor John XXII in 1317, under the title Liber septimus Decretalium, and known as the Constitutiones Clementis V or Clementinae. These three comprised the corpus of canon law (Corpus juris canonici).

    The gloss to the Decretals is that of Bolognese canonist Bernard of Parma (Bernardus Parmensis, also known as Bernard of Botone, Bernardus de Botone Parmensis (d. 1266)). Bernard studied canon law at Bologna under Tancredus, eventually becoming a canon and teaching canon law there. He integrated many glosses by Alanus, Bernardus Compostellanus Antiquus, Laurentius, Tancredus, and Vincentius into a large apparatus which quickly became accepted as the Glossa ordinaria, noting what he had taken from others, and signing his own comments "Bern." Bernard revised and rewrote this work repeatedly from 1241 until his death in 1266, resulting in at least four versions (ca. 1234-1241, 1243-1245, 1245-1253, and 1263). The gloss in this manuscript is his last version, containing the reference (on fol. 22r) to Octavian's consecration as bishop of Bologna in May 1263 (see S. Kuttner and B. Smalley, "The 'Glossa Ordinaria' to the Gregorian Decretals," English Historical Review 60 (1945), pp. 97-105).

    Afterwards, the Glossa ordinaria received many additions, especially from the Novella sive commentarius in decretales epistolas Gregorii IX of Johannes Andreae or Giovanni d'Andrea (d. 1348), identified by the prefix "Add." and the initials "Jo. Andr." at the end. The additions to this manuscript include those of Johannes Andreae, with his name appearing in a least one marginal annotation, and with "Add." often preceding annotations.

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