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Medieval manuscripts in the vernacular
My colleague at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Raymond Clemens, recently asked me for a list of the Law Library's medieval manuscripts in vernacular languages. The list is in three parts: (1) complete manuscripts, (2) facsimiles, and (3) binding fragments. You can view images from each of the items in a gallery on our Flickr site, "Medieval manuscripts in vernacular."
PART 1: COMPLETE MANUSCRIPTS
All of our complete medieval manuscripts are in Law French, the dialect used in English legal literature and common law pleading until the early 18th century. The image at right is from one of these manuscripts, a collection of case reports from the reign of Edward III known as the Liber Assisarum. Our collection has a number of manuscripts of Italian city statutes in the vernacular, but none of them are from the medieval era.
PART 2: FACSIMILES
The outstanding examples here are the four facsimiles of the medieval Saxon law code known as the Sachsenspiegel. These manuscripts are known collectively as the codices picturati (illustrated codices) because they are heavily illustrated with images designed to help the reader understand and navigate the code.
- (Church Slavic) Merilo pravednoe po rukopisi XIV veka. Moskva: Izd-vo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1961.
- (German) Vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat des Dresdner Sachsenspiegels. 4 vols. Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 2002-2011.
- (German) Der Sachsenspiegel: die Heidelberger Bilderhandschrift Cod. Pal. Germ. 164. Leipzig: Insel Verlag, 1989.
- (German) Der Oldenburger Sachsenspiegel: Codex picturatus Oldenburgensis CIM I 410 der Landesbibliothek Oldenburg. 2 vols. Graz: Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt, 2006.
- (German) Sachsenspiegel: die Wolfenbütteler Bilderhandschrift Cod. Guelf. 3.1 Aug. 2̊. 3 vols. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1993.
- (Irish) Ancient laws of Ireland: Senchas mar, facsimile of the oldest fragments from ms. H.2.15 in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. Dublin: Stationery Office of Saorstát Éireann, 1931.
- (Old Norse) Fragment AM 315 E of the older Gulathing law: from an old Norwegian codex of the XIIIth century with facsimile and introduction. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1928.
- (Portuguese & Spanish) Portugal. Tratados de Tordesillas. Madrid: Testimonio, 1986-1990.
- (Swedish) Wästgotha lagben. [Stockholm: s.n., 1889]. Facsimile of MS. B 59 in Kungliga biblioteket, Stockholm.
- (Welsh) Facsimile of the Chirk codex of the Welsh laws. Llanbedrog, N. Wales: [s.n.], 1909.
PART 3: BINDING FRAGMENTS
These fragments were recycled as binding materials. Several of them were featured in our Spring 2010 exhibit, "Reused, Rebound, Recovered: Medieval Manuscript Fragments in Law Book Bindings." We have two Flickr galleries devoted to manuscript binding fragments: "Medieval binding fragments," with 189 images, and a subset of these, "Medieval binding fragments - legal texts," with 33 images.
- (French) Fragment: French, perhaps a deed of sale for a piece of property, ca. 1475-1525; used as a wrapper. Medieval Manuscripts in Law Book Bindings, no. 20. Found in: Giovanni Battista Caccialupi, De pensionibus (Rome, 1531).
- (German) Fragment: Cover is half stamped leather and half manuscript fragment, from a 13th-14th century manuscript of the Sachsenspiegel, marked with red initials. Found in: Angelo Gambiglioni, De maleficiis (Lyon, 1551).
- (Hebrew) Fragment: Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah / Vidal of Tolosa’s Maggid Mishne, ca. 1300-1500. Medieval Manuscripts in Law Book Bindings, no. 19. Found in: Milan (Duchy), Constitutiones dominii mediolanensis (Novara, 1567).
- (Hebrew) Fragment: Mahzor, c. 1300-1500. Medieval Manuscripts in Law Book Bindings, no. 9. Found in: Robert Parsons, Elizabethae reginae Angliae edictum promulgatum Londini 29. Nouemb. anni M.D. XCI. (Rome?, 1593).
-- MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian
Association of the Bar collections are finished!
Another cataloging milestone to report... All of the collections that the Lillian Goldman Law Library acquired from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) are now completely cataloged in our online catalog, MORRIS. The Roman-Canon Law Collection was completely cataloged in 2008. This fall, cataloging on the two remaining collections was completed. These collections are:
- The German Law Collection of the ABCNY (678 titles in 856 volumes). The collection arrived in September 2007. Fourteen of the titles are the only North American copies reported in OCLC, including the oldest: Ludwig Fruck's Teutsch Formular (Strassburg, 1529). Another, Civitatum Hanseaticarum Ordinatio nautica et jus maritimum (Hamburg?, 1660?), the maritime laws of the Hanseatic League, is an apparently unrecorded edition. Well over 500 of the titles were part of the law library of Konrad von Maurer (1823-1902), a leading historian of early Germanic and Nordic law.
- The Foreign Law Collection of the ABCNY (186 titles in 271 volumes). This collection was acquired in October 2008, as part of a cooperative effort with the Jacob Burns Law Library, George Washington University. The collection's title hints at its eclectic contents. It contains significant holdings of Italian, Flemish, Dutch, and Spanish law, additional titles in Roman, canon, and German law, and law books from jurisdictions as diverse as France, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Ireland, and Bengal. There are some truly rare books here. The OCLC database reports only one other copy of the 1530 edition of the Practica Papiensis printed in Lyon by Fradin (Berlin State Library), and the 1507 Cologne edition of Petrus Ravennas's Compendium juris pontificii (Columbia University). One of my favorites is pictured below, Johannes Buno's Memoriale Institutionum juris (Ratzeburg, 1672), a textbook on Justinian's Institutes that employs a complex system of illustrated memory aids.
Thanks to the Law Library's outstanding cataloger, Susan Karpuk, for her fine work. Thanks again to the Yale Law School's Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund for funding these acquisitions.
-- MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian
Source: Johannes Buno (1617-1697), Memoriale Institutionum juris (Ratzeburg, 1672); from the Foreign Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Philosophizing on Bobbleheads
Mark Weiner has posted a video on his Worlds of Law blog, which features our Supreme Court Bobblhead Collection. In “A Philosophical Reflection on Judicial Bobbleheads”, Weiner uses the bobbleheads as a point of departure for a comparison between the judiciary in the U.S. and Germany. You can also view the video on YouTube.
The cataloging of our Bobblehead Doll Collection was completed just this week, and Mark Weiner's video is a direct result. You can browse the entire collection via the record for the Bobblehead Doll Collection in our online catalog, MORRIS. In addition, the records for the Supreme Court Bobbleheads feature thumbnail images (like the one shown here) derived from the "Annotated Bobbleheads" on the website of The Green Bag, the "journal of entertaining law" that issues the bobbleheads.
Thanks to Mark Weiner for the video, to our cataloger Susan Karpuk for her fine cataloging, to Mary Jane Kelsey (Associate Librarian for Technical Services) for linking the thumbnail images, and to Ross Davies, editor of The Green Bag, for designating the Lillian Goldman Law Library as the official Supreme Court Bobblehead archive.
-- MIKE WIDENER
Rare Book Librarian
The newest Flickr galleries
There are two new sets in the Rare Book Collection's Flickr gallery...
Justitia - headpieces is part of my continuing pursuit of images of Lady Justice (or Justitia). This set contains images of Lady Justice found in headpieces, which are defined as "A type-ornament or vignette at the head of a chapter or division of the book" (ABC for Book Collectors). The example above comes from volume 1 of Capitularia regum Francorum (2 vols.; Paris, 1780).
Bambergensis 1580 contains all the illustrations from the 1580 edition of the Bambergische peinliche Halszgerichtszordnung. We acquired the volume in 2008 from Jeffrey D. Mancevice Rare Books, who described the book as "one of the most beautifully illustrated law books of the 16th century." Also known as the Bambergensis constitutio criminalis, this criminal code was compiled by Johann von Schwarzenberg (1463-1528). We also own the first edition, printed at Mainz in 1508. Mancevice continues: "The fine text woodcuts which first appeared in the 1507 edition are by Fritz Hammer after drawings by Hans Wolf Katzheimer (according to the NUC) with the exception of three which were recut for this edition. The woodcuts are also attributed to Wolf Traut (ca. 1486-1520). Among the fine full-page woodcuts [is] a charming woodcut of seven people at a meal, each with an emblem of punishment above their heads (two appear to be playing cards)"; this is the woodcut shown below.
With apologies for my extended absence...
Rare Book Librarian