Manuscripta juridica

[Principal Investigator: G. R. Dolezalek]

Digesta - Digestum vetus


  • Justinianus imperator


  • necessarium\ sit\ maxime\

Digesta - Digestum vetus . Italy, second half of the 12th century. Typical Italian handwriting of the time, and typical decoration with couloured initial letters red and blue. Inscriptions are shortened to the respective jurist's name and 'libro'. In various places gaps in the original text were filled and wording was standardised according to readings of the preserved 6th century manuscript now at Florence. This was in part done soon after (e.g. fol. 170va, 212va, 213va, all three in the outer margin), but in most instances it occurred decades later, by erasing existing text and replacing it by new text (mostly longer), in dark black ink - thus the colour fashionable between 1180 and 1220 (e.g. fol. 21vb, 24va, 26rb and vb, 32vb, 43va-vb, 44rb, 48va, 92rb, 100rb, 145vb, 156rb).

In some instances the scribe copied text in wrong order. At the end of fol. 112, D.10.4.2 is written before D.10.4.1. On fol. 126rb the scribe arrived at D.12.2.28 and copied it up to the words 'interpositum est iusiurandum'. He then accidently skipped to D. 'non potest rem que non extat' and continued up to D.12.4.4 'ut expromissorem da' (end of fol. 126vb). On fol. 127-128 the scribe made good for the loss. He started over at the beginning of D.12.2.28 and continued to the end of D.12.3.5 (end of fol. 128vb). Thereafter readers are told to go back to the faulty spot on fol. 126rb and read from there to that sheet's end. Fol. 129 then continues the interrupted text of D.12.4.4 'ret, nec ille det'.

Shortly after the text was accomplished, a chain of 'Red Signs' was added along the outer margins of the text columns. Such signs mark specific wording which recurs higher up (then the sign is accompanied by a dot at the left side) or further down (sign accompanied by a dot on the right side) - as described in an article by Dolezalek / Weigand 'Das Geheimnis der Roten Zeichen', ZRG RA 100. Chains of 'Red Signs' were fashionable in the third quarter of the 12th century and died out soon after.

Also still in Italy in the 12th century, the manuscript received several layers of glosses. They are described further down.

In the 13th century the manuscript went to France. A French artist painted at the beginning of each title an initial letter with decoration in Parisian style (blue and red and gold). In order to endow the manuscript with what had by now become the standard gloss ('Glossa ordinaria', by Accursius), each sheet's three outer margins were cut off (because they obviously had dense layers of 12th century glosses which could not easily be erased). Three stripes of blank parchment (or almost blank parchment) were then glued to the remaining rims, and the Accursian apparatus was written onto these reglued rims, in the layout which was fashionable in France in the 13th century. The glueing was done very skilfully. Along edges where parchment had to be glued upon other parchment, such edges were rasped thinner so that one can hardly notice a step between the text columns and the parchment glued on. The thinning is evident on fol. 119rb where it effected that two coloured characters of fol. 119va can now be seen through the thinned parchment.

Some of the glued-on stripes of parchment were taken from new material. This is evident where the hair-grain of glued-on parchment differs from grain in the text columns (e.g. fol. 119r). In other instances, however, the cut-off margins were just thoroughly washed (and at places rasped) and thereafter re-glued to their original place. Evidence for this procedure can be sampled from remnants of 12th century handwriting on such re-glued stripes of parchment: thus an old translation of a text passage in Greek (fol. 170va: D., old supplements of skipped text (e.g. fol. 130va, 131rb, 140va, 144rb, 155rb), and quite frequently 'notabilia' which were deliberately spared from washing-rasping because they were decoratively written (e.g. fol. 35rb, 37rb, 43rb, 44rb, 56va, 95va, 97rb-98rb, 108rb-va, 109va, 112rb-115va, 117rb-va, 120va, 122va, 139va, 156r-va, 159rb, 160rb, 161va, 165rb, 173va, 174va, 176rb-va, 177va, 178va, 182rb-va, 184rb, 186rb-va, 187va-190rb etc.), seldom other glosses (e.g. fol. 111rb, 161rb, 186rb infra, 189rb infra).

In contrast, what on many pages might appear to be remnants of 12th century signs formed from dashes and dots (fashionable in pre-accursian times to connect glosses to the corresponding words in the text) can usually be shown to be worn-off combinations of dashes and dots which belong to the accursian apparatus.

Pencil numbering of sheets occurred in the twentieth century, reaching number 241, but 34 sheets were lost after this numbering was done. One sheet had already been cut away before the numbering in pencil occurred (stub visible after fol. 149). Pencil numbers were erased on fol. 1-5 but are left intact from fol. 6 onward. The plundered sheets were in a few instances entire double sheets (e.g. fol. 115 plus 122 and fol. 116 plus 121, outermost two biniones of quaternio nr. xv). In most other instances, however, only single sheets was plundered, and the respective partner sheet was so skilfully glued on that no stub of the disappeared sheet could be seen (exeptions: stubs of fol. 221 and 233 are visible).

Enigmatic count in pencil on the lower margin of fol. 123r: '90'.

Still in the 13th century the MS was for some time in the hands of a Briton. He penned notes in small handwriting in dark brown ink, often with siglum "Jo.", and several repetitiones and other texts which at times have considerable length. On fol. 52 rb infra he even penned a long text before the Glossa ordinaria was entered into the MS. The same happened fol. 133v, 137r-v, 138v.

Yet another Briton of the 13th century entered notes and some long texts into the MS, heavily abridged. He used light ink, therefore in part badly faded (see in particular fol. 4r-5v infra, 104v infra, fol. 156-159).

Many large drawings. Fol. 151rb a person. Fol. 187rb a gallow with a hanged thief or robber, with writing 'Fur, latro'. Fol. 191rb: a goat with a herder and an armed person (probably a robber), to illustrate the text D. 'Si capras latrones citra tuam fraudem abegisse probari potest iudicio locati, casum praestare non cogeris'. Fol. 192rb: a vat and the head of a person looking at the vat, to illustrate the text of D. 'Si quis dolia vitiosa ignarus locaverit, deinde vinum effluxerit, tenebitur in id quod interest'. Fol. 194rb a beautiful person. Fol. 200va and 201rb: persons. Fol. 213rb: a similar person (large) is shown hovering above a small table.

Fascicles: almost all are quaterniones. No reclamants. Fascicles were numbered at lower rim of first page, in Roman numerals - at times not preserved, probably trimmed away when volume was bound.

Fol. 3 is missing (start book 1), 4 starts D. medies 'in civitate sumum uti leges corrigerent', 5, 6, thread (parchment underlaid), 7, 8, 9 ends D.1.7.44 'futura esse. Sed si sic', 10 is missing (partner of fol. 3).

Fol. 11-18 are missing (start book 2) (missing one entire quaternio).

Fol. 19 starts D. 'ad iudicium aliquid pronuntiaverit', 20, 21, 22, thread (parchment underlaid), 23, 24, 25, 26.

Fol. 27 ends D.2.15.16 'poenam, quam, si contra pla', 28-29 missing (start book 3), 30 starts D.3.2.9pr. 'Ulp. lib. Genero', thread (parchment underlaid), 31, 32, 33 ends D.3.3.72 'fieri, ut inter', 34 missing.

Fol. 35 starts D. 'eius quod gessit', 36, 37, 38 ends D. 'sororis negotia id fe', thread (parchment underlaid), 39-40 missing (start book 4), 41 starts D. 'nec personam vim facientis', 42.

Fol. 43, 44, 45, 46, thread (parchment underlaid), 47, 48, 49 ends D.4.5.3pr. 'cum familiam mu', 50 missing.

Fol. 51 starts D.4.6.16 'impeditis', 52, 53, 54, thread (parchment underlaid), 55, 56 ends D.4.8.39pr. 'adversario dare', 57-58 missing (start book 5).

Fol. 59 starts D. 'In omnibus autem', 60, 61, 62, thread (parchment underlaid), 63, 64, 65, 66.

Fol. 67 = viiii, 68, 69, 70 ends D.5.4.4 'Et si pauciores fuerint', thread (parchment underlaid), 71 missing (start book 6), 72 starts D. 'non possit, ut puta', 73, 74.

Fol. 75 = x ends D.6.2.91 'depositam vel sibi', 76 missing (start of book 7), 77 starts D. 'cumque edium sunt', 78, thread (parchment underlaid), 79, 80 ends D.7.1.60pr. 'tempore alio casu', 81-82 missing.

Fol. 83 = xi starts D. 'positum, rem mutari', 84 ends D. 'qui agat. Nam', 85 missing, 86 starts D.7.8.14 'si ex re mea', thread (parchment underlaid), 87 missing (start book 8), 88 starts D.8.2.1pr. 'Si intercedat', 89, 90.

Fol. 91 = xii, 92, 93, 94, thread (parchment underlaid), 95 ends D.9.1 Rubrica, 96 missing (start book 9), 97 starts D.9.2.7pr. 'propter vitiatum', 98.

Fol. 99 = xiii, 100, 101, 102, thread, 103, 104 ends D.9.4.33 'sed carere debet', 105 missing (start book 10), 106 starts D.10.1.7 'ita scriptum est'.

Fol. 107 = xiiii, 108, 109 ends D.10.2.48 'actum sit et unus', 110 missing, thread (parchment underlaid), 111 starts D. 'do iudicio, quia', 112 (at the end, wrong order D.10.4.2, D.10.4.1), 113, 114 ends with colophon after end of book 10.

Fol. 115-116 missing (start book 11), 117 starts D. 'nex extinguitur' and ends D.11.4.2 'coerceri solent', 118 missing, thread (parchment underlaid), 119 starts D. 'paret de domino eum', 120 ends D.11.7.28 'aut heredes eius muli', 121-122 missing (start book 12).

Fol. 123 starts D. 'recte non amplius', 124, 125, 126, 127, thread (parchment underlaid), 128 ends after D. 'non extat' with a remark: 'Volve hic folium et duo precedencia, et lege hic legem illam: Alias si ex stipulatu. Et omnes sequentes usque ad illam: Duobus reis'. Thereafter fol. 129, 130, 131.

Fol. 132, 133, 134, 135, thread (parchment underlaid), 136, 137, 138, 139.

Fol. 140, 141 ends D.13.7.34 'esset, ut distraheret id creditor, quia pecuniam non ab isto Sempronio', 142 missing (start of book 14), 143 starts D. 'cepit quasi in navem', 144, thread (parchment underlaid), 145, 146, 147, 148 ends D. 'acceptam patri in', 149 missing (start book 15) (quinio).

Fol. 149a cut off (stub visible), 150 starts D. 'iussorem usurum et', 151, 152, thread (parchment underlaid), 153, 154, 155, 156 ends D. 'spopondit, posse nihilo.

Fol. 157 missing (start book 16), 158 starts D. 'factas Iulianus', 159, 160, thread (parchment underlaid), 161, 162, 163 ends D.16.3.32 'diligentiam prestabit', 164 missing (start book 17).

Fol. 165 starts D. 'Si liber homo', 166, 167, 168, thread (parchment underlaid), 169, 170, 171, 172.

Fol. 173 = xxii, 174 ends D.17.2.76 'mecum coisti', 175 missing (start book 18), 176 starts D. 'si pluris', thread (parchment underlaid), 177, 178, 179, 180 ends D.18.2.19 'Nam quamvis'.

Fol. 181 = xxiii is today Robbins MS Fragment 1 nr. 1, 182 starts D., 183, 184 ends D.18.7.1 'Si fuerit', thread (parchment underlaid), 185 missing (start book 19), 186 starts D.19.1.5pr. 'sit et vendiderit', 187, 188.

Fol. 189 = xxiiii, 190, 191, 192, thread (parchment underlaid), 193, 194 ends D.19.2.27 'congestio, sed h', 195 missing, 196 starts D. 'At cum do' and ends D. 'repetitio erit'.

Fol. 197 missing (start book 20), 198 starts D.20.1.5pr. 'Res hypothecae', 199, 200, thread (parchment underlaid), 201, 202, 203 ends D. 'eius vendiderit', 204 missing (start book 21 and partner of fol. 197).

Fol. 205 = xxvi starts D. 'vis aliquando quis', 206, 207, 208, thread (parchment underlaid), 209, 210, 211, 212.

Fol. 213 = xxvii, 214 ends D.21.2.75 'ob evictionem teneri', 215 missing (start book 22), 216 starts D. 'si minores ad diem', thread (parchment underlaid), 217 ends D.22.1.43, 218 is now Robbings MS Fragment 1, 219 starts D.22.3.16 'filiorum recipitur', 220 ends D.D. 'lux veritatis asistit'.

Fol. 221 missing (start book 23, stub, with remnants of glosses), 222 starts D.23.1.9 'nuptae esse ceperit', 223, 224, thread, 225, 226, 227, 228.

Fol. 229 = xxviiii, 230, 231, 232 ends D.23.4.32pr. 'eum fundum cc. vendide', 233 missing (start book 24, stub), thread (parchment underlaid), 234 starts D.24.1.2 'liberos potius educendi', 235, 236, 237, 238 (quinio).

Fol. 239, thread, 240 (binio).

Fol. 241 Flyleaf, glued to fol. 239 recto: blank.


  • Justinianus imperator

No. of pages: Fol. 4ra-240vb medies


  • maxime sit necessarium (D.24.3.1, normal ending)

Colophon: (Small handwriting in lighter ink:) Explicit Digestum vetus optime correctum (this note is then repeated)