GRATIAN (d. by c.1160), Decretum with the gloss of Bartholomew of Brescia (d.1258), in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[southern France, late 13th century]
450 x 300mm (ff.390-391 375 x 245mm). 392 leaves: 12, 2-712, 811 (of 12, lacking xii), 9-1212, 1310 (of 12, lacking viii and xii), 14-1612, 1710 (of 12, lacking i and vi), 1812, 1910 (of 12, lacking vii and xii), 20-2212, 2311 (of 12, lacking xi), 2412, 2511 (of 12, lacking ix), 2611 (of 12, lacking most of f.288 and part of f.291), 2712 (of 12, lacking xii), 28-3012, 3111 (of 12, lacking iii), 3210 (of 12, lacking i and ii), 33-3412, 352, 363 (of 4, lacking i, probably a cancelled blank), 372, catchwords survive in most quires, often accompanied by a marginal drawing, leaf signatures a-z, followed by tironian et, and a-h with a line above, foliated in 19th/20th-century pencil 1-301, 301bis, 302-391, written in dark brown and paler brown ink in a fine regular rounded 'Bolognese' gothic script, rubrics in red, the main text written in two columns of varying numbers of lines and of varying justification, usually surrounded on all four sides by gloss, also variable, there is no gloss on ff.342v-345v, and ff.347v-348v, 386r-v, and 389 are blank, the main text with two-line initials in blue with red penwork, and one-line initials either all in red with purple penwork, or alternately red with purple penwork and blue with red penwork, the gloss with two-line initials alternately red with purple penwork or blue with red penwork, the beginnings of causae with foliate INITIALS ON GOLD BACKGROUNDS UP TO EIGHT LINES HIGH, the beginnings of the equivalent glosses with similar smaller initials, TWENTY-THREE COLUMN-WIDE MINIATURES with gold leaves at each corner, numerous medieval and later(?) marginal annotations and some sketches (lacking 14 leaves, one of them blank, and parts of two more, 11 of them likely with miniatures, some staining of extremities, some smudging of a few miniatures, some cockling of the vellum throughout, not affecting legibility). Medieval sewing on six double or slit alum-tawed thongs, head-and tail-bands worked with yellow and red threads, lacking boards and covering. Blue morocco-backed solander box.
AN IMPOSING EXAMPLE OF THE CLASSIC CANON LAW TEXT OF THE 13TH CENTURY
1. The text is written in the rounded Bolognese script typical of 13th-century law books written in Italy, France, and England. The decoration is French, and the book differs from Italian examples in having quires of twelve instead of ten leaves. Production of such books in France was concentrated in the three cities where canon law was taught: Paris, Montpellier and Avignon. The decoration does not appear to be Parisian, and the later ownership in Toulouse suggests that the book was made in southern France, perhaps Montpellier or even Toulouse itself. The illumination provides some strong but tantalising clues as to the original patron. Some of the miniatures depict Dominican friars in a positive light, while Benedictines are shown in a negative light (one depicts Benedictine monks accused of fornication). In France the Dominicans were known as the Jacobins or Iacobini, because their first house was in the rue St Jacques, Paris: given the evidence for ownership in Toulouse, and the strong Dominican connections, could it be that the shields surrounding the first miniature, each bearing a letter 'I', indicate that the book was made for the important Jacobin house in Toulouse?
2. The near-contemporary leaves at the end of the volume name a Brother Bernetus as their scribe and a Father Clement as their recipient; this confirms that the manuscript was in ecclesiastical ownership soon after the main text was completed and presumably before it was first bound.
3. There are numerous medieval and perhaps later marginal annotations, including sketches. Some of the notes refer to heresy (e.g. ff.5v, 166, 293v), and Toulouse was the centre of the region where 13th-century heretic controversies raged. A 14th-century marginal comment apparently refers to a jongleur named Etienne: 'Nota. Contra Estien lo ioglar qui laudat quemcumque ...' (f.167).
4. The name 'Duserieis' occurs twice in a late 15th- or early 16th-century hand (ff.385v, 388); the second of these is followed by a paraph and 'enquestez'; Duserieis or du Serieis was presumably an Inquisitor.
5. The number 'N. 784' inscribed in an 18th-century hand in the upper margin of the first page of the main text identifies the manuscript as coming from the library of the château de Merville, which had a series of manuscripts with such numbers from 'N. 773' to 'N. 795' (see C. Douais, Les manuscrits du château de Merville, 1890). These manuscripts had perhaps been added to the château's library in the late 16th or early 17th century by François de Chalvet de Rochemonteix, conseilleur au Parlement de Toulouse, président aux Enquêtes, and seigneur de Merville.
6. Private collection, Toulouse, 1950s (see P. Ourliac, 'Un manuscrit à miniatures du Décret de Gratien conservé dans une bibliothèque privée', Studia Gratiana, 1 (1953), pp.303-21).
A table of decretals, each indexed according to distinctiones and causae ff.1v-2; Gratian's Decretum with the gloss of Bartholomew of Brescia ff.3-385v, lacking the beginnings of causae 6, 7, 13, 15, 18, 20, 25, 28, 31, 32, and 35; added table of contents ff.387-388, preceded by twelve lines of verse addressed to Father Clement by the scribe Brother Bernetus, opening 'Clemens alme pater metra que mittit tibi frater Bernetus placide summe studendo pie...', the table itself beginning 'Hic naturale quid sit ius per legem ...' and ending '... Ultima confirmat ieunia dat quoque neuma' (we have found only one other example of this text, in Augsburg, Staats- und Stadtbibliothek, Cod. 2o 364, ff.60v-62); this is followed by an erased two-line colophon; a somewhat later and smaller bifolium contains Johannes Andreae's Summa brevissima super IV libro Decretalium sive Summa de sponsalibus et matrimoniis ff.390-391v.
The miniatures show some variety in handling but seem to be the work of a single artist. He appears to have been intent upon conveying the seriousness of the law: figures gesture in debate and are often shown with sombre expressions, the corners of their mouths turned down. His figures are occasionally very tall and elongated, sometimes with varying sized heads within a single miniature, and set against a variety of diaper and other patterned backgrounds, often with simple architectural features along the top, and using a palette predominantly of blue, orange, red-brown, mauve, and a blue-grey; drapery is carefully delineated and modelled.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.3. Prima pars. In two tiers. Above: the pope enthroned, representing Church law, flanked by three laymen on each side. Below: an enthroned king with drawn sword, representing temporal law, dictates to a seated cleric who writes on a scroll in front of a crowd of laymen (Ourliac pl. XXXVI; A. Melnikas, The Corpus of the Miniatures in the Manuscripts of Decretum Gratiani, 1975, fig.58). The miniature is surrounded by five shields, each azure with a letter 'I' argent.
f.108. Secunda pars. Causa II. The pope, enthroned, with a bishop and a cleric behind his throne, addresses two Benedictine monks who have been accused of fornication. (Ourliac pl. XXXVIIa; Melnikas fig.26)
f.127. Causa III. A standing bishop and a cleric before a seated ecclesiastical judge holding a book, who turns towards a standing Dominican, Benedictine, and layman; the bishop has been unjustly accused. (Ourliac pl. XXXVIIb; Melnikas, fig.24).
f.136v. Causa IV. Two ecclesiastical judges sitting together on a bench; to the right two laymen accusers; to the left a bishop and a cleric.
f.139. Causa V. A standing bishop behind a kneeling cleric who presents an accusation (in the form of a book) to the enthroned pope.
f.149. Causa VIII. A sick bishop in bed (fully clothed and wearing his mitre), resigns his position by handing his crosier to one of a group of Dominicans, while a seated notary writes on a scroll.
f.152. Causa IX. The ordination of three clerics by an excommunicated bishop.
f.155. Causa X. A bishop and a layman bring their case before the seated pope, watched by four clerics.
f.158v. Causa XI. Three laymen behind a seated bishop holding a candle, symbol of his authority, in front of him a cleric and a seated lay judge.
f.169v. Causa XII. A cleric on his deathbed, his clothes hanging on a pole above, dictates his will to a seated notary; a group of lay men and women (who are hoping for a bequest) at the foot of the bed (Ourliac pl. XXXVIIIa; Melnikas fig.22).
f.183v. Causa XIV. A seated bishop holding a book, with two clerics to each side.
f.190. Causa XVI. In two compartments: to the right a cleric performs mass at an altar in a parish church; to the left a Benedictine monk is forcibly led away by a layman and two clerics.
f.205. Causa XVII. A sick cleric in bed resigns his benefice by handing a baton to a standing cleric, who points with his other hand to the church.
f.210v. Causa XIX. Two clerics kneel before a seated bishop holding a book: the clerics want to join a monastery and one of them does so without the bishop's permission, while the other does so after resigning his clerical position.
f.213v. Causa XXI. A seated bishop holding a lighted candle reprimands a cleric who is drawn instead towards a seated secular judge holding a gold staff.
f.215v. Causa XXII. A group of clerics and a bishop stand behind a seated pope, who addresses a group of laymen; a cleric has been accused of perjury.
f.224. Causa XXIII. Two heretical bishops turn their backs on two other bishops who look at the seated pope, before him kneel two knights who are called to quell the heresy.
f.246. Causa XXIV. A seated heretical bishop unlawfully excommunicating three standing Dominicans by thrusting a lighted candle at them.
f.261. Causa XXVI. By holding a lighted candle towards him, a seated bishop excommunicates a cleric who is guilty of star-gazing.
f.267v. Causa XXVII. A Franciscan addressing a seated ecclesiastical judge, behind whom stand a layman and woman: the woman married a man who was vowed to chastity (represented by the Franciscan); she therefore married another man.
f.282v. Causa XXIX. A woman who was misled into believing she was marrying a nobleman appeals to a seated cleric, watched by her low-born husband.
f.284. Causa XXX. A woman holds another woman's infant after a baptismal mix-up, while a seated bishop addresses her husband.
f.301 bis. Causa XXXIII. A seated judge holding the wrist of a woman, a layman to either side, watched by a cleric: the woman marries a second man and leaves her first husband because he was made impotent by witchcraft; he is later cured and the bishop tells her to go back to him (Ourliac pl. XXXVIIIb).
f.340v. Causa XXXIV. A seated ecclesiastical judge between a layman and woman on one side, a layman holding a walking-stick on the other: a woman's husband was captured and taken away, so she re-married; he later returned and wanted her back.
ff.347v-348v are left blank within Causa XXXV for trees of affinity and consanguinity.
There are charming and often amusing ink drawings in lower margins, usually on the last page of a quire next to the catchword: a hybrid formed of a cleric and a dog f.14v; a seated dog with a bone, and an erect dog, with the epigram 'Dum canis os rodit, socium quem diligit, odit' f.30v; a rabbit(?) chased by a dog, and a monkey examining a specimen-bottle f.38v; an eagle f.133v; a hybrid creature f.189v; a bearded male head with a scarf tied over his hair f.194v; a Janus-figure and a decorative ornament f.201v; designs for decorative initials: an 'S' with two biting heads and a 'C' with a dog and foliage f.204v; the Annunciation, Gabriel holding a scroll inscribed 'Ave Maria gr[ati]a' f.214; a hybrid dog-plant f.235v; Gabriel holding a scroll f.270v; a crowned male head in profile f.315; a large rampant lion f.324v; a Jew's(?) head in profile f.329.