Corpus juris civilis: Institutiones Justiniani, with gloss


Oxford, Bodleian Library, A 1.11 Art. Seld.

Remarks by the Editor

Summary: Bod-Inc. A-100 and A-392. Two leaves from the same manuscript, now serving as pastedowns to the upper and lower boards of the host volume. 

General Information

Place of Origin England
Date of Origin Late 13th or early 14th century
Script, Hands

Northern Textualis. A small gothic book-hand of medium quality, probably English and datable to the later 13th or possibly early 14th century. Most likely the work of two different scribes for the text and the gloss (as indicated, for example, by two forms of ‘box-a’). Punctuation with punctus and punctus elevatus; red and blue paraphs. One red chapter heading. A smaller script is employed for the gloss; lemmata underlined. English origin is indicated, for example, by the letter a in the gloss, which rises slightly above the headline (ex inf. Patricia Stirnemann).

Original Condition

Page Height 309 mm
Page Width 204 – 208 mm
Number of Columns 2
Width of Columns at least 43 mm
Number of Lines 34 – 35
Ruling Ruled in lead point for 2 columns of text (35 lines) and 2 columns of gloss (76 lines).

Current Condition

More about the Current Condition

In situ pastedowns glued to the inner faces of the upper and lower boards of the incunable Sammelband, formerly hooked around the first and last quires.

Some staining, but generally in good condition and legible.

Dimensions: Fragm. I: 309 x 208 mm. Written area: 162 x 96 mm, including gloss 265 x 166 mm. Intercolumnar space: 12 mm. Inner margin: 12 mm. Upper margin: 11 mm. Outer margin: 41-42 mm. Lower margin: 37 mm.

Fragm. II: 309 x 204 mm. Written area: 162 x 96 mm, including gloss 265 x 166 mm. Intercolumnar space: 12 mm. Upper margin: 11 mm. Outer margin: 41-42 mm. Lower margin: 55-56 mm. The inner margin of Fragm. II is cropped, and thus cannot be measured.

Book Decoration and Musical Notation



A single 2-line blue initial in Fragm. II, with red flourishing, accompanied by a red heading; alternating red and blue paraphs in the text.


  • Content Item
    • Persons Justinian, Accursius
    • Text Language Latin
    • Title Corpus juris civilis: Institutiones Justiniani with the Glossa ordinaria of Accursius
    • Content Description

      Two leaves from the same manuscript, with part of book 2 of Justinian’s Institutiones, framed by the Glossa ordinaria of Accursius (d. 1260). For Accursius and the Glossa ordinaria, see Dondorp and Schrage, ‘Medieval learned law’ (2010), pp. 23‒25.  

      Fragm. I (pastedown to upper board) ‘]superuenerit et fundum uendicet de fructibus … ¶Is uero ad quem ususfructus fundi pertinet … ¶Uendite uero res et tradite non aliter emptori  adquiruntur: quam si is uenditori[.’ Gloss: ‘]agere. nec ad precium ut .J. de officio iudicis ... teneri possunt. ut ff. de act. emp. lex iulia. ₵ offerri.[’. This is followed, at the foot of the page, by a 5-line addition of a passage from the gloss omitted earlier: ‘ad exiben. lex thesaurus. suo. iure directo ... rerum do. lex si is qui ₵ quod si creditor. ac.[’ (from the gloss to Inst. 2.1.39). Inst. 2.1.35‒41; Corpus iuris civilis, ed. Krüger and Mommsen (1895), pp. 12‒13; framed by the corresponding Glossa ordinaria of Accursius.

      Fragm. II (pastedown to lower board) ‘]serui secundum partem dominii quod nos difficimus [emended to diffiniuimus] accipiente. [red heading] Quibus licet uel non licet alienare. [black] Accidit aliquando … dampno celebrata hoc permittat. conchi quo subsecuto: si et iudex pronun-[.’ Gloss: ‘]ntetur sicut alii dicuntur domini rerum pennarum ... corrigentes in duobus capitulis et in aliis non. ... Expl.: securitas. ut nec restitutio detur secus in predio alienato cum decreto et em[’. Inst. 2.7.4‒8.2; Corpus iuris civilis, ed. Krüger and Mommsen (1895), pp. 15‒16; framed by the Glossa ordinaria of Accursius for 2.8.intro. ‒ 2.8.2.  

      The gloss is that printed, with only minor variations, in the 1468 edition of Justinianus, Institutiones, for which we have consulted Bod-Inc. J-230 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. 4Q 2.1).

      Only one side of each fragment is visible as the leaves remain pasted to the boards. The left-hand margin of Fragm. II (approximately 4 mm), which formerly formed a hook round the last quire of the De animalibus, is now lost, with the result that in each line of the gloss the first few letters are missing.

    • Glosses and Additions Interlinear and occasional marginal glosses in several hands. The interlinear glosses, mostly in Fragm. II, and one marginal note are contemporary with the text hand, whereas an Isaiah quotation (5:12) and Latin verses (‘Pronaque cum spectant …’ (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.84‒87), and ‘Collige natura que perveniunt sine cura / Messes cultura lac lanum collige cura’, unidentified) in Fragm. I are in distinctive late-medieval English hands, most likely added after the leaf was used in this binding. The 2-line note at the foot of Fragm. II (‘Versus [:] Mutuo dat nummos ...’, with a definition of ‘Alienacio’), also in a distinctive English hand, may be an earlier addition. These hands are similar in character (although not identical) to those of the early 16th-century marginal notes that run throughout the two parts of the incunable Sammelband.
    • Edition Inst. 2.1.35‒41; Corpus iuris civilis, ed. Krüger and Mommsen (1895), pp. 12‒13; framed by the corresponding Glossa ordinaria of Accursius; Inst. 2.7.4‒8.2; ibid., pp. 15‒16; framed by the Glossa ordinaria of Accursius for 2.8.intro. ‒ 2.8.2.
    • Remarks

      The leaves are incorrectly identified in Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. I, p. 91 as Dig. 22.28 and Inst. 2.8.



(Host volume)

1. John Sampson; ‘Liber Joannis Sampson’ on sig. q6v of item 1, in view of the contemporary Cambridge binding probably the John Sampson who was Vice-Provost of King's College, Cambridge (d. 1517). See Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, p. 2913.

2. John Selden (1584‒1654), with whose library the volume came to the Bodleian in in 1659. See Bod-Inc. (2005), vol. VI, pp. 2915‒16.

Host Volume

Title Treatises 'De animalibus' by Aristotle and Albert the Great.
Date of Origin/Publication Printed 1495, 1498.
Place of Origin/Publication Printed in Venice, bound in England.
Shelfmark A 1.11 Art. Seld.

Information on the host volume from the description in Bod-Inc. A-392 (vol. 1, p. 237), with additions.

Content: Two incunable editions in chancery folio.

1. Aristoteles, De animalibus. Venice: Bartholomaeus de Zanis, 9 Aug. 1498. 88 fols. (Bod-Inc. A-392; ISTC ia00976000; GW 233).

2. Albertus Magnus, De animalibus. Venice: Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, 21 May 1495. 261 fols. (Bod-Inc. A-100; ISTC ia00225000; GW 589).

Binding: English (Cambridge). Contemporary blind-tooled brown calf over wooden boards, assigned by Oldham to the Cambridge Heavy Binder, active 1485-1505 (Oldham, Blind-stamped Bindings (1952), pp. 18, 92‒94, with pl. xi).


  • Bod-Inc. Alan Coates et al., A Catalogue of Books printed in the Fifteenth Century now in the Bodleian Library, 6 vols (Oxford, 2005), vol. I, p. 91 (A-100). Cited as ‘Bod-Inc.’.

  • Corpus iuris civilis: Institutiones, ed. Paul Krüger. Digesta, ed. Theodor Mommsen, 7th stereotype edn (Berlin, 1895).

  • Harry Dondorp and Eltjo J. H. Schrage, ‘The sources of medieval learned law’, in: The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula, ed. John W. Cairns and Paul J. du Plessis, Edinburgh Studies in Law 7 (Edinburgh, 2010), pp. 7‒56.

  • Justinianus, Institutiones [with the Glossa ordinaria of Accursius] (Mainz: Peter Schöffer, 24 May 1468).

  • Susan L’Engle and Robert Gibbs, Illuminating the Law: Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge Collections (London/Turnhout, 2001).

  • J. Basil Oldham, English Blind-stamped Bindings, Sanders Lectures, Cambridge 1949 (Cambridge, 1952).

  • Manuscript: Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. 4Q 2.1.