With my last major research project having finished at the end of April 2020 (although research continues, as ever), I applied for and was fortunate enough to get a small Stadt-Wien stipendium for researchers and artists in the covid-19 times. In my application I outlined a three-month research project, which began at the start of May following the award of the stipend (project No. MA 7-355810/2020), and is now two-thirds of the way through. The project focuses on one of the manuscripts of the Lombard laws held in the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek [ÖNB, Austrian National Library]: Vienna, MS Cod. 394. The manuscript comprises a copy of the Lombarda, that is a systemisation according to of the Liber Papiensis collection of Lombard law sand Frankish and Saxon capitularies relating to Italy.
In addition to identifying – and where possible obtaining and reading up! – secondary literature on the manuscript, I had four main objectives:
- To write up my notes from a viewing of the manuscript made in 2012, and prepare a catalogue description to add to the (slowly growing) list of Lombard law-books here on my website.
- To work from the black and white scans of the microfilm, to map out the contents and, particularly, investigate the glossing strategy employed throughout the manuscript.
- To prepare an article relating to the manuscript for submission to a relevant journal. The initial proposal anticipated a comparative study of this manuscript and another also held in the ÖNB, MS Cod. 471 – one of the manuscripts of the Liber Papiensis on which my previous FWF Lise Meitner project had focused (and for which the monograph is currently under review).
- To deepen my familiarity with the Lombarda variant of the Lombard laws overall, and to further refine my research methodology in preparation for submitting the next research project proposal.
Before considering progress on these four objectives, it may first be of interest to consider the manuscript as a whole. The description of Vienna, MS Cod. 394 as given on the ÖNB website is minimal. At the present time the manuscript has not been digitised, so there is no link to images unlike for other manuscripts. The contents and title of the manuscript are given simply as “Lex Langobardorum cum glossis” [law of the Lombards with glosses], without mentioning which version of the laws it contains, nor the other item added on the final folio, the prologue and first clauses of Ariprand’s Commentary on the Lombarda, composed in the mid-twelfth century (see Anschütz, 1855).
The description on the ÖNB website also does not include either a date for the manuscript’s production or a place of origin, so for this study I was very much beginning in the dark. In the nineteenth century, the manuscript was included in Johannes Merkel’s Die Geschichte des Langobardenrechts (1850) as item No. ‘L2’, and as one of the sources for the MGH edition of the Lombarda, as edited by Friedrich Bluhme (1868). In both these studies the version of the text is identified (and in the latter edited) as the ‘vulgate’ version of the Lombarda, but with no place of origin being suggested for the manuscript. Both, however, gave a date for the production as s. xiiin, that is early in the twelfth century (ca. 1100-1120), which would have numbered it amongst the oldest of the surviving manuscripts of the Lombarda.
Having asked palaeographers online whether they agreed with the dating, Dr Beatriz Porres de Mateo identified the script as being, despite its many oddities and some gothic and caroline features, a late Beneventan minuscule. She kindly directed me towards some more recent relevant scholarship, many of which had mentioned the manuscript in passing, and included date ranges from the mid-twelfth to early thirteenth centuries (Vitolo, 1992; Cordasco, 1996; Magistrale, 1995) and localised the manuscript to in or around Bari, southern Italy. This in turn brought me to E. A. Lowe’s study of Beneventan scripts (1914), where he had identified the manuscript as being of the Bari type and drew attention to a later addition on the verso of the final folio that named Abbot Guglielmo di Macciacotta from Bari as a sometime owner of the law-book. Another addition on the lower margin of the same folio (96r), reads ‘Maurus Iudicis Iohanis’, suggesting that over the years the law-book had had connections with both monastic centres and legal professionals.
Project Outcomes (ongoing)
A catalogue description of the manuscript (v. 0.2) has been prepared, and is now available online (per project objective 1). The description is somewhat provisional, and will require a further viewing in the ÖNB to gather more specific information (the dimensions of the folios and ruling grid are representative, taken from a smaller number of measurements, rather than averages derived from measurements from every single folio), Edit:
and while my original notes refer to the different ink colours employed, they are not comprehensive. I now have access to colour images of the manuscript, and have revised and updated the description accordingly. The linked file is now version 0.2). As such, I hope to augment and emend the description in the future, as necessary. Nevertheless, I hope the description in its current form will be of use!
Cataloguing the contents of the manuscript (objective 2) was an intensive process, in which a table was produced matching the numbered clauses per Bluhme’s edition (1868) to the specific contents of the manuscript, and then adding in transcriptions of glosses in the margins (sometimes just the incipits), for all items copied by the main scribal hands responsible for the initial production phases of the manuscript in the (early) thirteenth century – that is the main scribe (Hand 1), the rubricator (Hand 2), and the scribe of the Ariprand commentary (Hand 3). In addition to commentaries on the legal content and glosses clarifying in Latin what the specific langobardic legal terms meant, one of the main forms of gloss comprise cross-references to related laws and capitularies within the law-book. These cross-references are made, using the same fundamental strategy as employed in the Liber Papiensis and as adopted in Roman law-books following the mid-twelfth century juristic revival – by law-giver and incipit of the clause in question. Where possible I have identified the referenced clause, and begun to visualise – if not unravel – the web of intratextual references being made in the manuscript.
In the process of recording the glosses, my attention got drawn to the legal theme from Book I, Title XXXVI: de culpis servorum [concerning the crimes of enslaved people], in which eight laws and capitularies from Rothari, Grimoald, Liutprand and Charlemagne are brought together into a thematic block. Further study of these legal texts in their manuscript context, and extending the comparison out to other manuscripts of the Liber Papiensis and of the Lombarda, seem to be promising. Consequently, this will be the theme for the article that I am currently preparing (objective 3).
Connections to – and diversions from – the other manuscripts are also becoming apparent, although these will definitely require the extensive focus of a full research project to truly visualise in manuscript and socio-legal context. In this the initial study has identified, refined and developed the scope of the next project proposal and its methodology as intended (objective 4), while the close analysis of a selected legal-theme in manuscript context is similarly establishing a working method for comparable case-studies that I hope to integrate into the next project. I hope that the coming months and years will give me the opportunity to further discuss and share this on a broader and deeper scale.
Anschütz, August, ed., Die Lombarda Commentare des Ariprand und Albertus: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des germanischen Rechts im zwölften Jahrhundert (Heidelberg: Akademische Verlargshandlung von J. C. B. Mohr, 1855)
Bluhme, Frederick, ed., ‘In Lombardae Libro et Reliqua Praefatus est’ & ‘Legis Longobardorum Libri Tres Sive Syntagmata Duo, Lombardo Vulga Dicta, Ex Libro Papiensi Confecta’, MGH Leges IV (Hannover: Hahn: 1868), xcviii-cxviii
Cordasco, Pasquale, Contributo allo Studio del Notariato Meridionale (Secoli XII-XIV) (Bari: Levante, 1996)
Lowe, Elias Avery, The Beneventan Script: A History of the South Italian Minuscule (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1914)
Magistrale, Francesco, ‘La cultura scritta latina e greca: libri, documenti, iscrizioni’, in Federico II: immagine e potere. Catalogo della mostra (Bari, Castello Svevo, 4 febbraio – 17 aprile 1995), edited by Maria Stella Calò Mariani and Raffaella Cassano (Venice: Marsilio, 1995), 125-41
Merkel, Johannes, Die Geschichte des Langobardenrechts (Berlin: Hertz, 1850)
Reynalds, Roger E., ‘Gratian’s Decretum and the Code of Justinian in Beneventan Script’, Mediaeval Studies 58 (1996), 285-88
Vitolo, Raffaele, ‘Tra Cava e Salerno: cultura e scrittura in età normanno-sveva’, Rassegna storica salernitana 18 (1992), 7-24