More medieval legal manuscripts at Europeana Regia

In December 2011 I gave in a post about the Europeana Regia project for the virtual reconstruction of three medieval royal libraries a provisional list of digitized legal manuscripts. On January 25, 2012 the addition of manuscripts kept at Amiens, Rheims and Valenciennes was announced on the project website. At Europeana Regia you can read a report and watch two short videos about this latest digitization campaign. Following the example of this earlier post I will provide here a similar list of digitized manuscripts with medieval legal texts. After the original impulse for a new list more manuscripts have been added from other libraries as well. For brevity’s sake I will not give here a short presentation of these mostly well-known libraries. It took the project team several months to digitize more manuscripts and to create the webpages presenting them. In January 2012 only a restricted number of newly digitized manuscripts became immediately visible at Europeana Regia, hence the delay in publishing this post.

Three French libraries

The Bibliothèques d’Amiens Métropole has as its core the former Bibliothèque Municipale, where since the French Revolution a number of manuscripts from confiscated monasteries have been kept, in particular from Corbie. Europeana Regia contains eleven manuscripts kept at Amiens. The Bibliothèque municipale de Reims holds medieval manuscripts from Rheims Cathedral and from former abbeys around Rheims. You can search directly for manuscripts in the library catalogue. The Bibliothèque de Valenciennes offers not only the possibility to browse a number of medieval manuscripts in color, but also a chance to look at digitized black and white microfilms of other manuscripts. The library has organized these versions in chronological order, but you can also consult a general index and a list of provenances. Valenciennes is strong in manuscripts from the abbey of Saint-Amand. This library points to the Catalogue Général des Manuscrits, part of the Catalogue Collectif de France, where you can also search for manuscripts in the holdings of other French municipal libraries.

The new list contains 22 medieval legal manuscripts, twice as much as in the first list where I listed eleven manuscripts. Still 33 legal manuscripts as an overall total is not particularly rewarding. Just two medieval legal manuscripts at Amiens, none at the two other French libraries added in 2012, is meagre. Looking at the harvest of newly digitized legal manuscripts it seems almost one has read my earlier post with the list of manuscripts of the Collectio Dionysio-Hadriana at Munich which now have been added to Europeana Regia. The number of legal manuscripts at Sankt Gallen included here is comparatively low. In the project for the Codices Electronici Sangallenses 436 manuscripts have now been digitized. On May 31, 2012 a final conference at Paris will be held to discuss the general results and the future of Europeana Regia. One of the questions one can think of is why these medieval kings obviously did not collect more legal texts. Europeana Regia offers indeed a filtered view on the transmission of medieval legal manuscripts. I would like to repeat that in most cases you can find more digitized medieval legal manuscripts at the websites of contributing libraries.

When I first looked at the presentation of the manuscripts at Europeana Regia the absence of a search function, apart from the predefined filters for collection, location, language and date, made me frown. I thought this was really exceptional, but this year Utrecht University Library changed the online presentation of its digital special collections. On the new website the showcases are splendid, as are the accompanying essays and the small current exhibition Heavenly discoveries at Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht. However, instead of the old ordered presentation you will only find an alphabetical list of digitized “objects”. Both the manager of the digital collections and the keeper of manuscripts have said to me it is their absolute priority to add a search function to this website…

In the list here below I will give the link to the English version of each manuscript description as provided at Europeana Regia, brief information about the texts in and the date of each manuscript, and the link to the digitized version.

A postscript

In the final version of Europeana Regia you can use a direct free text search for manuscripts and also an advanced search interface with fields for shelfmark, author, title and place of origin. The project ended in the summer of 2012. The resurfacing of the advanced search mode unarms my earlier remarks about the lack of this mode. You can even filter the results by author, origin, illuminator, scribe and writing material. Even the Dutch version of this part of the portal has been created.

A number of manuscripts from other libraries than those listed below in May 2012 have been added, but I think it is easy to find out now which legal texts are included in the manuscripts added in the latest phase. Looking for collectio one would easily overlook the manuscript Sion, Archive du Chapitre, 120 with the Collectio Dacheriana, because only the word Dacheriana appears in the description. At Paris more manuscripts with French translations of the major texts for Roman law have been added. You will find now for example four manuscripts with the Lex Salica.

A 2019 postscript

After the end of this project’s life at its original web address it has been given a new lease of life at the French portal Biblissima with the IIIF viewer.



ms. 671: Dionysius Exiguus, Collectio canonum priscorum conciliorum et epistolarum decretalium summorum pontificum, 9th century – digitized version

ms. 789: Institutio et Regula canonicorum in concilio Aquisgranensi (816) editae, 9th century – digitized version


Apart from these three libraries more legal manuscripts have been added since the end of 2011 for the other libraries participating in the project:

Brussels, BR

ms. 10127-44: Liturgical texts and treatises on canon law, 8th-9th century – digitized version

ms. 5413-22: collection of canon law, with – mainly – historical and astronomical additions – digitized version

ms. 8780-93: canon law texts, 8th century – digitized version

Munich, BSB

Clm 6243: Collectio canonum “Frisingensis”, late 8th century, around 800 – digitized version

Clm 6244: Collection canonum Dionysio-Hadriana; Exhortatio, Freising, early 9th century – digitized version

Clm 6355Collection canonum Dionysio-Hadriana, Freising, 2nd quarter of the 9th century – digitized version

Clm 14008: Collection canonum Dionysiana adaucta, Rome, late 9th century – digitized version

Clm 14422: Collectio canonum Dionysio-Hadriana, early 9th century – digitized version

Clm 14780: Theodorus, Canones paenitentiales Theodori, around 800 – digitized version

Clm 19415Lex Bauivariorum, Iunilius Africanus: De partibus divinae legis, etc., Freising, 820-830 – digitized version

Paris, BnF

ms. Français 495: Justinianus I, Digeste veille, anonymous French translation; France, around 1270-1280 – digitized version

ms. Français 1064: Justinianus I, Institutiones, anonymous French translation; France, 2nd half of the 13th century – digitized version

ms. Italien 408Ordinacione fate per lo Pere Terzo Re d’Aragona supra lo regimento de tuti li oficiali de la sua corte, 15th century – digitized version

ms. Latin 4436: Justinianus I Imperator, InstitutionesAuthenticum, cum glossa ordinaria; Bologna, 13th-14th century – digitized version

ms. Latin 4476Infortiatum, cum glossis Accursii; Bologna, late 13th century – digitized version

ms. Latin 4594: Petrus de Unzola, Opus IudiciorumDisceptatio daemonis in judicio contendentis adversus homines et beatam Mariam eorum advocatam; Bologna, first quarter of the 14th century – digitized version

ms. Latin 5411: Johannes Berardi, Chartularium monasterii Casaurensis, ordinis sancti Benedicti, around 1170-1182; chartulary of San Clemente a Casauria – digitized version

ms. Latin 4670 A: Usatici et Constitutiones Cataloniae, 14th-15th century – digitized version

ms. Latin 10758: Capitularia,leges et varia de Carolo Magno, 10th century – digitized version

Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek

Cod. Sang. 150Libri paenitentiales, texts of the Church Fathers, and other texts, 9th-10th century – digitized version

Cod. Sang 731: Lex Romana Visigothorum, Lex Salica, Lex Alamannorum, 794 – digitized version

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