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SA Auction #83 begins on 18 Jun 2020

US Auction #2 ends in

[Emperor JUSTINIAN (c.482-565)]

[Corpus juris civilis. trans. Body of Civil Law: the foundation of Western legal tradition]

Fine typography, uniform contemporary pigskin bindings

Published: Hugues de la Porte, Lyons, 1553-1556

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[Emperor JUSTINIAN (c.482-565)].

[Corpus juris civilis. trans. Body of Civil Law: the foundation of Western legal tradition, 4 volumes bound in 3, Lyons: 1553-1553-1556-1556]

Institutionum D. Iustiniani sacratissimi Imperatoris Libri Quatuor ... Accessit Corpus Legum, antea non impressum, ac Caij Institutionum Libri duo. Lyons: : apud Hugonem a Porta [i.e. Hugues de la Porte, colophon: excudebat Ioannes Ausultus], 1553. Pp. [24], 290, [2 final blank]. A-B⁶ a-s⁸. Printed in red and black. Large woodcut printer's device [Silvestre 983] on title, 2 woodcut illustrations, numerous decorative initials. Condition of contents: some old dampstaining, otherwise excellent. [Baudrier, J. Bibliographie Lyonnaise VII, S. 336]; [bound with:] Volumen Hoc complectitur (sic enim peculiari vocabulo vocant) Novelas Constitutiones Iustiniani Principis ... Lyons: apud Hugonem a Porta [i.e. Hugues de la Porte, colophon: excudebat Ioannes Ausultus], 1553. Pp. [16], 276, 148, 99, [1] p. Collation:  [alpha]⁸ a-q⁸ r¹⁰ A-H⁸ I¹⁰ aa-ee⁸ ff¹⁰. Printed in red and black. Large woodcut printer's device [Silvestre 983] on title, 2 woodcut illustrations, numerous decorative initials. Condition of contents: some old dampstaining or spotting, otherwise excellent. Condition of binding: some scuffing and light soiling.

[With:]

Infortiatum, Pandectarum iuris ciuilis tomus secundus quartae partis reliquum, itémque quintam Digestorum partem, ac sextae partis libros duos continens, ex Pandectis Florentinis ita in vniuersum recognitus ac emendatus ... Adiecimus pluribus locis annotationes ex varijs ijsdemque classicis authoribus ... Accesserunt praeterea Responsa aliquot Graeca Modestini iurisconsulti ... Lyons: apud Hugonem a Porta [i.e. Hugues de la Porte, colophon: excudebat Petrus Fradin], 1556. Pp. [36], 923, [1] p. Collation: 2A-2C⁶ a-z⁸ A-Z⁸ 2a-2l⁸ 2m⁶. Printed in red and black. Large woodcut printer's device [Silvestre 983] on title, 2 woodcut illustrations, numerous decorative initials. Condition of contents: light spotting and soiling to title, otherwise excellent. Condition of binding: some light soiling, otherwise excellent [see images].

[And:]

Digestum Novum. Pandectarum iuris ciuilis tomus tertius sextae partis reliqvvm, ac septimam, eandemqve novissimam digestorvm partem continens, ex Pandectis Florentinis ita vniuersum recognitus, ac emendatus: vt nihil præterea, quod ad puram putam eorum librorum lectionem attinet, desiderari possit.   Lyons: apud Hugonem a Porta [i.e. Hugues de la Porte, colophon: excudebat Bartholomæus Frænus], 1556. Pp. [56], 866. Collation: 2a-2b⁸ 2c-2d⁶ a-z⁸ A-2G⁸ 2H¹⁰(-2H10). Printed in red and black. Large woodcut printer's device [Silvestre 983] on title, 1 full-page woodcut diagram, numerous decorative initials. Condition of contents: Without final blank [as usual?], substantial ink staining to tenth and eleventh pages of the 'Index materiarum' [see images], upper margins shaved with occasional partial loss to the headlines, title slightly soiled, some light old dampstaining. Condition of binding: head of spine with short split and chipped with a little loss [see images], some scuffing and light soiling. 

Four volumes only (of 6) bound in 3 volumes, folio (15 5/8 x 11in.; 398 x 280mm). Uniform contemporary alum-tawed pigskin over beveled wooden boards, covers elaborately paneled in blind, the smallest central panel on each cover with oval armorial ownership stamp, brass clasps.

Provenance: Adam Mockel (binding); J.A. v. K (initials at front of each volume); P. Lieber (signature at front of each volume).        

The majority of a set of 6 volumes containing the 'Corpus juris civilis', published originally by La Porte from 1551-1553. The work as a whole is generally seen as the foundation of the Western legal tradition.  

The matching contemporary bindings on this part set make it particularly unusual.

"The Corpus Juris (or Iuris) Civilis ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in juriasprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor. It is also sometimes referred to as the Code of Justinian, although this name belongs more properly to the part titled Codex Justinianus.The work as planned had three parts: the Code (Codex) is a compilation, by selection and extraction, of imperial enactments to date; the Digest or Pandects (the Latin title contains both Digesta and Pandectae) is an encyclopedia composed of mostly brief extracts from the writings of Roman jurists; and the Institutes (Institutiones) is a student textbook, mainly introducing the Code, although it has important conceptual elements that are less developed in the Code or the Digest. All three parts, even the textbook, were given force of law. They were intended to be, together, the sole source of law; reference to any other source, including the original texts from which the Code and the Digest had been taken, was forbidden. Nonetheless, Justinian found himself having to enact further laws and today these are counted as a fourth part of the Corpus, the Novellae Constitutiones (... literally New Laws).

The work was directed by Tribonian, an official in Justinian's court. His team was authorized to edit what they included. How far they made amendments is not recorded and, in the main, cannot be known because most of the originals have not survived. The text was composed and distributed almost entirely in Latin, which was still the official language of the government of the Byzantine Empire in 529–534, ...

How far the Corpus Juris Civilis or any of its parts was effective, whether in the east or (with reconquest) in the west, is unknown. However, it was not in general use during the Early Middle Ages. After the Early Middle Ages, interest in it revived. It was "received" or imitated as private law and its public law content was quarried for arguments by both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. This revived Roman law, in turn, became the foundation of law in all civil law jurisdictions. ... Its influence on common law legal systems has been much smaller, although some basic concepts from the Corpus have survived through Norman Law - such as the contrast, especially in the Institutes, between "law" (statute) and custom. The Corpus continues to have a major influence on public international law. Its four parts thus constitute the foundation documents of the Western legal tradition." (wikipedia). (3). 

  • Binding Condition: Excellent
  • Overall Condition: Excellent
  • Size: 15 5/8 x 11in.; 398 x 280mm
  • Name: Shadowrock Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Adam Langlands
  • Country: United States
  • Email: adamlanglands@gmail.com
  • Telephone: 001-860-248-1547
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Paypal, US$ checks and wire transfers, major credit cards through paypal
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved


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