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Decretales cum glossa. [edited by Franciscus Moneliensis] Venice: Johannes Herbort of Seligenstadt for Johannes de Colonia, Nicolas Jenson and associates, 10 September 1481.

Folio (428x286 mm), [314] leaves, the last blank. Type (73 Ga text), (73 Gb gloss), two columns 72 lines, capital spaces with guide-letters in the gloss, incipit of five books and 185 titles printed in red, Jenson’s device printed in red at verso of penultimate leaf, 2 to 9 lines initials in red or blue. Contemporary South German binding of blind-tooled calf over wooden boards, spine in five compartments with a paper label at foot, remains of two brass fore-edges catches. A good broadmargined copy, few pale waterstains in margins, old marginalia of at last two different hands and a few spots. A repaired crack in the front cover.

Beautiful and rare Venetian edition of the Decretales with the commentary of Franciscus Moneliensis. From the moment he became pope in 1227, Gregorius IX had the intention of publishing a complete and authentic collection of Decretales to supplant the existing ones, privately published after Gratian’s Decretum. In 1230, the Pope gave the responsibility for this task to Raimond of Peñafort, who was already master at Bologna’s studio and, at that time, was chaplain and penitentiary of the pope; on September 1234 Gregorius IX published the collection with the bull Rex Pacificus, and sent it to the Universities of Bologna and Paris. The aim of the collection, as it is explained by the bull of enactment, was that of gathering the decretals of the predecessors, dispersed until that time, into a whole body, endowed with authority. It is also probable that, by this process, the pope intended to place the canon law definitively on the same level of the Roman law, also in its outer form, sheltering the legislative power of the pope from every possible challenge. The work consists of five books in which different topics are discussed, according to the order in the well-known index: iudex, iudicium, clerus, conubia, crimen; it includes 185 titles and 1871 chapters; also included are decretals of popes, from Bonifacius I onward – particularly numerous are those of Saint Gregorius Magnus and Innocent III – canons of councils, from the one of Sardica to the IV Lateran (Council), passages taken from the Bible, from works of saints, in addition to some titles drawn from Frankish capitulars and from the Roman law. The collection of Gregorius IX is authentic and universal, as it is enacted by the supreme legislative authority with the strength of law for the entire Church. This collection, the one and only, given that the pope abolished all former ones, except for Gratian’s Decretum, and reduced the value of the original copies of the decretals which he himself had gathered, was at once highly appreciated and very soon commented. The authentic explanatory gloss was at a first time settled by Bernardo from Botone and afterwards by Giovanni d’Andrea; also important are the commentaries by Sinibaldo Fieschi and Niccolò de’ Tedeschi.

IGI 4457; BMC V 302; Goff G 453.

Price: 19 000.00 EUR