INVENTION and DISCOVERY:
Printed Books from Fifteenth-Century Europe
An Exhibition at Bridwell Library, February 1 – May 3, 2010
|PRINTING IN ITALY||
33. BONIFACE VIII (b. 1235, Pont. Max. 1294–1303). Liber sextus Decretalium. Commentary by Joannis Andreae. Venice: Thomas de Blavis, 14 August 1489. [Bound with]: CLEMENT V (b. 1260, Pont. Max. 1305–1314). Constitutiones. Commentary by Joannis Andreae. Venice: Thomas de Blavis, 1 June 1489.
Boniface VIII compiled this “sixth”
book of the Decretalium in 1298 as a supplement to the five books of
canon law issued by Gregory IX in 1234. As in most early printed law codes,
the main text appears as an island of large type surrounded by commentary in
smaller type. The page facing the illuminated initial B features the “Tree
of Affinity,” which diagrams the legal degrees of separation between
marriageable in-laws. Elsewhere, another chart shows the “Tree of
Consanguinity,” for blood relatives. Bridwell Library’s copy retains its
modest fifteenth-century binding, which is covered by a vellum leaf taken
from a Hebrew manuscript.
Formerly bound inside Bridwell Library’s copy of the Liber sextus Decretalium printed by Thomas de Blavis in 1489, this single leaf of text served as the printer’s advertisement for that edition. The small broadside encouraged students of canon law to consider the benefits of buying this portable edition printed in small but legible type. For several decades following its discovery in 1959, Bridwell’s copy of the advertisement was the only one recorded; recently, however, a second copy was found at the Diocesan Library in Esztergom, Hungary.
may not be published without the permission of Bridwell Library.