TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

[Anonymous], Tabula brevis of the Summa Hostiensis (HENRY SEGUSIO); JOHANNES MOLITOR, Tabula super Summam theologicam of ANTONIUS OF FLORENCE; [Anonymous], Table of canon law subjects

In Latin, manuscript and imprint on paper
Southern Germany or Switzerland, c. 1475-1500

TM 1022
  • 34.100 €
  • £29,400
  • $38,000


i + 304 + i leaves on paper, numerous watermarks throughout including two variations of a cross surmounting three mounds similar to Briquet 11804 (Bamberg 1476) and 11796 (throughout Germany c. 1469-1495); a bull’s head in different sizes and motifs, one large and surmounted by a cross which terminates in a flower similar to Briquet 14552 (Bamberg 1484), four small surmounted by a ‘T’ similar to Briquet 15152 (Zurich 1475), 15155 (Bruyères 1483), 15156 (Namur 1486), and 15161 (Bern 1474), and one large surmounted by a crown and terminates in a flower similar to Briquet 14573 (Nuremberg 1487); two Gothic-style letter ‘P’s, one with a forked descender and topped by a Greek cross similar to Briquet 8611 (Bar-le-Duc 1474), the other with a vine extending from the top and curving over the bow not witnessed in Briquet; and a small walking bear in profile with extended tongue similar to Briquet 12279 (Bern 1480/85); ff. 249-303 foliated in medieval red Roman numerals in outer recto corners, modern pencil foliation throughout, one leaf missing (collation, ff. 1-30,      [manuscript]: i-ii12 iii6 [all singletons, no text loss]; ff. 31-248v, [imprint quires iv-xxxii, complete]: A10 B8 C6 D–F8 G6 H8 I6 K-L8 m6 M–O8 P6 Q R8 S6 T–Z8 AA6 BBCC8 DD6 EE8; ff. 249-303v, [manuscript]: xxxiii12-1 [-1, lacking one folio in final position with text loss] xxxiv12 xxxv10 xxxvi12+1 [+1, singleton added in first position] xxxvii10), alphabetical quire signatures throughout imprint (ff. 31-247), incorrect quire signature on f. 135 although text correctly bound, ff. 1-30 vertical bounding lines ruled in blind in two columns (220 x 133 mm) of 43 lines, ff. 249-303 vertical bounding lines ruled in plummet in one column (c. 190-225 x 120 mm) in ±40-55 lines, written in dark brown ink by at least two scribes in late Gothic cursive, with index on ff. 304rv in sixteenth-century hybrida, majuscules and rubrics touched with red, red and blue alternating paraphs, simple red and blue alternating initials on ff. 1-30, eight-line red and blue puzzle initial on f. 32, in very good condition with minor staining, flecking, and ink blots, limited worming in margins of last five folios and on flyleaves, rips on ff. 260-262 with ten lines of text partially lost and then replaced by the original scribe on contemporary repairs, f. 30 breaking from spine at endband and top support. CONTEMPORARY BINDING of white pigskin over wooden boards, panel stamp of repeating vines and fleur de lys in center of front and back covers surrounded by four-line filleted frame on front only containing small five-petal flower blind stamps, three filleted lines around all edges, square-cut boards with rounded spine, four raised doubled rope supports and intact endbands of white and blue thread, thirteenth- or fourteenth-century manuscript fragments used to bolster spine and some quires, title at head of spine “D: Antonini summae totius Inde[?]” and shelfmark at tail “Theolo A-3” in brown ink, brass clasps on opening edge of front, remnants of straps held to back with brass plates, bosses missing from all corners and center of front and back, all corner plates missing, abrasion and staining, some worm holes near tail of spine, but overall intact and secure. Dimensions 310 x 215 mm.

In impeccable condition, this majestic book on Canon (and some Civil) Law contains an incunable index by a rare Swiss printer, providing ready reference to a commentary on the Decretals of Gregory IX, sandwiched between two manuscript indices inspired by the printed text.  The fact that all three texts are preserved together in the original binding indicates that the hybrid book was specially created for its original owner – friars seeking to resolve issues arising from their mission of pastoral care in religious and secular communities?  The manuscript sections are evidently unique.


1. All three sections of this volume, manuscript and printed, are contemporary, as originally bound. We can therefore conclude that we are looking at a book that was designed to be a hybrid (combining print and manuscript) from the outset.  Based on the late Gothic cursive script written by at least two scribes, the manuscript parts of this book (ff. 1-30 and ff. 249-303) originate in a German-speaking region. The book’s watermarks point most consistently to southern Germany, or even Switzerland, in the last quarter of the fifteenth century (probably close to the mid-1480s). Given the texts included, it may have been intended for Dominican use – Henry Segusio (c. 1200-1271) and Antoninus of Florence (1389-1459) both belonged to the Dominican Order – probably as an aid for commonplace legal issues and pastoral care. With very few and very brief marginal notes, it was unlikely to have been used in an educational context.

The incunable included in this volume (ff. 31-247v, A-EE7v) is a complete copy of Johannes Molitor’s tabula of the Summa theologica of Antoninus of Florence (ISTC No. ia00880000; Online Resources). Traditionally attributed to the workshop of Heinrich Quentell (d. 1501) of Cologne, it is now regularly attributed to the so-called “Printer of the Modus Legendi Abbreviaturas” in Basel (see BMC III 716 and ISTC, Online Resources). The watermarks are likely Swiss, especially the walking bear which has no comparable witnesses in Briquet other than a Bern example, supporting an origin in Basel.  The colophon (f. 247v or EE7v) states that it was printed on July 6, 1484, making it roughly contemporary with the manuscript parts of this volume. This text’s title is provided in black ink on the front pastedown in a large archaic Gothic script.

2. The last folio (f. 304), originally a blank flyleaf, holds an index for the anonymous table of canon law subjects immediately preceding it. The cursive script is likely from the sixteenth century, indicating the volume was used by at least one later reader.

3. Besides the sixteenth-century index, there are few traces of use other than the fingerprints found throughout on bottom recto corners where folios were gripped for turning. The bottom edge of the book block reads “28” or perhaps “18”. The front flyleaf features traces of glue and paper from a now-lost bookplate. There was also a blue-ink library stamp on the front flyleaf and on f. 46, both since removed. Likewise, an ownership inscription and title written in brown ink of f. 1 has been removed and overwritten by the shelfmark found on the book’s spine “Lit. A no. 3: Theol.”


ff. 1-30, incipit, “Ut ingenerali ut facilius habeatur materia huius summae in primis considerandum …,” Explicit tabula brevis Summa hostiensis. Gratia laus deo;

Hostiensis [Henry of Segusio], Tabula brevis of the Summa Hostiensis (anonymous compiler, unedited). The Summa Hostiensis, also known as the Summa aurea, is a robust commentary on the decretals of Pope Gregory IX which also expands on and synthesizes canon and civil law more broadly. This tabula, or index, lists legal subjects found in the Summa Hostiensis alphabetically and provides the location of each using Arabic numerals to identify numbered decretals, then the column as designated by a, b, c, and d, relating to the columns at each opening of a two column textblock (that is, columns a and b on verso, and c and d on the facing recto). Following the column designations are numbers 1-3, denoting the top, middle, or bottom of the textblock. For example, f. 26 lists “sodales” and attributes it to “120 c1” in the Summa Hostiensis copy it references.

ff. 31-247v [A1-EE8v], Tabula super totam summam venerabilis domini Anthonini directiva, incipit [f. 31v (A2)], “Quia reverendisimus et eximius pater dominus Antoninus florentinorum archiepiscopus [sic]…,” Coloniensis fratrem compilata anno domini M.cccc.lxxxiiii [1484] pridie nonas July finita felicitur explicit”; [f. 248rv blank];

Johannes Molitor, Tabula super Summam theologicam Johannis Molitoris, Basel or Cologne, 6 July 1484. This hand-decorated incunable is complete.  The text is a list of subjects included in Antoninus’s Summa theologica compiled and with commentary by Johannes Molitor, a canonist and pastor of St. Moritz Church in Augsburg. Antoninus Florentinus, born as Antonio Pierozzi, was a Dominican friar who served as Archbishop of Florence. He was much loved by the city’s people and is now best known for his moral theology and three confessor’s guides which were continuously used by confessors for centuries.

ff. 249-303v, Abbas, incipit, “Si contra abbatem et conventum est simil in primum instantum actum … Usufructus Vendi potest ad tempore a dcclxi”;

An unidentified, apparently unedited, tabula of practical canon law subjects from “Abbas” to “Usufructus.” Each subject, listed alphabetically, is followed by one to several dozen brief subtopics or decretals, and their location according to Roman numeral foliation in the (unknown) referenced volume. Like other tabulae, this is less a literary work than a detailed search tool; that is, canon law subjects found in the referenced work are listed in the manner of an index, and the abbreviated decretals help the reader locate more specific information. It is possibly selective and may not capture all subjects in the referenced work (compare, e.g., the vast number of subjects listed in the Tabula brevis of the Summa Hostiensis, ff. 1-30). Moreover, it may be incomplete: “Usufructus” was unlikely to be the last term included in the referenced work, as there are typically subjects listed under ‘X’, ‘Y’, and ‘Z’ in contemporary canon law texts (see the Tabula brevis). There is, however, no evidence that folios are missing from the contemporary binding; perhaps the compiler selected no further terms, or the remaining terms were lost prior to binding.

f. 304rv, incipit, “Abbas/ Absolutio {i / Accessorium ii / Acta ii … Violentia / Visitatis / Unio / Usufructus }lv.”

An index of subjects in the previous tabula listed alphabetically, each on a new line, grouped together schematically by brackets to indicate shared folio numbers agreeing with the red Roman numeral foliation on the tabula’s rectos. As noted, the tabula ends at “Usufructus,” which is also the last term in this index, indicating that there were no additional folios originally present in this binding.

Among the various legal systems of the Middle Ages, canon law was unique in its universality. Built up over centuries from interpretation of Scripture, ecclesiastical synods, and papal decretals, it guided conduct throughout Christendom, becoming in effect an ‘international’ law (Brundage, 1995, p. 3). As of the eleventh century, canonists took pride of place at emerging universities – especially Bologna – and legal study became almost scientific. Following the virtually unanimous adoption of Gratian’s Decretum as the key canon law textbook in the mid-twelfth century, glosses, free-standing commentaries, and newly compiled canon collections were produced in great numbers throughout the remainder of the Middle Ages (Brundage, 1995, pp. 44-69). To aid readers in navigating this vast amount of complicated material, tabulae – some abbreviating legal texts into manageable segments, others acting primarily as subject indexes – were likewise prodigiously produced.

The present hybrid volume contains three different tabulae; it is, essentially, a book of indexes to be used in conjunction with important legal texts of its time. It speaks to the way canon law was consulted – and more importantly, searched – by fifteenth-century readers.

No other examples precisely matching the first tabula, an abbreviated index of the Summa Hostiensis, have been identified in either manuscript or incunabula (see those listed on ISTC in Online Resources). However, it follows the same principles of indexes accompanying printed copies of Hostiensis’s Summa; see the “Index rerum et verborum” of the Venice 1574 edition. Bérenger Frédoli (c. 1250-1323) wrote a commentary with an alphabetical table, the Oculus seu elucidarius Summae Hostiensis or Oculus copiosa (see Online Resources). This manuscript does not appear to derive from Frédoli’s more detailed work, but deeper comparison is worthwhile. The Summa Hostiensis combined Roman and canon law with an eye to practical use in both ecclesiastical and secular communities (Waelkens, pp. 34-46).

The second text, a complete 1484 incunable of the Tabula super Summam theologicam (as indicated by its title, a tabula of Antoninus Florentinus’s Summam theologicam, also known as the Summa super titulis Decretalium), compiled and with commentary by Johannes Molitor, is not rare: it is currently held, sometimes in multiples, in fifty-nine European and American institutions. It is, however, in impeccable condition. Antoninus’s work was particularly useful for those who used canon law in providing pastoral care; his Summa is a practical guide for clergy to address issues surrounding confession and sin, Scriptural interpretation, and simony (Finucane, 2011, p. 174).

The final manuscript tabula is, like the first in this volume, presently unidentified among other manuscript or print examples (see Murano, Online Resources), but the work it references is unidentified. It also contains fewer subjects, but those included appear to be primarily related to pastoral concerns (i.e. “Absolutio,” f. 249; “Confessio,” f. 266; “Matrimonium,” f. 284).

This book speaks eloquently of the fluid interchange between books made by the new technology of printing and those copied by hand in the fifteenth century.  Recent scholarship has underlined the importance of hybrid volumes for the insight they provide into a time – from the second half of the fifteenth century into the sixteenth century and sometimes even later -- when print and manuscript production flourished as different options for the making of books (Hindman and Farquhar, 1977; Hindman, 2009; McKitterick, 2003).  Preserved in an appealing contemporary binding, these three tabulae were especially pertinent in resolving day-to-day disputes and providing pastoral care within the religious and broader secular communities. As such, this hybrid volume speaks to the interests and practical legal concerns within German-speaking regions in the fifteenth century.


Brundage, James. Medieval Canon Law (London and New York: 1995).

Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century now in the British Museum, BMC III 716.

Finucane, Ronald C. Contested Canonizations: The Last Medieval Saints, 1482-1523, Washington, D.C., 2011.

Hartmann, Wilfried, and Kenneth Pennington, eds. The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140-1234: from Gratian to the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX, Washington, D.C., 2008.

Hindman, Sandra, and James Douglas Farquhar. Pen to Press: Illustrated Manuscripts and Printed Books in the First Century of Printing, College Park, 1977.

Hindman, Sandra. Pen to Press, Paint to Print: Manuscript Illumination and Early Prints in the Age of Gutenberg, Catalogue 14, Paris and Chicago, 2009.

McKitterick, David. Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450-1830, Cambridge, 2004.

Waelkens, Laurent. “Hostiensis, Summa Aurea,” in The Formation and Transmission of Western Legal Culture: 150 Books that Made the Law in the Age of Printing, ed. by S. Dauchy et al., Cham, 2016, pp. 34-36.

Online Resource

Antoninus Florentinus, Tabula super Summam theologicam Johannis Molitoris, Incunabula Short Title Catalogue, No. ia00880000.


“Berengarus Fredoli,” Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists.

“Canon Law,” Rechtshistorie [Introduction to medieval canon law with bibliography].

Hostiensis [Henry of Segusio], Summa aurea … Venice, Giacomo Vidali, 1574.

Murano, Giovanna. Initia operum iuris canonici medii aevi: A shortlist of works, arranged by their incipit words.

TM 1022