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BARTHOLOMEUS DE SANCTO CONCORDIO [Bartolomeus Pisanus], Summa de casibus conscientiae

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
[southern Germany, c. 1475]

TM 211

300 ff., complete (collation: i-xxv12 [first and final two leaves blank]), paper (watermarks: Briquet, nos. 2467, "Balance dans un cercle," Augsburg, 1469-78, Breslau, 1473-79, etc.; no. 3766, "Ciseaux de tondeur," mostly the Veneto, from 1479-8), catchwords at inner corner of final versos of gatherings 1-20, early foliation inaccurate after 108, two columns of 39 lines written in black ink in several cursive bookhands between four verticals and 40 horizontals ruled in plummet ( justification 208 x 65-7-65 mm.), references underlined and stroked red, paraphs and two-line initials in red, some with trefoil terminals, large skeletal initials in red opening index, prologue and Summa, initials not consistently supplied after f.192 (a few wormholes in first seven leaves slight water-staining affecting the edge of the lower margin of some folios, generally in very fine condition on thick good quality paper). Contemporary paneled leather binding over unbeveled wooden boards, ruled and stamped in blind, border stamped with palmette, circular and lozenge-shaped tools, two brass catches, on upper cover, remains of one strap, vellum spine-lining strips from a 13th-century manuscript copy of Boethius's De philosophiae consolatione (scuffed, scratched and some wormholes, joints split, upper thongs split, lacking catches and bosses). Dimensions 291 x 216 mm.

This is a large, neatly written copy on good quality paper and in its original, unrestored binding of one of the most popular casuistic texts of the later Middle Ages, Bartholomeus de Sancto Concordio's "Little Pisan Summa," which belongs to the new generation of penitential writings that were much impregnated by canon law. Extremely popular, existing in hundreds of manuscripts, the majority of which are of Italian origin (this one is German), many early printed editions, and early vernacular translations, the work has surprisingly never been the subject of a modern critical edition. Evidently fewer than a dozen copies exist in North American collections.


1. Paper label on upper cover, now defaced. It is likely that this is a monastic production and that it came from a monastic library. Script, watermarks, and binding all speak to a southern German provenance at the beginning of the fourth quarter of the fifteenth century, perhaps just contemporary with the first printed editions (Cologne, 1474; Augsburg, 1475).

2. Collection of Cornelius J. Hauck (1893-1967), gift to the Cincinnati Historical Society, Ohio, their sale, "History of the Book," New York, Christie's, 27-28 June 2006.


ff. 1r-5v, [Register of incipits of the sections of the work], incipit, "Abbas in suo monasterio conferre potest suis subditis primam tonsuram ... " ; explicit, "Et sic est finis huius tabulae";

f. 6rv, [Prologue], incipit, "Quoniam ut ait Gregorius super ezechielem nullum omnipotente deo sacrificium est ..."; explicit, "… bene dictus pius postulo correctorem";

ff. 6v-298v [Bartholomeus de Sancto Concordio, Summa de casibus conscientiae], incipit, "Abbas in suo monasterio conferre postest suis subditis ..."; explicit, "… tunc est inuidia ut dicta est supra invidia para secundo. Sic laus deo";

ff. 298v-300v, blank.

Bartholomaeus de Sancto Concordio (1262-1347), who is also known as Bartholomaeus Pisanus and Barthomeo Granchi, entered the Dominican Order in 1277. He studied at Bologna and Paris, and was a lector in Logic in many different Italian convents before returning to Pisa around 1335, where he remained until his death. He was renowned as a preacher, a poet in Latin and Italian, and a teacher in canon and civil law. His prolific writings include De documentis antiquorum (1302-1308), Compendium moralis philosophiae ex libro S. Aegidii De regime principum (c. 1320), and a number of works on orthography, as well as commentaries on Sallust, Alexander de Villa Dei, Gualfredi Anglici, etc. Many of his works have yet to be the subject of modern critical editions.

His most influential work, and the most popular, was the Summa de casibus conscientiae, one of the new generation of penitential books, designed for actual use by confessors and preachers and containing the whole subject matter of moral theology and detailed examples taken from canon law. Composed c. 1338, Bartholomeus's Summa, variously called "Pisana," "Pisanella," "Bartholomaea," "Magistruccia," or sometimes just the "little Pisan Summa," actually derives from the Summa confessorum of another Dominican Johannes of Freiburg (died 1314), whose work Bartholomeus revised. The contribution of Bartholomeus's Summa is that he discarded the old-fashioned and difficult-to-use arrangement in books and chapters and adopted the alphabetical order, at the same time that he expanded on the legal content. A measure of the enormous success of the work was its early printing; it was among the first books undertaken by some of the earliest printers of Germany, France, and Italy, the earliest edition in Italy in 1473 (GW 33450, IGI 1267). A supplement written in 1444 by the Dominican Nicholas of Osimo or Ausimo (fl. c. 1435), which was included in many of the early editions, does not appear in the present manuscript. Already in the fourteenth century, Bartholomeus's Summa was translated into Italian by the Florentine Giovanni delle Celle (1347-94) (cf. Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 759).

Hundreds of manuscripts exist in European libraries, a census of which was first attempted by Dietterle (1906) and revised by Kuttner (1986, vol. 2: 25-31). DeRicci and Wilson, Census, record only 7 manuscripts in North American collections, to which Faye and Bond, Supplement, add another 2 (in Chicago, the Newberry Library; the University of Chicago, Princeton University Library, Pierpont Morgan Library, University of Cincinnati Library, the library of Charles McCamic, Catholic University, and the University of Virginia). To these should be added a copy in the Robbins Collection, University of California, Berkeley, MS 14 (www.law.berkeley.edu/library/robbins/RobbinsMSScatalogue1-30.html). The Schoenberg Database records a large number of manuscript transactions of this work, going back to 1825. The majority of these manuscripts are of Italian provenance, and many are illuminated. German copies appear to be much rarer on the market. Surprisingly, there is as yet no modern critical edition, which would allow scholars to trace systematically the medieval interest in the work, its use in monasteries and schools, and to identify its early owners.


Dietterle, J. "Die Summae confessorum (sive de casibus conscientiae) von ihren Anfangen an bis Silvester Prierias," Zeitschrift für Kirckgeschichte 27 (1906), pp. 166-70.

Kaeppeli, T. Scriptores ordinis praedicatorum medii aevi, Rome, 1970, pp. 157-68.

Kuttner, S. A Catalogue of Canon and Roman Law Manuscripts in the Vatican Library, Citta del Vaticano, Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1986--.

Michaud-Quantin, P. Sommes casuistique et manuels de confession au moyen age, XII-XVI siècles (Analecta mediaevalia Namurcensia, 13) Louvain, 1962, pp. 60-62.

Teetaert, A. "Barthélemy de Pise ou De San Concordio," Dictionnaire de droit canonique 2 (1937), pp. 213-216.

Online resources

Bartholmaeus von San Concordio (Biographisch-Bibliographises Kirchenlexikon)