Monday, November 7, 2011

HLS's Summa de Legibus Normanniae

From Et Seq.: The Harvard Law School Library Blog, we have news that “The Harvard Law School Library has acquired a previously unrecorded copy of the Summa de Legibus Normanniae – a foundation document in the history of the common law – and has posted a digital version on its website. . . . [The]  manuscript is as important for its decidedly English provenance . . .as it is for its variant text and intriguing marginal annotations."  More.

Charles Donahue, Harvard Law School, provides an introduction to the digital edition.  It commences:
There are two compilations of the customary law of the duchy of Normandy that were written in the thirteenth century. One, known as the Très ancien coutumier (the 'very old custumal'), was written in Latin about the year 1200 when Normandy was still part of the Angevin empire. French and Anglo-Norman translations of it are also known. The other, called by its editor the Summa de legibus in curia laicali ('summary of laws in the lay court'), was composed, also in Latin, sometime between the years 1230 and 1250, at a time when Normandy was under the direct control of the French crown. It was later translated into French in a version that became known as the Grand coutumier de Normandie. The newly-acquired HLS MS 220 is a manuscript copy of the Summa de legibus written around the year 1300.