16 February 2021

BOOK: Thom GOBBITT (Ed.), Law | Book | Culture in the Middle Ages (Leiden: Brill, 2021). ISBN 978-90-04-44834-6, 154.00 EUR


(Source: Brill)


We learned of the publication of “Law | Book | Culture in the Middle Ages” by Brill.


Medieval laws, regulatory texts and legal/normative structures have left their trace in the historical record in numerous forms. This edited collection brings together fifteen contributions, each taking a detailed view on the role of manuscripts and the written word in legal cultures and literate representations thereof, spanning much of the Middle Ages, from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries and beyond. The title of this collection deliberately invites creative engagement from its contributors and readers alike, with the parts, ‘law’, ‘book’ and ‘culture’ each being able to standalone, but being open equally to combination. The contributions stand at the intersection of the cultures of books and documents, and the cultures of law and normative regulation. Where these two broad strands of law and books meet, the reader is inevitably brought to the various facets of legal literacy, and these form an underlying thread that is woven throughout the chapters. While the manuscripts and book cultures of law form the underlying thread, this topic is approached from numerous angles that inform on each other to produce a multifaceted interpretation of legal literacies across the span of the Middle Ages. The study of the cultures of books and documents of laws and legal texts offered here draws upon the same range of written sources, but is further augmented with other literary and historiographic items. Four broad thematic approaches exploring the manuscript contexts and reception, of law and legal thought are considered: Law-Books, Law & Society, Legal Practice, and Text & Edition. The studies span the medieval period and reach across western and central Europe, closely considering facets of manuscript culture and legal literacies and practices from what are now Bulgaria, England, France and Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Wales.



Thom Gobbitt, Ph.D. (2010), University of Leeds, UK, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut für Mittelalterforschung of the Austrian Academy of the Sciences, Vienna. He has published on early English and Lombard law and law-books, and is currently working on the manuscripts of the Liber Papiensis in the long eleventh century.



Thom Gobbitt, “Introduction: Law | Book | Culture in the Middle Ages”

Part I: Law-Books

Chapter One, Stefan Drechsler, “Production and Content of the Fourteenth-Century Norwegian Law Manuscript Lundarbók”

Chapter two, Ben Reinhard,        “Wulfstan and the Reordered Polity of Cotton Nero A.i”

Chapter three, Thom Gobbitt, “Liutprand’s Prologues in the Edictus Langobardorum

Chapter four, Rolf H. Bremmer Jr,             “More than Language: Law and Textual Communities in Medieval Frisia”

Chapter five, Fangzhe Qiu, “Law, Law-Books and Tradition in Early Medieval Ireland”


Part II: Law & Society

Chapter six, Jan Van Doren, “De Divortio et de Resignatione: A Case of Carolingian Legal Precedent?”

Chapter seven, Lucy Hennings, “Reading the Law in Royal Government: Ius Commune Texts and Administrative Mentalities in Thirteenth-Century England”

Chapter eight, Katherine J. Har, “Discussing London and the Regnum Anglorum after the 1204 Loss of Normandy”

Chapter nine, Francesco Sangriso, “The Inviolable Right: Property and Power in Medieval Scandinavian Laws and Society”


Part III: Legal Practice

Chapter ten, Sonia Colafrancesco, “Juridicial Dualism in Medieval Southern Italy: Studies on the Codex Diplomaticus Cavensis

Chapter eleven, Petar Parvanov, “Mortuary Proxies: Archaeological Contextualization of Medieval Legal Practices”

Chapter twelve, Hannah Burrows, “Expertise and Experience: Nuancing Terms for Legal Practioners in the Íslendingasögur

Chapter thirteen, Daniela Fruscione, “Two Lombard Charters and their Writers”


Part IV: Text & Edition

Chapter fourteen, Chiara Simbolotti, “Lombard Juridical Tradition: A New Edition of Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria, MS F.IV.1 fr. 11 (Turin, BNU): A fragment of the Lombarda with Glosses”

Chapter fifteen, Sara Elin Roberts, “‘A Rather Laborious and Harassing Occupation’: The Creation of the Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales (1841)”


The publisher’s details on the book can be found here: Law | Book | Culture in the Middle Ages | Brill

No comments: