Römisches Recht im Karolingerreich. Studien zur Überlieferungs- und Rezeptionsgeschichte der 'Epitome Aegidii'

Trump, Dominik
Quellen und Forschungen zum Recht im Mittelalter (13)
Ostfildern 2021: Jan Thorbecke Verlag
Anzahl Seiten
340 S.
€ 43,00
Rezensiert für H-Soz-Kult von
Thom Gobbitt, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften

Trump’s monograph places the Epitome Aegidii in its early medieval, manuscript contexts. The text is an epitome of the Lex Romana Visigothorum, which, as Trump notes at the outset, has tended to receive only passing scholarly attention, which in turn has diminished scholarly understanding of a major facet in the ways that Roman Law was known, studied and used in the early medieval period. Too often the history of law has focused on evidence for the „big“ texts of Roman law, or rather their absence, laying the groundwork for their dwindling and subsequent recovery in the Central Middle Ages. More important, however, is to explore the legal texts which were actually present and how they were engaged with. Dominik Trump’s study, arising from his doctoral research, therefore is a highly welcome scholarly contribution to the field, which provides a substantial body of information to open the field and lays the foundations for future research in multiple, interlocking academic fields including the history of the book, the history of law and medieval studies as a whole. Trump acknowledges the limitations of the study in the summary himself, although these are framed as directions for future research including the content of glosses in one manuscript which are written in Tironian notes and fell out of the scope of the underlying project.

One element of Trump’s study, that recurs throughout the book, is his assessment of the reliability and scope of Gustav Hänel’s edition of the Epitome Aegidii published in 1849.1 Trump’s overall assessment of Hänel’s previous edition is that the text itself is good, while the apparatus is lacking in comparison to modern approaches and needs. As Trump observes, Hänel’s edition was limited to two main witnesses: the 1517 print of Petrus Aegidius and the twelfth or thirteenth-century manuscript Paris, MS Lat 4696. Consequently, there is a pressing need to take in a fuller range of manuscripts, especially when considering the transmission of the text in the earlier period. This book does not present that new edition – nor does it intend to – but instead provides a thorough survey, in which a wide range of the relevant materials are gathered together. It thus lays the foundations for preparing such an edition, and presents focused case-studies, including a sample edition of one title from the Epitome Aegidii, Codex Theodosianus, No. 3.5, De sponsalibus et ante nuptias donationibus (3.5, pp. 186–195).

The Introduction (chapter 1, pp. 9–35), provides a concise outlying of the background to the study, with discussion of the overall methodology and a brief review of previous scholarship, in particular Hänel’s edition, as well as the editions of other laws that became part of the Epitome. The introduction also reviews extant scholarship on Roman Law in the Carolingian period, as the backdrop against which this specific text was transmitted and developed. The introduction concludes with a review of the inconclusive evidence for where and when the Epitome Aegidii may have been first prepared. This brief discussion then lays the foundations for the main body of the study, which progresses through three logically ordered chapters that take a manuscript-led stance to assess the Epitome Aegidii: catalogue descriptions of the witnesses (chapter 2), an examination of the transmission history of the Epitome Aegidii (Chapter 3), then turning to the reception of the Epitome Aegidii in other manuscripts (Chapter 4). The study finishes with a summary (chapter 5), and various bibliographic information on sources and scholarship, including a concordance table (chapter 8) cross-referencing the witnesses by shelf-mark, Trump’s sigil and Hänel’s numbering. The volume concludes with a pair of indices, one for the manuscripts referred to throughout the volume, the other for people and texts. Both are useful finding aids and facilitate navigation of what is otherwise a densely packed, informative volume.

The catalogue of manuscripts (Chapter 2, pp. 37–130) gives a succinct overview of each of the textual witnesses of the Epitome Aegidii, beginning with the 1517 print of Petrus Aegidius (No. 2.1 in the catalogue), then followed by a further twenty-three witnesses arranged in alphabetical order by shelf-mark (Nos 2.2–24). The descriptions are in a consistent form throughout, comprising first a brief summary of the manuscripts: date, origin, provenance, number of folios and foliation – but unfortunately with no outline of the collation of quires which would be useful form a codicological stance, average dimensions of the page and writing area, number of ruled horizontal lines, and a comment on the binding. Each summary ends with naming the manuscript contexts, that is other texts travelling alongside the Epitome Aegidii. This is then followed by a detailed cataloguing of the contents of the Epitome Aegidii by folio, detailing (and usually transcribing) the paratextual features in each manuscript, and with notes on specific features that stand out, such as the use of coloured ink, palaeographic features of the scribal hand, traces of use by later readers, and so forth.

The third chapter (pp. 131–197) explores the transmission history of the Epitome Aegidii. It seeks to identify textual variants within the manuscripts, in terms of which manuscripts are related (textually close) to each other, rather than determining specific dependencies in the transmission or constructing a stemma. Trump clarifies here that the methodology is through close-examination of selected portions of the Epitome Aegidii, rather than of the full text, and consequently further investigation of the full text across all manuscripts will likely reveal even more complex organisation within the manuscripts. The findings here are work in progress, laying the foundations for a future edition, but I think it is more than fair to say that they already comprise a substantial scholarly contribution in their own right. The identification of relational groups makes significant progress compared to Hänel’s edition in the nineteenth century, in which only major deviances were noted, and as Trump observes, Hänel’s references to the specific manuscripts were limited and somewhat vague. Trump identifies four main groups (pp. 134–135), but with sub-groups within them depending on whether individual versions are closer to or further from a core group. In all, the sense that scribes and/or commissioners of books were actively updating and adapting the Epitome becomes quickly apparent. A quick comparison of the identified groups to the dates given for the manuscripts shows that three groups already appear in manuscripts dated to the ninth century, while group 4 only appears from the tenth century onwards.

Chapter 4 (pp. 199–290) brings attention to the reception of the Epitome Aegidii. Beginning with the citation of individual titles in (4.1) legal manuscripts and (4.2) a wider range of juristic and juridic sources. As Trump notes in his conclusion, the study here has been hindered somewhat by the lack of a thorough cataloguing of citations of Roman law in early medieval manuscripts of Canon Law (p. 293) – again limitations of this study are balanced with the outlining of future research directions. The chapter concludes with five case studies of specific ninth-century manuscripts. These include transcriptions of glosses and/or signs of use by users, especially the large number of nota signs in Vatican City, MS Reg. Lat. 991, and are a timely contribution, fitting in with broader changes in scholarly focus on glossography and the study of early medieval manuscripts (see the works of Mariken Teeuwen2 and Evina Steinová3 and the members of the Network for the Study of Glossing4). The provision of edited glosses from even a selection of the manuscripts of the Epitome Aegidii will be of benefit to other researchers working on the history of law in the ninth century, as Trump notes the glosses to the Epitome Aegidii have received relatively little attention in previous scholarship, in part because they have not previously been edited (p. 222). In all, then, Trump’s study of the Epitome Aegidii is already in itself a valuable contribution to the study of Roman law and Carolingian legal culture, which will vitalise this field even as it anticipates the researcher’s future directions and signals how much work remains to be done.

1 Gustav Hänel (ed.), Lex Romana Visigothorum. Ad LXXVI librorum manu scriptorum fidem recognovit, septem eius antiquis epitomis, quae praeter duas adhuc ineditae sunt, titulorum explanatione auxit, annotatione, appendicibus, prolegomenis, Leipzig 1849.
2 Mariken Teeuwen, Marginal Scholarship. Rethinking the Function of Latin Glosses in Early Medieval Manuscripts, in: P. Lendinara / L. Lazzari / C. Di Sciacca (eds.), Rethinking and Recontextualizing Glosses. New Perspectives in the Study of Late Anglo-Saxon Glossography, Turnhout 2011, pp. 19–37; Mariken Teeuwen, Practices of Appropriation: Writing in the Margin, in: Erik Kwakkel / Rodney Thomson (eds.), The European Book in the Twelfth Century, Cambridge 2018, pp. 139–156.
3 Evina Steinová, Notam Superponere Studui: The Use of Annotation Symbols in the Early Middle Ages, Turnhout 2019.
4 Network for the Study of Glossing, <> (07.01.2022).

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