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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. t247

Ludovicus Bolognus

1446–1508

 

Alternative Names

Lodovico Bolognini

 

Biography/Description

L. was born into a family originally from Lucca, the members of which had long been citizens of Bologna. The family were one of the most important and richest in Bologna, connected to the merchant class in sympathy and financially. L. completed his legal studies at the Bolognese studium under Alexander Tartagnus and Andreas Barbatius, receiving his doctorate in civil law in 1469, and that in canon law in 1470. L. taught at Bologna at various times throughout his life, lecturing on the Institutes, the Sext, the Clementines, the Code, all three parts of the Digest, and, at the end of his life, the Decretals.

During a brief stay in Ferrara in the 1470s, L. was a judge of appeals there. At the Roman Curia (probably in 1486–89) he was a consistorial advocate, an office that he continued to hold by the authority of Innocent VIII after he had left Roma. He was one of the judges of the ‘Anziani Consoli’ in Bologna in 1479, 1487, 1493, and 1506. In 1482 and 1493, he was a judge of the ‘Foro dei Mercanti’. In 1496, he was part of the ‘Gonfalonieri del Popolo,’ who from that year were also called ‘Tribuni della Plebe’. In 1494, on the eve of the Italian wars, the king of France, Charles VIII, named L. a councillor. During the lordship of the Bentivoglio, L. was never among the authoritative ‘Sedici Riformatori dello Stato di Libertà’, but when Julius II ousted the Bentivoglio (1506), he replaced the Sedici with the ‘magistratura dei Quaranta’, of which L. was a member. In the five years of his stay in Firenze, between 1501 and 1505, L. was judge of the Rota and podestà in 1503.

L. legated his patrimonial library to the Libraria nova of San Domenico, a testimony to his ties with the Dominican order, although the Libraria nova ultimately got only a part of L’s library. In 1496, when the ‘mal francese’ was discovered in the Italian peninsula, L. was active along with others in the restoring the hospital of San Lorenzo dei Guerrini, later called San Giobbe, for the treatment of syphilis patients. His pro-papal position did not prevent him from defending the city’s jurisdiction when Julius II wanted to subjugate it completely to his legate. In 1507, at the height of the Italian wars, he was twice appointed ambassador to Louis XII, with the mission to convince the king of France to abandon the Bentivolesco party. From Lyon, where he was in February 1508, L. returned to Roma in May to report to the pope. But at the beginning of July, struck by illness, he left for Bologna. He got worse and had to stop in Firenze in the convent of San Miniato, where he died on 27 July.

Among the many works of which L. was the author or editor, the repetitiones on fragments of the Corpus Iuris Civilis are connected with his teaching and were printed in Ferrara and Venezia in 1475; in Bologna in 1476, 1481, 1490, 1492, 1494, and 1495. They are also found in the Lyon collection of repetitiones of 1533. In particular, the Repetitio sup. § Cato. l. iiii. ff. de uerbo. obliga. (Dig. 45.1.4.1), published in Bologna at the end of 1490, contained a restoration of that text on the basis of the littera Florentina, about which L. had corresponded with the Florentine humanist Angelo Poliziano. At this point L. realized that philology was required for textual criticism. This realization is evidenced in his handwritten notes, dating from 1501–02 while he was in Firenze, on an incunabulum of the Digestum novum (Venezia 1489) (now in Bologna, Bibl. dell’Archiginnasio, 16. D. I. 14). Much textual criticism is contained in his manuscript notebooks, formerly at San Domenico and now in the Archiginnasio (B. 1415, B. 1416, B. 1417, B. 1418 and B. 1567). Among these B.1418 stands out, a first draft of a project to transcribe the Florentine Pandects, a project not realized until the Torelli edition of 1553. L’s two volumes of Interpretationes novae (Bologna 1494–95, 1497) are also dedicated to textual criticism of the legal books. Since the sixteenth century, the quality of L’s work has been the subject of unflattering judgments. Recently, the harshness of those judgments has been questioned (Murano, Balbi). More recently, D. Osler, (‘Petere fontes’, 43–44) accuses L. of having mixed in his notebooks genuine readings from the littera Florentina with conjectural emendations of his own without making clear which were which, but Osler saves his most trenchant criticism for what Alciatus did with those notebooks and does not attempt to assess L’s work as a whole.

In 1486 and 1489, L. published two works on canon law: Syllogianthon, seu Collectio florum in Decretum and De indulgentiis (TUI 1584, t. 14), and, again in 1489, one in utroque iure, the Forma arboris consanguinitatis secundum ius canonicum et civile. In 1499, a volume of his Consilia was published; it had numerous subsequent editions (Venezia 1504 and 1576, Lyon 1556 and 1597, Frankfurt 1597).

L. was also the editor of works of others. In 1475 he published the Consilia of Nicolaus de Tudeschis (Panormituanus) and in 1481 those of his teacher Alexander Tartagnus, to which he added a repertorium (1484) in which he devised new criteria for indexing. Both collections were many times reprinted. In 1495, L. published the Consilia of Johannes de Imola. He edited (Bologna 1489, Torino 1490) the collection recently called the Tractatus deorum: De successionibus ab intestato by Matthaeus de Mathesilanis; De beneficiorum permutatione by Petrus de Ubaldis senior; De translatione Concilii Basileae ad civitatem Ferrarie of Cataldinus de Boncompagnis; the quaestio of Signorolus de Homodeis De praecedentia doctoris et militis; and De materia tormentorum by Guido de Suzaria.

Finally, a long and elaborate allegatio on the validity of the statutes of the universitas mercatorum, written in 1482 while L. was a judge of the ‘Foro dei Mercanti’, survives in manuscript (Bologna, Bibl. Univ. Lat. 897) and a work on the Privilegium Theodosii pro universitate Bononiae concessum survives in print (Bologna 1491).

Source: A. De Benedictis, in DGI.

TUI database