In addition to the traditional five volumes of the Vulgate, the Godefroy editions include a sixth volume that provides various guides to the contents of the first five. Relatively little scholarly attention has been devoted to this volume. We offer here a brief description of the contents, as it appears in our edition of Lyon 1604. What we say here is probably equally applicable to other printings of the Godefroy edition, but we have not checked them to be sure.
The first and largest item in the volume is the Thesaurus Accursianus. It is short notes on the contents of the Accursian gloss in the style of the brief summaries that appear at the beginnings of chapters and titles of many sixteenth-century legal books and which frequently are gathered in alphabetical order at the beginning or end of the book. The summaries are similar to what modern Anglo-American lawyers call ‘head notes’, and like modern head notes, they tend to miss the subtleties in an effort to be concise and to find a ‘rule’. There is another feature of these collection of summaries that is more characteristic of the early modern period than it is of ours: Early modern indexing tends to the literal. Relatively little effort was made to alphabetize according to the main word rather than according whatever happened to be the first word in summary. In this regard our Thesaurus is better than most. The author does seem to have made some effort to identify the key words, which appear in larger type, and to arrange his summaries under them. These key words provide a clue as to what he thought the basic categories were, which are not necessarily the same as those which a modern Romanist or historian of early modern legal thought would think of as the basic categories.
The author of our Thesaurus is one Petrus Brosseus (Pierre Brosse, Pierre La Brosse), a relatively obscure jurist of the late sixteenth century. He was probably fairly young at the time. He dedicates his work to his father, who is described as councilor of the duke of Savoy, and seems to be very much alive. The dedicatory epistle is dated 1 February 1589.
The Thesaurus is followed by what is described as Index antiquae et novae legum interpretationis, also by Petrus Brosseus. This is a bibliographical guide to each element in the Corpus Iuris. All, or virtually all, of the leges are listed (sometimes broken down to the level of the paragraphus, accompanied by citations of the jurists after the glossators who had commented on this particular law, roughly from Bartolus to Brosseus’ own day. It is, of course, incomplete, but it is quite fulsome. It is a bit longer than just the citations would warrant because Brossueus includes almost all the leges even if he found no commentary on them. The citations to works on both the Digest and the Code are extensive. Those on the Code and the following parts may have originally been composed separately, because they bear a different title: Remissiones in Codicem, etc., but the nature of the work is the same. The Remissiones in Authenticas are disappointing; only the first collatio is included, though the authentics incorporated in the code are fully indexed. The work closes with a quite full list of remissiones on the two books of the Consuetudines Feudorum.
The Index is followed by a work called Notarum ad Accursium libri miscellanei, written by one Joannes Hennequin (Jean Hennequin). The dedicatory epistle to Claudius Hennequin, who is described as lord of ‘Berminville’1 and councilor of the king, is also dated 1 February 1589. The Notae, which are also described as animadversiones, is a highly critical commentary on the Accursian gloss, gloss by gloss, written from a humanist perspective.
It is well known that the humanists, as a general matter, had no use for the glossators. They regarded the glossators’ Latin as insufficiently classical, their scholarship insufficiently grounded in study of the early manuscripts, and their learning uniformed by what could be learned from classical literature. By the time we reach Hennequin we may note a certain ambivalence. He prefaces his work with a brief page entitled De authoritate Glossae quaedam Doctorum testimonia, in which he recites the high regard that the practitioners of the mos italacus had for the gloss, and he does not say that they were wrong.
This ambivalence is even more obvious in the concluding work in the volume: Benedictorum Accursii liber singularis. The author never says that he is Hennequin, but he probably is. The title Benedicta (in the sense of ‘good sayings’ rather than ‘blessings’, but the ambiguity may be intentional) is taken from a work ascribed by Pomponius to the obscure Republican jurist Cascelius. The Benedicta is much shorter than the Notae, but it is in the same style. It goes on for several pages pointing out glosses in which Accursius ‘got it right’ from a humanist point of view.
The value of both works lies in their detail. It gathers together in one place both the humanists’ criticisms of specific glosses and also their occasional praise of specific glosses. Today, while we may admire the humanists’ learning, we also may regard them as insufficiently appreciative of the considerable imagination that both the glossators and the practitioners of the mos italicus brought to making the classical law useable as law in their own day.
The pagination of volume 6 of Lyon 1604 poses some challenges. The Thesaurus is not paginated; we have identified the pages by signature numbers. The alphabetical running heads provide a good guide to the lemmata. The Index is paginated (with one error, noted below) up through page 244, where at the beginning of signature y, it turns to column numbering, only to turn back to pagination, at page 343 (start of signature bb), the preceding column numbers being awkwardly adjusted to make them fit (noted in the metadata in the page delivery service). The Remissiones in Codicem begin again with page 1 (signature aa [bis], another indication that this work may have previously had a separate life. The Notae begin with unpaginated front matter (identified by their signature number). Pagination begins with page 1 and continues consistently to the end of the volume.