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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. a276

Innocent IV

born before 1200; pope 1243–54


Alternative Names

Innocent IV, Pope (LC); Catholic Church. Pope [1243-1254: Innocent IV] (also LC); Sinibaldus Fliscus; Sinibaldo de’Fieschi; Sinibaldo Fieschi



Born in Genoa before 1200. Innocent studied law Parma and perhaps at Bologna Some accounts say that, early in his career, Innocent taught law in Bologna, but there is no evidence of this. He worked as a jurist at the papal curia from 1226 and was for some time the auditor of the court of audientia litterarum contradictarum. I. was made a cardinal by Pope Gregory IX in 1227. He was elected Pope in 1243 after a long, rancorous vacancy following the brief pontificate of Celestine IV (1241). Innocent IV died on December 7, 1254 in Naples.

Innocent IV’s pontificate was notable for three things: a decisive struggle with the Emperor Frederick II, the Pope’s extended absence from Rome, and for his contributions to the canon law. Innocent presided over the first general council of Lyon, in which the pope deposed Frederick II in absentia, and in which a number of important canons reforming aspects of ecclesiastical law and administration were enacted.

As a jurist, Innocent IV wrote a lengthy and extremely influential Apparatus on the Decretals of Gregory IX, which he worked on over a long period of time and was finished c.1245. He prepared three collections of his own decretals, which included the constitutions of Lyon I (Novelle Innocentii quarti). Innocent also wrote commentaries on his novelle, including an authoritative commentary on the Lyon deposition decree of Frederick II (Ad apostolicae dignitatis apicem, VI 2.14.2). An Ordo iudiciarius exists which, at least in an early form, has been attributed to Innocent IV, but it seems very doubtful that he wrote such a work (cf. entry Exceptiones contra litteras et priuilegia). There is still no certainty that Innocent wrote the polemical tract ‘Eger cui lenia(levia)’. William of Ockham thought that he did, but Ockham is a late witness.



No. 1

Apparatus in quinque libros decretalium.

No. 2

Constitutiones of First Council of Lyon = Novelle Innocentii quarti. A=first collection [1245], B=second collection [1246], C=Third Collection [1253].

No. 3

Prologus Novellarum Decretalium.

No. 4

De exceptionibus.


Text(s) – Manuscripts

No. 1

Apparatus in quinque libros decretalium.


Arras, BM 2


Bamberg, Staatsbibl. Can. 00 [P.I.24]


Bamberg, Staatsbibl. Can. 00 [P.III.23]


Berlin, Staatsbibl. lat. fol. 210


Wrocław, Bibl. Univ. II.F.46


Bologna, Arch. Stato 220, fol. 3ra–283vb


Halle, Universitäts- u. Landesbibl. Ye. fol. 56


Hildesheim, Dombibl. Nr. 1.5


Klosterneuberg, Stiftsbibl. 100


Laon, BM 4


Leipzig, Universitätsbibl. 997–999


München, BSB Clm 3892


München, BSB Clm 6350


München, BSB Clm 15704


Paris, BN lat. 8925


Paris, BN lat. 8926


Praha, Univ. Knihovna VII.B.8


Troyes, BM 1


Città del Vaticano, BAV Urb. lat. 157


Città del Vaticano, BAV Vat. lat. 1443


Wien, ÖNB 2072


Wien, ÖNB 2086


Wien, ÖNB 2097


Wien, ÖNB 2100


Wien, ÖNB 2242

No. 2

Constitutiones of First Council of Lyon = Novelle Innocentii quarti.


Cambridge, MA, Harvard Law 71, fol. 1–11


s-Gravenhage, Koninklijke Bibl. 73.E.14, fol. 230r–235r (A and B combined)


Oxford, Bodleian Libr. lat. th. d. 32 (incomplete)


Wien, ÖNB 2056


Wien, ÖNB 2065 (with glosses)


Wien, ÖNB 2073


Wien, ÖNB 2181 (with glosses)


Wien, ÖNB 2189 (fragment)

No. 3

Prologus Novellarum Decretalium.


Wien, ÖNB 2083


Text(s) – Early Printed Editions

No. 1

Apparatus in quinque libros decretalium.

Early Printed Editions

Strasbourg, 1478 (Hain 9191) (online).


Venezia, 1478 (online).


Venezia, 1481 (Hain 9192). Incomplete.


Venezia, 1491 (Hain 9193) (online).


Venezia, 1495 (Hain 9194) (online).


Paris, 1514 (online).


Lyon, 1525.


Venezia, 1570.


Frankfurt, 1570 (online). Reprint Frankfurt am Main 1968.

No. 2

Constitutiones of First Council of Lyon = Novelle Innocentii quarti.

Early Printed Editions

De sponsalibus. (Hain 1073–74).

No. 4

De exceptionibus.

Early Printed Editions

Tractatus universi iuris. Venezia: F. Ziletti, 1584, 3.2.104ra.



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