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Report No. a307

Lateran III, Council: Canones



Alternative Names

Decrees of the Third Lateran Council; Canons of the Third Lateran Council



The canons or decrees of the Third Lateran Council presided over by Alexander III in 1179. The exact number and order of the canons remains difficult to decipher; Alexander III did not seem to promulgate an official version, and various traditions of the canons emerged, although the content remains strikingly similar. The modern editions have organized them into 27 canons. They were copied in numerous manuscripts of narrative sources (four chronicles), decretal collections (at least 26), and other materials, including copies of Gratian’s Decretum. With a few exceptions, they were taken up in the Compilatio prima (c.1190) and then the Liber Extra (1234).



No. 1

Lateran III, Council: Canones.


Text(s) – Manuscripts

No. 1

Lateran III, Council: Canones.


Berlin, Staatsbibl. Savigny 3 (extracts; see Summerlin, ‘Three Manuscripts’)


Città del Vaticano, BAV Reg. lat. 596, fols. 6v–8v (incomplete)


Città del Vaticano, BAV Reg. lat. 984 (contains all but c.13; see Summerlin, ‘Three Manuscripts’)


Firenze, Bibl. Riccard. 288


Innsbruck, Universitätsbibl. 90 (appended to Decretum Gratiani)


London, BL Cotton Claudius A.iv (extracts; see Summerlin, ‘Three Manuscripts’)


Text(s) – Modern Editions

No. 1

Lateran III, Council: Canones.

Modern Editions

Ed. K. Pennington and A. Larson in ‘Concilium lateranense III 1179’, COGD, 2.1 (2013) 115–147.



D. Summerlin, ‘Using the Canons of the 1179 Lateran Council’, in Rechtshandschriften des deutschen Mittelalters: Produktionsorte und Importwege: Tagungsband des Arbeitsgesprächs an der Herzog August Bibliothek (Juni 2010), G. Drossbach and P. Carmassi, ed. (Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien 29; Wiesbaden 2015) 245–260.

D. Summerlin, ‘The Reception and Authority of Conciliar Canons in the Later-Twelfth Century: Alexander III’s 1179 Lateran Canons and their Manuscript Context’, ZRG KA, 100 (2014) 112–131.

A. Larson, ‘Introduction to ‘Concilium Lateranense III (1179)’, in The Medieval General Councils: From Constantinople IV (869/870) to Basle–Florence–Rome (1431–1445), A. Melloni, ed. (CCCOGD 2; Turnhout 2013) 117–24.

D. Summerlin, ‘Three Manuscripts Containing the Canons of the 1179 Lateran Council’, BMCL, 13 (2013) 21–43. (The manuscripts contain texts that vary from the textus receptus.)

J. Brundage, ‘The Limits of the War–Making Power: The Contribution of Medieval Canonists’, in Peace in a Nuclear Age: The Bishops’ Pastoral Letter in Perspective, C. Reid, ed. (Washington DC 1986) 76–79. Reprinted in: idem, The Crusades, Holy War and Canon Law (Collected Studies CS 338; Aldershot 1991) no. XI.

G. Fransen, ‘Les canonistes et Latran III’, in Le troisème concile de Latran (1179) Sa place dans l’histoire, communications, présentées a la Table Ronde du CNRS le 26 avril 1980 et réunies par Jean Longère 1982 33–40.