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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. c016


fl. 1175–c.1210


Alternative Names

Pilius; Pillio da Medicina; Pillius Medicinensis



Civilian jurist born in Medicina on the outskirts of Bologna; student of Odericus and probably also Placentinus. He faced conflicting demands for his teaching in Bologna and Bologna’s rival, Modena. P. is first recorded in Bologna in 1169 and is known to have taught there in the late 1170s. He himself recalled that, after a call to Modena, Bologna made him take an oath to remain there to teach for two years. Modena then improved its offer and drew P. there before 1181, making him the first certain professor of law there. He remained there, with few or no interruptions, until at least 1201. Active as legal adviser and judge, as was common for law professors, but in Modena managed to avoid the requirements on most professors to serve as legal counsel in matters of the commune. Judge at imperial court in 1192; represented several ecclesiastical institutions. Possibly returned to Bologna later in life, where he appears in a document in 1207. Possibly lived until 1213. Students are unknown; survived by two sons.

P. was one of most original and prolific jurists. He thought very highly of himself and his work and was at times highly dismissive of the opinions of others. His two great accomplishments and contributions were (1) the first large-scale, nearly complete treatment of ius ciuile independent of the order followed in the Corpus iuris ciuilis (in his Libellus disputatorius) and (2) the first coherent apparatus on the Libri feudorum (LF). His pioneering work on the LF , which connected them to the Novellae had great impact for legitimizing feudal customs and granting them equivalent status in the ius commune. His works lean more to the practical than to the abstract and are written in an elegant style. His siglum is ‘Pi’, ‘Py’, ‘pi’, ‘py M.’, or ‘pyl.’



No. 01

Libellus disputatorius, 1175–90, 1195. Two recensions, the first dated 1175–90, the second c.1195. As yet unedited. In the form of brocardica listing general propositions and sources pro and contra each one.

No. 02

Glossae ad Corpus iuris ciuilis.

No. 03

Apparatus ad Libros feudorum. incomplete; omits tit. 2.39–57[58].

No. 04

Summa feudorum. Original is lost, but traces of it remain in the augmented version composed by Iacopo Colombi (acc. to Seckel) or Accursius (acc. to Weimar).

No. 05

Summa de uiolento possessore, ante 1190. First summa or tractatus on the topic of the various suits and prohibitions against violent possession. Incipit Cum varie multiplicesque.

No. 06

Summa in Tres libros, c.1180–92. Continuation of the work of Placentinus done, by Pillius’s report, at the request of Placentinus; covers Cod. 11.39–11.40. The work follows the summa style of Johannes Bassianus, where the material of each title is treated collectively, not broken down into individual laws.

No. 07

Summa de testibus, post 1185. Brief procedural work; not printed. Incipit Quoniam in iudiciis frequentissime.

No. 08

Summa de reorum exceptionibus, 1185–93. Incipit ‘Precibus et instantia’; first monographic treatment of the requirements and impediments to legal cases, both criminal and civil. Later incorporated into a popular Compendium by Bagarottus.

No. 09

Summa ‘Cum essem Mutinae’, ant. 1198. In the form of quaestiones; P.’s authorship has been questioned, although Fowler-Magerl believes it could have been written by a student P. if not by P. himself.

No. 10

Summula ‘De tutoribus et curatoribus conueniendis’. Incomplete.

No. 11

Quaestiones sabbatinae, 1186–95. Collection of 138 questions presenting claims of the plaintiff and of the defendant accompanied by a solution. Highly praised work that also advanced the genre of the quaestio. Begun in Bologna; completed in Modena.

No. 12

Quaestiones ad Codicem. Survives as glosses in a Parisian manuscript, but originally a self-standing work to supplement the apparatus to the Codex.

No. 13

Distinctiones, 1192–95. Collection of distinctions, most of which P. probably wrote himself; most distinctions surviving in a single manuscript is 74.


Text(s) – Early Printed Editions

No. 11

Quaestiones sabbatinae, 1186–95.

Early Printed Editions

Pilii Medicinensis Quaestiones sabbatinae. Roma, 1560.


Text(s) – Modern Editions

No. 03

Apparatus ad Libros feudorum.

Modern Editions

Ed. A. Rota in ‘L’apparato di Pillio alle Consuetudines feudorum e il Ms 1004 dell’Archivio di Stato di Roma’, Studi e memorie per la storia dell’Università di Bologna, 14 (1938) 1–170.

No. 05

Summa de uiolento possessore.

Modern Editions

Ed. P. Weimar in ‘Tractatus de violento possessore “Cum uarie multiplicesque” a Pilio Medicinensi compositus’, Ius Commune, 1 (1967) 84–103.

No. 07

Summa de testibus.

Modern Editions

Ed. Y. Mausen in ‘Pillius, Quoniam in iuditiis’, Forum historiae iuris (2008). (Available online..)

No. 08

Summa de reorum exceptionibus.

Modern Editions

Ed. H. Hoehne in ‘Pilii Medicinensis Summula de reorum exceptionibus “precibus et instantia’, Ius commune, 9 (1980) 139–209.

No. 09

Summa ‘Cum essem Mutinae’.

Modern Editions

Summa ‘Cum essem Mutinae’ (Qualiter debeat concipi libellus), ed. U. Nicolini (Bari 1936).

No. 11

Quaestiones sabbatinae.

Modern Editions

Pilii Medicinensis Quaestiones sabbatinae, ed. A. Converso (Corpus glossatorum iuris civilis 4.1; Torino 1967) (repr. of ed. Roma 1560).


Pilii Medicinensis Quaestiones sabbatinae, ed. U. Nicolini (Modena 1935; repr. 1946).

No. 12

Quaestiones ad Codicem.

Modern Editions

Ed. A. Padoa Schioppa in ‘Le “Quaestiones super Codice” di Pillio da Medicina’, SDHI, 39 (1973) 262–80.



M. Mordini, ‘Il recesso nei contratti bilaterali e la definizione del feudo come “contractus gratia utriusque contrahentis” (sec. XIIex.-XIIIin.)’, RIDC, 29 (2018) 74.

E. Cortese, ‘Pillio da Medicina’, in DGI (2013) 2.1587–90.

H. Lange, Glossatoren 226–36.

P. Weimar, ‘Pilius, Bologneser Zivilrechtslehrer (um 1150 – nah 1207)’, in LMA (1993) 6.2159.

L. Fowler-Magerl, Ordo iudiciorum vel ordo iudiciarius: Begriff und Literaturgattung (Ius commune: Sonderhefte 19; Frankfurt a.M. 1984) 183–98.

P. Colliva, ‘Pillio da Medicina (…1169–1207…) nei suoi problematici rapporti con lo studio ed il comune di Bologna’, Clio, 18 (1982) 190–99. Reprinted in: idem, Scritti minori (Milano 1996) 613–26.

A. Belloni, ‘Le collezioni delle “Quaestiones” di Pillio da Medicina’, Ius Commune, 9 (1980) 7–137.

H. Hoehne, ‘Pilii Medicinensis Summula de reorum exceptionibus “precibus et instantia”’, Ius Commune, 9 (1980) 139–209.

G. Santini, Università e società nel XII secolo: Pillio da Medicina e lo Studio di Modena. Tradizione e innovazione nella scuola dei Glossatori. Chartularium Studii Mutinensis (Regesta) (Specimen 1069–1200) (Pubblicazioni della Facoltà di Giurisprudenza dell Università di Modena 143, n.s. 78; Modena 1979) 161–206.

J. Fried, Die Entstehung des Juristenstandes im 12. Jahrhundert (Köln 1974) 188–89.

A. Padoa Schioppa, ‘Le “Quaestiones super Codice” di Pillio da Medicina’, SDHI, 39 (1973) 239–80.

P. Torelli, ‘Per una edizione integrale delle opere di Pillio’, in Scritti di storia del diritto italiano (Seminario giuridico della Università di Bologna 21; Milano 1959) 215–25.

C. Lefebvre, ‘Pillius de Medicina’, in DDC (1957) 6.1499–1502.

U. Nicolini, Pilii Medicinensis quaestiones sabbatinae: Introduzione all’edizione critica (Modena 1933).

E. Seckel and E. Genzmer, ‘Über die dem Pillius zugeschriebene summa iudiciorum “Invocato Christi nomine”’, Sitzungsberichte der preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin, phil.-hist. Klasse, 17 (1931) 283–417.

H. Kantorowicz, ‘Eine Gesamtausgabe von Pillius in Vorbereitung’, ZRG Rom. Abt., 50 (1930) 470–75.

H. Kantorowicz, ‘Kritische Studien: Pillius und die Schule von Modena’, ZRG Rom. Abt., 49 (1929) 55–56, 73–80.

P. Torelli, ‘Distinctiones’ di Pillio nei codici Vaticani Chigiani E.VII.211 e 218 (Pubblicazioni della Facoltà di giurisprudenza della Università di Modena 29; Modena 1928)). Reprinted in: idem, Scritti di storia del diritto italiano (Seminario giuridico della Università di Bologna 21; Milano 1959) 227–62.

E. Vicini, ‘Ancora sulla data del primo insegnamento di Pillio a Modena’, Annali dell’Università di Modena (1926/27).

F. von Savigny, Geschichte 4.312–53.