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Report No. t221

Matthaeus de Afflictis

1447 X 1450 – 1529


Alternative Names

Matthaeus ab Afflictis; Matteo D’Afflitto; Matteo d’Afflitto; Afflito, Matteo d’



M. was the son of Marino of a well-known family originally from Scala (prov. Salerno) on the Amalfi coast. The branch to which M. belonged had been in Napoli since the early 15th century and produced a series of high magistrates and officers of the crown, including Leonardo who was the grand chancellor of King Ladislao. M. studied law under Antonio d’Alessandro. In 1468, he received his doctorate in civil law and, somewhat after, that in canon law. M. attracted the attention of the Aragonese monarchy early in his career. Although he never held a professorship, he lectured in civil, royal, and feudal law, for over twenty years, for which he received a royal stipend. In 1488, while M. was simply a practicing lawyer, the future King Alfonso [II] invited him to offer his opinion on a case before the Regio Consiglio. In 1489 he was appointed judge of the Gran Corte della Vicaria, and in 1491 he became president of the Gran Camera della Sommaria. During the French occupation in 1495, M. remained in the Sommaria, faithful to the house of Aragon. He was named to the Regio Consiglio when Ferdinando II was restored to power in that year. During the reign of Louis XII of France, M. was removed from the Consiglio and the Sommaria in 1501. In this year or the next, he managed to obtain the noble Seggio di Nido (Sedile di Nilo).

When the Spanish displaced the French in the Regno in 1504, M. was restored to his positions on the Consiglio and the Sommaria. But in 1506, Ferdinand the Catholic dismissed him from his judicial offices and also expelled him from the Seggio di Nido, for reasons that remain obscure. He was appointed to a magistracy in Vicaria in 1512. He probably served on the Sommaria during at least some of the last years of life, but he was never restored to the Consiglio, and he seems to have devoted most of his time to giving consilia and to writing. His death date is unclear; he was certainly dead by April of 1529.

M’s scholarly production was large, and not all of his known works, notably his consilia, have yet been found, and some survive only in manuscript. Between 1475 and 1480, he wrote a commentary on the feudal law while he was lecturing on that topic. His work addressed the Aragonese monarchy’s need to distinguish between feudal and royal jurisdiction, between fiefdom and office, because the monarchy was focused on the latter. The commentary reflects the monarchy’s anti-feudal ideology. M. is known to have revised the work around 1505.

M’s Tractatus de jure prothomiseos probably dates from the same period. The term, derived from Greek ‘protimesis’, describes an institution similar to the French retrait lignagier or the German Einstandrecht. The work is an extended commentary on a constitution of Frederick II on the topic. It was published in Venezia in 1499 along with the treatise on the same topic by Baldus and reprinted a number of times in the 16th century.

While M. was on the Consiglio, he compiled a well-known collection of its Decisiones (1st ed. 1509), which was published with the help of his cousin Michele, another high magistrate, and many times reprinted, frequently with decisions of the same court by other reporters.

M. began a commentary to the Liber augustalis of Frederick II in 1510 and completed it in 1514. The first-known edition was printed in Trino (prov. Vercelli) in 1517. This writing linked M. inextricably to Frederick II and was intended to supplant previous commentaries on the Liber augustalis. Vallone quotes a description of it as ‘the last great voice of the Guelph regalism of the Angevin tradition and the Aragonese connection’. M. embedded his commentary in the editio princeps of the Liber augustalis of 1475, or, perhaps, the second edition of 1506, collating it with manuscripts. Almost all the printed editions of the Liber augustalis after his time use M’s summaries of the titles of the work.

M’s most important work that remains in manuscript is a repetitio, Super c. unico de natura successionis feudi (LF 2.50), dated 1520.

(There are a few more biographical details in the TUI 1584 database. We list here M’s published works in chronological order from Vallone’s article in DBI and refer the reader to his arguments there for the chronology. The bibliography is confined to works published since 1900. Works that antedate 1900 may be found in the extensive bibliographies in DBI and DGI.)

Source: G. Vallone, in DGI; G. Vallone in DBI (vol. 31 [1985]).

TUI database



No. 01

Commentaria super tribus libris feudorum, 1475 X 1480, rev. ca. 1505.

No. 02

Tractatus de iure prothomiseos sive de iure congrui, 1475 X 1477.

No. 03

Decisiones Sacri Regii Consilii Neapolitani, 1509. Many of the later printed editions contain decisions by others than M., although beginning in 1600 Additiones volumes began to be separately printed.

No. 04

In utriusque Siciliae Neapolisque Sanctiones et Constitutiones novissima Praelectio, 1510 X 1514. Introduction to the Liber augustalis, and commentary thereon.

No. 05

Brevis enumeratio eorum privilegiorum quae sibi Fiscus sumit. A elaboration, based on M’s commentary on the LF.

No. 06

Annotationes to the Consuetudines napolitanae. Brief notes, citing the Decisiones.

No. 07

Arbitral award. Given, according to Vallone, while M. was on the Consiglio, not published until considerably later.

No. 08

Repetitiones. In manuscript only.

No. 09

Consilia. What are said said to be consilia of M. are contained in some editions of the Consuetudines Siciliae listed in Early Editions under No. 06.


Text(s) – Manuscripts

No. 08



Oxford, Bodleian Libr. Canon. Misc. 483 (Item 2) (Dolezalek catalogues as ‘Repetitiones Matthaeus de Afflictis Neapolitanus’.)


Palermo, BC 2 Qq.A.10 (Super c. unico de natura successionis feudi [LF 2.50], dated 1520. Cited by Vallone as no. 85 in the collection.)


Text(s) – Early Printed Editions

No. 01

Commentaria super tribus libris feudorum, 1475 X 1480, rev. ca. 1505.

Early Printed Editions

Sagacissimi ac diligentissimi utriusque iuris interpretis domini Matthei de Afflicto patritii Neapolitani Tria eruditissima volumina super materia feudorum. Napoli, 1531. Italian edit16. Vallone says that the first known edition is Venezia 1543–1547, but this one seems to be earlier.


Lectura aurea super tertio feudorum. Venezia: Ballarinus, 1534. WorldCat, not in edit16. Appears to be LF 3 only, but contains 236 fols.


Commentaria super primo [-tertio] feudorum libro nunc primum in lucem edito. Venezia: al segno della Fontana, 1545 and 1547. Italian edit16.


Matthaeus de Afflictis in primum (-tertium) librum Feudorum. Lyon: apud haeredes Jacobi Juntae, excudebant Petrus Compater et Blasius Guido, 1548. A repertorium was published in the same year, and each liber was also published separately.


Lyon: excudebat Claudius Servanius, 1560 (online).


Frankfurt: Andreas Wechel, 1598. LF 3 only.

No. 02

Tractatus de iure prothomiseos sive de iure congrui, 1475 X 1477.

Early Printed Editions

Venezia: Alouisius et Franciscus de Rubeys, 1499 (GW 448) (online). Also includes a treatise by Baldus de Ubaldis on the same topic. In the editions that we have been able to examine, this treatise is separate from that of M. and follows it.


Venezia: Philippus Pincius Mantuanus, 1504 (online). Looks very much like the editio princeps of 1499. Italian edit16 also notes a reprint by the same printer in 1511.


In Secundum volumen tractatuum diuersorum. Pavia: Giovanni Giolito De Ferrari il vecchio, impressum per magistrum Bernardinum de Garaldis, 1511. Italian edit16 notes a reprint, probably later in the 1510s.


Lyon: per I. Crespin, impensis V. de Portonarijs, 1533.


Venezia: per Bernardinum Bindonum Mediolanensem, 1544. Italian edit16.


?Lyon, 1549.


Venezia: al segno della Fontana, 1555. Italian edit16.


Venezia: al segno della Fontana, 1562 (online). Italian edit16.


Venezia: apud Georgium de Caballis, 1568. Italian edit16.


Venezia: apud Christophorum Zanettum, apud Camillum Francischinum, 1573. Italian edit16.


Frankfurt: apud Nicolaum Bassæum, 1575.


Venezia: apud Dominicum de Farris, 1582. Italian edit16.


Tractatus universi iuris: De iure prothomiseos. Venezia: F. Ziletti, 1584, 17.2ra.


Frankfurt: apud Nicolaum Bassæum, 1588.


Venezia: apud Marcum Antonium Bonibellum, 1597. Italian edit16.

No. 03

Decisiones Sacri Regii Consilii Neapolitani, 1509.

Early Printed Editions

Napoli: per magistrum Ioannem Antonium de Caneo [!] Papiensem, 1509. Italian edit16.


Lyon: Denis de Harsy and/or ?Simon Vincentius, 1533. Denis de Harsay and Antoine Vincent published a tabula of the work in 1534.


Lyon: apud hæredes Iacobi Iuntæ, 1552.


Venezia: al segno della Fontana, 1552. Italian edit16.


Venezia: apud Dominicum Lilium, 1557. Italian edit16.


Venezia, 1563. Italian edit16.


Venezia: apud Hieronymum Caualcalupum, 1564 (online).


D. Caesaris De Vrsillis clariss. i.v.d. Neapolitani Aureae iurium addictiones, annotationes, & quaedam aduertentiae, cum quibusdam nouis decisionibus casibusque in facto contingentibus ad Decisiones Sacri Consilij domini Matthaei de Afflicto. Venezia: expensis dd. Baptistae De Christophoro et Iacobi Anielli de Maria bibliopolarum Parthenopei, 1568. As edit16 makes clear, this ed. includes the Decisiones as well.


Venezia: apud Hieronymum Scotum, 1572.


Frankfurt: S. Feyrabend, 1573 (online).


Venezia: apud Michaelem Bonellum [Giacomo Sansovino], 1575. Italian edit16.


D. Caesaris de Vrsillis clariss. i.v.d. Neapolitani. Aureae iurium addictiones, annotationes, & quaedam aduertentiae, cum quibusdam nouis decisionibus casibusque in facto contingentibus ad Decisiones sacri Consilii d. Matthaei de Afflicto Venetiis. Venezia: expensis d. Baptistae de Christophoro, Iacobi Anielli de Maria, & sociorum bibliopolarum Neapolitanorum, 1575. Italian edit16.


Venezia: apud Ioan. Antonium Bertanum, 1584. Italian edit16.


Venezia: al segno della Concordia, Domenico Farri, 1588.


Venezia: apud Damianum Zenarium, 1596. Italian edit16.


Venezia: apud Paulum Vgolinum, 1596. Italian edit16 suggests that this probably same ed. as those apud heredes Ioan. Varisci and apud haeredes Melchioris Sessae published in Venezia in the same year.


Frankfurt: apud Joan. Feyrabend, 1600.


Lyon: héritiers de Symphorien Beraud, 1608. Online edition available from Proquest by subscription. Vallone counts 35 editions, the last being that of Napoli 1719. As indicated above, we have found 17 prior to 1601.

No. 04

In utriusque Siciliae Neapolisque Sanctiones et Constitutiones novissima Praelectio, 1510 X 1514.

Early Printed Editions

Singularis lectura super omnibus sacris constitutionibus Regnorum utriusque Siciliae citra et ultra. Trino: impensis J. de Ferrari, alias de Jolitis, 1517. Not in WorldCat or edit16. Cited by Vallone in DBI, who suggests, without quite saying, that it contains only M’s introduction. All the items that follow are editions, or partial editions, of the Liber augustalis that contain M’s introduction and summaries.


Milano: Giovanni Giacomo e fratelli da Legnano, 1523. Italian edit16 suggests that it contains libri 1 and 2 only, though the repertorium may contain all three libri.


.  .  . Ad constitvtiones neapolitanas. Lectvra . . . super Consuetudinibus Neapolitani Siculique regni. Lyon: Denis de Harsy, Antoine Vincent, 1533.


Venezia: Aurelio Pincio, 1538. Italian edit16.


Matthaei ab Afflictis .  .  . In primum [-tertium] librum sacrarum constitutionum regni utriusque Siciliae commentarii insignes. Lyon: apud haeredes Jacobi Giuntae, 1550.


Lyon, 1556.


2 vols. Venezia, 1562. Italian edit16.


Venezia: Ioannes Variscus et socii, 1580.


Vol. 1. Venezia: apud Ioan. Variscum et Paganinum de Paganinis, 1588 (online).


Vol. 2. Venezia: apud Ioan. Variscum et Paganinum de Paganinis, 1588 (online).

No. 05

Brevis enumeratio eorum privilegiorum quae sibi Fiscus sumit.

Early Printed Editions

[Jakob Omphal], De officio et potestate principis in republica bene ac sancte gerenda, libri duo: Acc[editur] Brevis enumeratio eorum privilegiorum quae sibi fiscus sumit. Matthaeo de Afflictis autore. Basel: per Joan. Oporinum, 1550, 113–119.

No. 06

Annotationes to the Consuetudines napolitanae.

Early Printed Editions

Consuetudines Neapolitane cum glosis . . . Una cum decisionibus Sacri Regii Consilii Neapolitani, Regie Camere Summarie, ac Magne Curie Vicarie, nec non et excellentum militum virorum illustrium doctorum quondam domini Antonii de Alexandro, domini Mathei de Afflicto et aliorum, cum consiliis excellentum militum virorum illustrium doctorum domini Diomedis Maryconde, domini Mathei de Afflicto et domini Antonini de Viuaya . . . editis per . . . Scipionem Ianuarium Neapolitanum . . . . Napoli: sumptibus et expensis dicti magnifici d. Scipionis, per magistrum Antonium de Frizis Corinaldensem, 1518. Italian edit16. Vallone in DBI cites D. A. De Marinis, Iuris allegationes insignium iurisconsultorum (Venezia 1731) 586–589, the first edition of which he tentatively identifies as being published in 1675, as the first time that M’s decisiones were brought to bear on the Consuetudines. It would seem that it happened earlier. As for M’s consilia that are said to be in this edition, only an examination of the volume, which is not online, would tell what they are.


Consuetudines Neapolitane cum glosis . . . Consilia insuper do. Diomedis Mariconde, do. Mattei de Afflicto, & do. Antonini de Viuaia . . . per ipsummet do. Scipionem Ianuarium compilatum ac editum. Napoli: apud Ioannem Paulum Suganappum in platea Armeriorum, 1546. Italian edit16.

No. 07

Arbitral award.

Early Printed Editions

Scipionis Roviti à Turturella iureconsulti Neapolitani praeclarissimi in singulas Regni Neap. pragmaticas sanctiones luculenta commentaria. Venezia, 1600. First ed. in WorldCat.


Napoli, 1616 (online). The arbitral award is found on p. 345–346 under ‘De iurisdictionibus invicem non turbandis, Prag. II’. There is a gap in the text where the date of the award should appear. It is said to have been confirmed in another case in 1551, long after M’s death.


Napoli, 1624.


Napoli, 1637.


Napoli, 1649 (online). The arbitral award is found on p. 401–402. There is the same gap in the text where the date of the award should appear. Vallone cites Napoli 1718, p. 401 s., suggesting that the page numbers did not change from the 1649 version.



G. Vallone, ‘D’Afflito, Matteo’, in DGI (2013) 2.624-627.

E. Cortese, ‘Lo Studio di Napoli e la scienza giuridica dei·tempi aragonesi’, in Le carte aragonesi: Atti del convegno Ravello, 3–4 ottobre 2002, M. Santoro, ed. (Atti. Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento Meridionale 2; Pisa 2005) 21.

V. Colli, ‘Incunabola operum Baldi’, Ius Commune, 26 (1996) 299.

G. Vallone, ‘Evoluzione giuridica della feudalità’, in Storia del Mezzogiorno, G. Galasso and R. Romeo, ed. (Napoli 1993) 9.97, 98.

G. Vallone, ‘Il pensiero giuridico meridionale’, in Storia del Mezzogiorno, G. Galasso and R. Romeo, ed. (Napoli 1991) 10.10–11.

D. Maffei, ‘Di un inedito “De modo in iure studendi” di Diomede Mariconda’, RIDC (1991) 8 n. 2.

Handbuch der Quellen und Literatur der neueren europäischen Privatrechtsgeschichte, H. Coing, ed., 3 vols. (München 1973–88) 2.247, 252, 373, et al.

G. Vallone, Le “decisiones” di Matteo D'Afflitto (Lecce 1988) esp. 20–22, 133 s.

A. Vallone, ‘Le citazioni dantesche negli scrittori legali’, Letture classensi, 16 (1987) 13–14.

D. Maffei, Prospero Rendella giureconsulto e storiografo. Con note su altri giuristi meridionali (Monopoli 1987) 50–51. Reprinted in: idem, Studi di storia delle università e della letteratura giuridica (Goldbach 1995) 405–467, with corrections 546–547.

G. Vallone, Iurisdictio domini. Introduzione a Matteo d’Afflitto ed alla cultura giuridica meridionale tra Quattro e Cinquecento (Lecce 1985) esp. 139–160.

G. Vallone, Croce Gramsci e la provincia pensante (Lecce 1985) index s.n.

G. Vallone, ‘D’Afflito, Matteo’, in DBI (1985) 31 (online).

O. Zecchino, Le Assise di Ruggiero II (Napoli 1980) 68–69.

F. P. De Stefano, Romani, langobardi, e normanno-franchi nella Puglia (Napoli 1979) 652–657.

A. Romano, Giuristi siciliani dell’età aragonese. Berardo Medico, Guglielmo Perno, Gualtiero Paternò, Pietro Pitrolo (Milano 1979) 165.

P. Colliva, ‘Lo Stato di Federico II’, ASD, 10–11 (1966–7) 33 n. 49.

Jole Mazzolini, Regesto della Cancelleria Aragonese (Napoli 1951) 83.

E. Gentile, La “curia generale” del regno di Carlo I d’Angiò (Roma 1917) 5, 16–18.

T. De Marinis, Nuovi documenti per la storia dello Studio di Napoli (Firenze 1904) 9.