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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. t242

Joannes Franciscus Balbus

c. 1480 – p. 1518


Alternative Names

Giovanni Francesco Balbo (Balbi, de Balbis)



J. was a Piedmontese originally from Avigliana (now in città metropolitana di Torino) who became a citizen of Torino. He was probably a member the ancient Balbo family of Chieri and was the brother of the professor and high magistrate Niccolò. J. studied with Giacomino da San Giorgio and Claudio di Seyssel at the university of Torino, where he received his doctorate in utroque in 1503 and where he taught civil law around 1510. He was called by the duke Carlo II to be part of the Consilium Thaurini residens. J. belonged to a group of prominent teachers who were deeply involved in forensic activities and in the service of the duke in the decades when the university flourished before the French domination of 1536–59.

J. is the author of the well-known Tractatus de praescriptionibus, dedicated to Carlo II in 1510 and published in Torino in 1511, which provides, in the appendix, a repetitio on l. Celsus D. De usucapionibus seu usurpationibus (D. 41, 3, 27). It was reprinted often in the 16th and into the 17th century, and achieved widespread distribution by its inclusion in TUI 1584 (t. 17). The De praescriptionibus is very much in the style of the mos italicus. It is well suited to legal practice since it systematically organizes the arguments, reducing the vast available sources into a handy compendium. It thus took its place in a body of works aimed at simplifying the current law in response to what Amerito describes as a crisis of the ius commune in the Savoyard states in the early 16th century. With the De praescriptionibus J. became an auctoritas in the late ius commune on the question on the legal effect of the passage of time.

Source: F. Aimerito, in DGI.

TUI database



No. 1

Tractatus de praescriptionibus, 1510. Text 1 and Text 2 are printed together in all editions that we have examined. They will be found in all the editions that we have listed under Text 1. We list the separate folation for Text 2 only in TUI 1584.

No. 2

Repetitio in l. Celsvs. D. De usucapionibus (Dig. 41.3.27), 1510.


Text(s) – Early Printed Editions

No. 1

Tractatus de praescriptionibus, 1510.

Early Printed Editions

Tractatus de praescriptionibus. Torino, 1511.


Tractatus de praescriptionibus. Lyon, 1542 (online).


De praescriptionibus. Cologne, 1565 (online).


Tractatus univeri iuris: Tractatus de praescriptionibus. Venezia: F. Ziletti, 1584, 17.52ra–111rb (online).


Tractatus de praescriptionibus. Speyer, 1610 (online).

No. 2

Repetitio in l. Celsvs. D. De usucapionibus (Dig. 41.3.27), 1510.

Early Printed Editions

Tractatus univeri iuris: Repetitio in l. Celsvs. D. De usucapionibus (Dig. 41.3. 27). Venezia: F. Ziletti, 1584, 17.111rb–121ra (online).