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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. t258

Andreas Ciaffus (Andreas Pisanus)

fl. 1320 X 1322


Alternative Names

Andrea Ciaffi (Cassus, Ciafari, Criffi, Graffi, Zacci, Zaffi, Ziaffa, Ziaffi); Andrea da Pisa



The spelling variations on A’s surname are great, but they all seem to be getting at the same name. The alternative (Andreas Pisanus) that omits the surname but uses a topnym also seems to reflect a reality. The authority file of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek settles on Andreas Pisanus, but reports 19 variants. This variety reflects that fact that relatively little solid information about A. is available, and over the course of centuries since his death bibliographers, historians of universities, and historians of Italian towns have filled in gaps with guess-work. A. was probably born in Pisa. Napoli even gives the name of the neighborhood in which his family’s house was located. In the 19th century, however, an historian of Forlì (P. Bonoli) claimed him for that town and said that he was called ‘Pisanus’ because the Pisans made him a citizen when he taught at the studium there. One 19th-century bibliographer (G. Moroni) follows Boloni, but only one. The only solid dates that we have for A’s life are that he taught at Pisa in 1320, at Perugia in 1321, and at Siena from the autumn of 1321 through the autumn of 1322. He was cited and praised by his contemporaries and those of the next generation, notably Bartolus and Baldus. From what they say we can construct a bit more about his life and make some guesses as to why he was important. That he studied with Dinus Mugellanus at Bologna seems clear. He then is said to have gone to France and to have studied with Petrus de Bella Pertica at Orléans. If that is right, then we would have a solid terminus ante quem, because Petrus left the university in 1296. It is unlikely, however, that A’s studies at Orléans were with Petrus himself as opposed to being with those who followed his method. If we can rely at all on the reports that A. studied at Orléans, then it is plausible, as Calligani suggests, that A. was as responsible as Dinus for spreading the methods of the school of Orléans in Italy, because the latter knew the work of that school only through, apparently, manuscripts and a brief encounter with Petrus at Bologna. More at this state of our knowledge we cannot say about A’s life, and perhaps we should not say this much.

We also know little about his work. A treatise De gerundis is solidly attributed to him both in print (Tractatus 1549, TUI 1584, the only known printings) and in manuscript (see Dolezalek, Manuscripta juridica, s.n. Andreas Ciaffi [Pisanus]). In it A. analyzes the different meanings and legal effects that the gerund may have in the various circumstances. A consilium of his is found in a printed edition of the consilia of Ludovicus Pontanus (ed. Venezia 1500, no. 447, fol. 153v). In it A. confirms the opinion of Cinus Pistoriensis on a question dependent on the interpretation of the l. Hac edictali, C. De secundis nuptiis (Cod. 5.9.6). Others of A’s consilia are found in manuscript (Città del Vaticano, BAV, Vat. lat. 8069; id. Vat. lat. 10726). A treatise De quaestionibus is attributed to him in some manuscripts but not in others (see Dolezalek, Manuscripta juridica, s.n. Andreas Ciaffi [Pisanus]). If TUI 1584 t. 11.1, fol. 291vb is the treatise De quaestionibus in TUI 1584 to which Napoli is referring, it is there attributed to Jacobus de Arena. A rather large collection of additiones to the gloss on the Infortiatum by various authors, including A., survives in manuscript (München, BSB clm 28162; Olomouc, Dombibl. Zemský A, C.O.591 [not necessarily the same text]). More could be done with what we know that survives, particularly in manuscript, and it is always possible that more will be discovered in manuscript. The testimony of contemporaries or near-contemporaries suggests that A. was important. In the present state of our knowledge we really do not know why.

Source: C. Galligani, in DGI, M. T. Napoli, in DBI (25 [1981]).

TUI database