The Corpus Iuris Civilis in the Middle Ages

Manuscripts and Transmission from the Sixth Century to the Juristic Revival


Using documents, glosses, legal commentaries, and the first paleographical study of manuscripts since the mid-nineteenth century, the authors of this book trace the circulation of the Corpus Iuris Civilis from late antiquity until the early twelfth century.
They demonstrate that only the Novels found any significant readership in the early Middle Ages, and that Justinian’s Institutes, Code, and Digest emerged from obscurity only in the mid-eleventh century, when they were taken up by northern-Italian specialists in Lombard law. Separate chapters then consider the evidence for the textual history and reception of the Institutes, Code, and Digest.
Included in the volume are plates of all of the most important early manuscripts of Justinian’s works, most of which have never been published before.
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Biographical Note

Charles M. Radding, Professor of History at Michigan State University, is a specialist in the intellectual culture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. His previous books on the period have dealt with a variety of topics ranging from Lombard law to architecture and philosophy to the eucharistic controversy.   

Antonio Ciaralli, Associate Professor of Latin Paleography and Diplomatics at the University of Perugia, is a graduate of the University of Rome (La Sapienza). He has published extensively on legal manuscripts and documents.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1. Paleography and History
2. The Corpus Iuris Civilis in the Early Middle Ages
3. The Period of Rediscovery
4. Justinian’s Institutes
5. Justinian’s Code
6. Justinian’s Digest

General Index
Index of Manuscripts Cited


The book will be essential reading for historians of medieval law, as well as those interested in medieval intellectual history, manuscripts, and the transmission of classical culture in the Middle Ages.

Index Card

Collection Information