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Volumen parvum


; production


Frank McClean


illuminated manuscript




circa 1300


late 13th-early 14th century


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i paper flyleaf pasted to green leather + 311 fols. (foliated i-iv, 1-307) + i paper flyleaf pasted to green leather, 398 x 250 mm (360 x 230 mm), two columns of main text 210 x 120 mm, 38-42 lines, surrounded by varying number of gloss lines on two, three or four sides, ruled in plummet, running headers, catchwords, pecia marks.

BINDING: Eighteenth century, gold-tooled calf over pasteboards.

CONTENTS: fols. i verso – ii recto Johannes Bassianus, Arbor actionum; fols. iii recto and iv verso Fragments from a title list
fols. 1r-73v Justinian, Institutiones with Accursius, Apparatus ad Institutiones; fols. 74r-211v Justinian, Authenticum with Accursius, Apparatus ad Authenticum; fols. 212r-283r Justinian, Tres libri with Accursius, Apparatus ad Tres libros; fols. 284r-307v Libri feudorum with Accursius, Apparatus ad Libros feudorum.

DECORATION: Two full-page framed tables of the Arbor actionum containing 180 medallions classifying praetorian lawsuits on the left (verso) and civil suits on the right (recto), with two figures (female on the verso, male on the recto) standing in the inner margins and holding onto the tables’ frames (fols. i verso – ii recto).

ORNAMENTATION: Blue penwork initials [3 ll.] with simple red pen flourishing for titles on fols. 212r-283r only, spaces left blank for initials, with guide letters visible, in the rest of the text; red penwork one-line initials; alternate red and blue paraph marks; blue and bronze bars added probably in the early modern period to the title list (fols. iii recto and iv verso), the one on fol. iii recto extending into a heavy bunch of fruit; similar foliage and fruit ornament added at some of the major text divisions where the original campaign left blank spaces for large initials or small column miniatures (e.g. fol. 212r); blue, green and bronze colouring added to the tables of the Arbor actionum and to some of the blue penwork initials.

Place (legacy):

Italy, production, region


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1904; McClean, Frank


Frank McClean (1837-1904), his bequest, 1904.


McClean, Frank; previous owner


This manuscript contains all of the texts that constituted the Volumen parvum from the thirteenth century onwards as well as the Tree of Actions designed by the Bolognese jurist Johannes Bassianus in the late twelfth century as a diagrammatic classification of the types of lawsuits described in the Corpus iuris civilis (L’Engle in Cambridge 2001, 14-15, 156-57; for the Arbor actionum, see also Errera 1995).


secundo folio; fol. ii recto; primi ordinis
; fol. 2r; [gen]neris aprium


Illuminating the Law: Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge Collections. 2001 - 2001
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Catalogue number: 10


James, Montague Rhodes, Dr. 1912. A descriptive catalogue of the McClean Collection of Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Pressp. 286-88

L'Engle, S. Gibbs, R. Clarke, P.. 2001. Illuminating the Law: Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge Collections.London:
cat. no. 10

Murano, A. P. D.. Sagesse, A. P.. 2005. La miniatura in Italia, I: Dal tardoantico al Trecento con riferimenti al Medio Oriente e all' Occidente europeo..Naples:
pp. 404, 407, 408, 410, 411, 413, nos. 316, 318-23

Dolezalek. 1972. Der Handschriften zum romischen Recht.
I, s.p., II, s.p. (under Accursius, Apparatus ad Institutiones, ad Authenticum, Ad Tres Libros, ad Libros feudorum)


Object Number: MS McClean 139
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 178878; input: 2010-12-04; modified: 2015-08-10)


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