PAVIA STATUTI. Statuta Papiae et comitatus. Statuta de regimine potestatis ciuilia & criminalia ciuitatis & comitatus Papiae cum quibusdam decretis.

Pavia, J. De Burgofranco., 1505

Folio (318 x 226 mm.), 102 unnumbered leaves, istoriated initials, woodcut printer's device and city of Pavia arms in a wreath at the end of the first part and on last leaf. Title set in the lower part of a full-page woodcut representing a triumphal arch with the standing figures of S. Siro and S. Augustine and, in the middle, the equestrian statue of the Regisole, a classical which came to be pictured on the city seal. Title flanked by two shields with the Visconti family and the city of Pavia arms. Vellum modern binding reusing old materials. A very good copy with extensive contemporary annotations.Scarce second edition of the ‘Statuta Papiae'—the legislative corpus of the city of Pavia. First published in print in very few copies by Antonio Carasco ca.1480, it reproduces medieval civic laws following the structure of their first coherent collection commissioned (with revisions) by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1393, when Pavia was part of the Duchy of Milan. This second edition, corrected by Lorenzo Roverini, also includes ducal decrees and rubrics at the end. It bears a famous woodcut titlepage portraying, within a decorated arch, the patron saints of Pavia—Siro and Agostino—accompanied by the arms of the city and the Duke of Milan, and the Regisole on a column (Kristeller, ‘Die Lombardische Grafik', 276). This was a classical bronze equestrian statue originally exhibited in Ravenna, later moved to Pavia and eventually destroyed in 1796; it probably represented Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, or the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. The titlepage is considered ‘a masterpiece of the art of medieval Pavia', inspired by the ‘preference for uncrowded scenes, in the Lombard tradition' but with ‘milder lines and fluent movement' (Samek Ludovici, Illustrazione del libro, p. 17). As typical of all medieval and Renaissance civic statutes in Italy, it incorporates civil, criminal, commercial, tax and estate law. The first section is concerned with ‘Statuta de regimen potestatis' on judicial and administrative matters such as magistrates' wages and appointments, procedures to be followed at official meetings, the definition of civic community and the maintenance of roads. The second is devoted to civil statutes and private law, from trial procedures (e.g., the correct formulation of official documents) to inheritance, marriage and animal illnesses. The third section, on criminal law, illuminates on incarceration, judicial procedures and punishment for criminals such as murderers, sodomites, ‘dishonest' women who live with clerics, innkeepers who serve guests after the toll of the evening bell, and those who have sexual relationships with nuns in monastic premises. The penultimate section, concerning the University of Pavia founded in 1361, regulaties the use of corpses belonging to executed criminals for purposes of anatomical research. A remarkably important document for the judicial and political history of late medieval and early modern Italy.Cat. Senato V, 257; Fontana II, 351; Sander 5495-96; Adams II, P526; Mortimer 366.

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