Projet Volterra


Fragmenta Gaudenziana

by Simon Corcoran


Introduction to the Fragmenta Gaudenziana

The Fragmenta Gaudenziana is the name given to a set of fourteen chapters of legal commentary preserved only in a larger work called the Collectio Gaudenziana, which itself survives in a single late-10th century manuscript (British Library Mss Add 47676). The Collectio comprises three sections. The second contains extracts from the Lex Visigothorum and the third the Aegidian epitome of the Breviary of Alaric. The first section is more heterogeneous. Starting with part of the commonitorium of Alaric (although attributed to Justinian), it contains primarily a miscellany of edited extracts from Justinian's Institutes, Code and Novels. It is in this first section that the Fragmenta are found.

The Fragmenta are part of a legal commentary on an edict, presumably a code promulgated by a successor king. They have generally been seen in the context of Visigothic law. Thus Zeumer published it in his MGH edition of the Leges Visigothorum. Vismara saw a close connection with the Edict of Theoderic, which latter he attributed to the mid-fifth century Visigothic Theoderic II rather than to Theoderic the Great in Italy. However, the general acceptance of the Edict's origin in Italy has not led to associating the Fragmenta with Italy directly. Rather they are still seen in a Visigothic context, since, apart from the Justinianic reworkings in the first section, most of the legal materials in the Collectio derive ultimately from Visigothic sources. The mixture of influences on the Fragmenta, however, is probably best explained by positing an origin in southern Gaul, more specifically Provence, during its period of rule by the Ostrogoths (507-534). They are perhaps the remains of a commentary on the Code of Euric (itself only known as fragments). However, given the extent to which the Collectio reworks its source material, we should not presume that the Fragmenta necessarily represent the original sixth-century text verbatim.

A complete edition of the full Collectio Gaudenziana for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica is being prepared by Wolfgang Kaiser, about which he spoke at the Volterra Colloquium II.2 in September 2008.

The text of the Fragmenta given here has been prepared directly from the British Library manuscript. The spelling had been regularized, but with the original indicated in brackets, while abbreviation signs have been silently expanded. The chapter rubrication reflects the colour surviving in the manuscript.

Bibliography on the Collectio Gaudenziana and the Fragmenta

M. Conrat, Geschichte der Quellen und Literatur des römischen Rechts im frühen Mittelalter (Leipzig, 1891) 277-284
A. Gaudenzi, 'Un'antica compilazione di diritto Romano e Visigoto con alcuni frammenti delle leggi di Eurico tratta da un manoscritto della biblioteca di Holkham', in Documenti e Studi II (Bologna, 1886) 5-227
W. Kaiser, Die Epitome Iuliani (Frankfurt, 2004) 655-846
D. Liebs, Römische Jurisprudenz in Gallien (2. bis 8. Jahrhundert) (Berlin, 2002) 179-181
C. Radding and A. Ciaralli, The Corpus Iuris Civilis in the Middle Ages: Manuscripts and Transmission from the Sixth Century to the Juristic Revival (Leiden, 2007) 70-73
G. Vismara, Fragmenta Gaudenziana (IRMAE I.2.b.bb.ß; Milan, 1968) [repr. in Scritti di storia giuridica I (Milan, 1987) 339-389]
K. Zeumer, Leges Visigothorum (MGH Legum I.1; Hannover and Leipzig, 1902) 469-472


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