Projet Volterra


Newly discovered fragment of a Justinian Code manuscript

By Simon Corcoran (June 2016)

A strip from a leaf of an eleventh-century Justinian Code manuscript in late Caroline minuscule was sold at auction by Dreweatts and Bloomsbury in London in July 2015, and is now in a private collection also in London. The owner has kindly supplied me with images, upon which the following analysis is based.

The strip comprises two adjoining pieces, containing CJ VIII.35.5-7 and VIII.36.3-5, with subsequent twelfth or thirteenth-century additions. The recto contains typical interlinear and marginal legal glosses, including citations of the Digest. The verso contains the authentica 'Nunc si heres' (deriving from Justinian's Novel 112 [Authenticum 107 = Coll. 8.8]), written in a twelfth-century script in the margin opposite VIII.36.3 (indicated by a pointing hand sign). This authentica came to be placed after CJ VIII.36.5 in later Vulgate texts.

The main text contains complete sequences of constitutions with headings (one attested) and subscripts (three attested), except for the lost Greek of CJ VIII.36.4 (whose Latin subscript is merged into that for VIII.36.3). It does not appear to be written in a script typical of central or southern Italy, where intact Codes were still being produced in the mid-eleventh century (e.g. the Vallicelliana fragments). Therefore, this fragment would seem to represent a rather early restored form of the Code from northern Italy or France, when subscripts had not yet been abandoned, and so is assignable to the late eleventh century.

The new fragment provides the sole manuscript witness for Viminacium (on the itinerary of Diocletian in 293 en route to Sirmium) as the place of posting for CJ VIII.35.6, otherwise known only from Haloander's edition of 1530. Also, it gives a possibly more correct diurnal date for CJ VIII.36.4 (xvi k. Ian. = 17 Dec. 501; otherwise give as 20 Dec. by Krüger based upon Haloander).

An image of the recto can be found on the auction house's web-site: http://www.dreweatts.com/cms/pages/lot/36180/16 and Wikimedia Commons.