Lombard Law Books in the Long Eleventh Century

Lombard law-books were produced and used throughout the long eleventh century, demonstrating their continuing historical and legal significance well beyond the end of the period of Lombard rule (568-774 CE). I proposed to link the developments in the history of the early medieval Lombard laws with scribal practices and book production during the long eleventh century.

I combined methodologies developed in social history and comparative legal history with codicology and palaeography. This project investigated the development of the Liber legis langobardorum, a collection of Lombard, Frankish and Saxon legal texts, in its eight surviving manuscript witnesses. Through examination of the materiality, mise-en-page (the presentation of texts and other items on the page) and the adaptation of the laws throughout the eleventh century, I reconstructed the social contexts and legal understanding of the scribes and readers of the law-books.

Following the codicological and palaeographical analysis of the manuscripts and comparative study of the corpus, the development of the mise-en-page and strategies to facilitate reader access to the laws was expanded through focused case-studies. In the first case study I examined the laws of Liutprand, promulgated in multiple phases during his reign from 712 to 740 CE. The second case-study was be used to analyse the capitularies of Charlemagne relating to Italy included in the Liber legis langobardorum compilation. I evaluated how the jurists throughout the eleventh century employed books and texts to study and redefine the Lombard, Frankish and Saxon laws, and how this influenced the literate, legal cultures of Italy and north-western Europe.

Project Leader:
Thomas Gobbit

Walter Pohl

Lise-Meitner Fellowship
Junior Postdoc

Project number: M 1698-G21

Duration: 01.05.2014 - 30.04.2016