4 Printing the Law in the 15th Century
With a Focus on Corpus iuris civilis and the Works of Bartolus de Saxoferrato
The editions of legal texts are a major and important part of 15th-century book output, amounting to about 15% of the surviving extant editions. The category comprehends two types of work: (a) the collections of Roman and Canon Law, with their medieval supplements and commentaries; (b) acts and regulations produced by governments and by local authorities as part of their day-to-day activity. After a general overview, this article focuses on the first group of texts, which offers an opportunity to address some key questions related to the impact of printing in a particular cultural context, that of the university. A study of legal texts printed in the 15th century aims to provide a relevant contribution to a better understanding of the impact of printing by comparing elements of continuity and discontinuity with the manuscript and later printed tradition.