Manuscripts: Editorial Policies


Manuscripts in the Robbins Collection cover a large variety of topics. Collecting efforts have been directed towards assembling a body of writings representative for the study of Roman and canon law, but many manuscripts are composite codices including articles that are more loosely related to the central concept of the collection.

The bulk of the collection is represented by works of noted medieval jurists and writers on law such as Accursius, Angelus Aretinus, Antoninus de Florentia, Bartholomaeus Brixiensis, Bartholomaeus de Sancto Concordio, Bernardus Papiensis, Bernardus Raimundi, Guilelmus Redonensis, Henricus de Segusia, Iohannes Andreae, Martinus Polonus, Monaldus Justinopolitanus, Nicolaus Auximanus, Raymundus de Penaforte, and many others. Works of important church legislators such as Popes Boniface VIII and Gregory IX are also included along with several manuscripts of Justinian’s Digestum.

In addition, many manuscripts include papal, royal, and ambassadorial correspondence as well as writings by other prominent figures associated in some capacity with the Western Church in general and the Papal Court in particular; the collection also includes works (often of the size of short tracts) by lawyers and professors of law associated with various European academic centers.

Many of the Robbins manuscripts are significant in terms of the structure, organization, and liturgy of various religious orders; others are diocesan cartularies, conciliar canons and decrees, accounts of papal and regional church administration, and the like. Included in the collection are documents pertaining to the canonization of saintly figures, manuals for priests, confessionals, medieval university statutes, consilia, works and excerpts from the works of eminent medieval theologians such as St. Augustine, St. Bonaventura, Issac of Nineveh, and Petrus Lombardus, historical tracts, a breviary with musical notation, and so on.

The time-span covered by the more than two hundred and fifty manuscripts now in the collection is of approximately seven hundred years, with the oldest manuscript in the collection dated in the twelfth century and the most recent dated in the nineteenth. 


This catalogue represents the cumulative efforts of several librarians, curators, and scholars who were, at one time or another, associated with the Robbins Collection. A  draft issue of the catalogue, compiled in 1994 by Lucia Diamond (a past Robbins Collection Librarian) and Andrea Hood, included manuscripts 1 through 225, provided an account of authors, titles, and provenance, and included extensive descriptions of the manuscripts as physical objects. Christelle Walravens analyzed and wrote material descriptions for forty of the Robbins manuscripts. 

In March 1999, work began to further enlarge the draft issue to include incipits and explicits of individual works and subsections thereof, the first words on the second folio for each medieval manuscript, notes regarding the provenance and early history of all manuscripts, short biographical notes on writers of local importance, a bibliography used in compiling the new version of the catalogue, and other pertinent information. In some cases, new attributions of authorship were made on the basis of a thorough verification of available sources such as printed editions, manuscript catalogues, biographies, local and regional histories, and the like.

Martin Brett, Emmanuele Conte, Péter Erdö, Domenico Maffei, and Jakub T. Sawicki have published descriptive articles on manuscripts 102, 5, 3, and 22, respectively. Their findings have been incorporated into the present catalogue raisonné; the articles themselves are included as part of the general bibliography. Josephine Crawley provided the new content descriptions for manuscripts 43 and 49; Jon Frey did the same for manuscript 67; Michael Printy helped with manuscript 76, and Juan Javier del Granado with manuscript 15. Beatrix C. M. van Erp-Jacobs supplied biographical and bibliographical information pertaining to manuscripts 93, 214, 215, and 219. Katherine Tachau gave valuable suggestions on manuscript 102, and Nancy Alvarez wrote her senior honors thesis in the Department of Medieval Studies at Stanford University on the textual emmendations in the same manuscript. 

Linda Ogden graciously shared her superb expertise of manuscript bindings and gave permission for some of her findings on the condition of the bindings to be included in the present catalogue. Ms. Ogden performed repairs of Robbins manuscripts 56, 59, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 72, 74, and 75, and provided extensive conservation treatment and new bindings for Robbins manuscripts 47, 82, 109, 143, 156, and 203; manuscript 151, previously folded, was opened and flattened sufficiently to house the sheets in individual folders. 

Every effort was made to insure proper standardization of entries in the present catalogue. This was possible to a greater extent in the case of medieval manuscripts; to a lesser extent in the case of later manuscripts. The classical spelling of Latin for medieval titles and authors’ names was adopted, but the medieval spelling in the transcription of incipits and explicits and other relevant parts such as colophons, contemporary commentaries, and explanatory notes (when these were part of the original manuscript) was preserved. Titles, incipits, and explicits of entries in languages other than Latin were transcribed in their original language with the original spelling.


Inc. Incipit 
Expl. Explicit 
f., ff. folio, folios 
rv recto, verso 
ss. subsequent 
s. century 
in. beginning of the century 
ex. end of the century 
med. middle of the century 
add.  added 
legi non potest  cannot be read 
 man. altera  different hand 
 man. sec.  second hand 
 man. ter.  third hand
 scripsi  text supplied by compiler
supplevi  text supplied by compiler
< >  text supplied by compiler
 [ ], [ ]  addition by compiler
[�], [?]  uncertain reading
[[ ]][[ ]]  deletion by the scribe 
/  separate lines of text