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MS 142: Decretales Gregorii IX, with gloss by Bernard of Parma, 13th-14th century

Identifier: MS 142


MS 142 is a copy of the very famous and influential 13th-century work of canon law, the Decretales Gregorii IX (Decretals of Pope Gregory IX) ordered by Pope Gregory IX, and put together by his chaplain and confessor, Raymond of Peñafort. As a very important text on Church law, the 'Decretales Gregorii IX' was the subject of many commentaries and glosses by later Church scholars. One such work on the 'Decretales' was completed by Bernard of Parma], and it is the gloss featured along with the text of the 'Decretales Gregorii IX' in MS 142. On f. 1r, the gloss to the five books of the 'Decretales' begins with the words In hujus libri principio quinque precipue.
Writing The hand is very good uniform Gothic, the gloss is partly by the same hand, partly by others, but contemporary. The first few leaves are much soiled, and the margins badly cropped, but on the whole the condition of the book is good.
Illumination There are very good blue and red filigree initials, and a historiated initial to each of the five books (that of Book v having been cut out).

Historiated Initials

  1. Fol. 1: Book i. Burnished gold ground. Pope Gregory and listeners.
  2. Fol. 118. Book ii. Burnished gold ground. Figure seated in centre discussing with two others, one on either side.
  3. Fol. 219 v. Book iii. Burnished gold ground. Priest in alb and amice with white apparel, lake chasuble with cross orphrey, standing at altar, the end and the corner of the mensa of which may be seen projecting from beneath an ample linen cloth embroidered and fringed at end. A small square cloth represented as spotted, and perhaps intended for a corporal, lies on the top of the altar and hangs over the edge for a short distance. A clerk with raised rod or switch warns a layman, who is standing under a Gothic arch, from approaching the altar.
  4. Fol. 317. Book iv. Burnished gold ground. Priest similarly vested marrying man and woman. He joins their hands.
  5. Fol. 347. Book v. Initial cut out.
  6. The Gloss has an elaborate filigree initial at the beginning of each book.


  • 13th-14th century


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

There are no marks of early ownership. The illumination looks like French work. The manuscript was in James Erskine, Lord Alva's library in the 18th century.

Previous reference

D. b. V. 8

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum

Binding: Modern, lettered 'Epistolae Decretales a Gregorio IX Collectae. mss. 14th century.'

Collation: a12, b12, c10, d12, e10 (wants 3 and 5), f4, g12-t12, v13, x12-F12, G10, H4, I8, K12-Q12, R13 = 456.


22.23 cm X 14.61 cm


Secundo folio: [mari]a semper virgine
Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 456, double columns, 32 lines to a page; gloss double columns, 70 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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