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Book/Printed Material The "Institutes" of Justinian. Corpus iuris civilis: Institutiones

About this Item


  • The "Institutes" of Justinian.

Other Title

  • Corpus iuris civilis: Institutiones


  • This edition of the glossed Institutiones (Institutes) of the Emperor Justinian was printed in the Mainz workshop of Peter Schöffer (circa 1425-circa 1502), previously assistant of Johann Gutenberg, in 1468. The copy shown here was printed on parchment and lavishly illustrated with a miniature depicting a bust of the emperor with the imperial insignia of the crown, the globus cruciger (orb and cross), the scepter and the imperial coat of arms, as well as with tempera initials with foliate extensions. At the bottom of folio 1 recto, in the so-called bas-de-page, a coat of arms with foliate decoration can be identified as the device of the firm Fust and Schöffer, from which it only differs in the red rose painted at the point of intersection. Three parchment leaves precede the text, of which the first (folio 1 verso) bears a pen drawing of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus and a kneeling clergyman being commended to Mary and Jesus by Saints Jerome and Giles (Aegidius); the third leaf (3 verso) contains a handwritten list of contents. It has been suggested that the book initially belonged to Johann Fust the younger, the son of Gutenberg's financier Johann Fust the elder (died 1466), and brother-in-law of Peter Schöffer. The younger Fust became co-owner of his deceased father's printing house. He later entered the monastery of Saint Stephen's in Mainz, where he died as dean in 1501. The figure of Saint Giles seems to contradict the identification of the clergyman depicted with Johann Fust on folio 1 verso. Alternatively, the book may have been owned by a monastery, such as that of Saint Aegidius in Nuremberg. This theory is supported by the stylistic characteristics of the pen drawings and the tempera paintwork. Similar acanthus-leaf and filigree decorations can be found in a manuscript of the State Library of Nuremberg, which had been made for the local Dominican monastery in 1462. Because the foliate decorations overlap the coat of arms, they must have been added later. It is not possible, however, to determine whether they were inserted in Nuremberg or in Mainz by an artisan of Nuremberg. After the Palatinate city of residence of Mannheim fell to Baden in 1803, the holdings of the Mannheim Court Library, including this book, were transported to Munich in 1803 or 1804.


  • Justinian I, Emperor of the East, approximately 483-565 Originator.
  • Schöffer, Peter, approximately 1425-approximately 1502 Printer.

Created / Published

  • Mainz : Peter Schöffer, 1468-05-24.


  • -  Germany
  • -  Turkey
  • -  529 to 534
  • -  Illuminations
  • -  Incunabula
  • -  Jurisprudence
  • -  Justinian I, Emperor of the East, approximately 483-565
  • -  Law, Byzantine
  • -  Miniatures (Illuminations)
  • -  Statutes and codes


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  "BSB shelfmark: 2 L.impr.membr. 24|This description of the work was written by Karl-Georg Pfändtner of the Bavarian State Library."--Note extracted from World Digital Library.
  • -  Original resource extent: 206 pages : parchment ; 29 x 41 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: Bavarian State Library.
  • -  Content in Latin.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021667066

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Justinian I, Emperor Of The East, Approximately 483-565 Originator, and Peter Schöffer. The "Institutes" of Justinian. Mainz: Peter Schöffer, -05-24, 1468. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Justinian I, E. O. T. E. & Schöffer, P. (1468) The "Institutes" of Justinian. Mainz: Peter Schöffer, -05-24. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Justinian I, Emperor Of The East, Approximately 483-565 Originator, and Peter Schöffer. The "Institutes" of Justinian. Mainz: Peter Schöffer, -05-24, 1468. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.