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Special Collections Recent Acquisition

August 10, 2012
Statuta Placentiae

[Statuta Placentiae]  [Piacenza: s.n., November 12, 1472]

A Renaissance legal manuscript in folio format, of 74 unnumbered vellum leaves, 40 lines to a full page, rubricated with two- to three-line initials in red, with red headings.  There is some contemporary marginalia in lighter ink.  The text is written on both sides of the leaves, in a legible chancery cursive.  The manuscript is bound in eighteenth-century Italian speckled boards.

The fifteenth-century manuscript Statuta Placentiae comprises the civil and criminal laws of the northern Italian province of Piacenza, dating to the reign of Galeazzo Visconti I, vice-duke of Milan, who issued the statutes in the 1320s. They were renewed by Gian Galeazzo (son of Galeazzo II Visconti and Bianca of Savoy) in 1391. This manuscript largely represents the 1431 version of the statutes, and was transcribed by two local notaries, Obertus de Albonaxio and Johannes Zubanotti (both named at the close of the work).  The text is composed of chronologically-arranged decrees and legislation, and addresses a broad range of civil and criminal issues. Topics include hunting and fishing, forests, water rights, aqueducts, canals, and the organization of the militia, as well as regulation of financial transactions and marital financial disputes.  Also addressed are transfer of property, land leases, inheritance, ships and waterways, the sewage system, and taxes.  Criminal offenses include cursing the Virgin, loosing animals in the city, adulterating wine, and disturbing the quiet of the night.  Fines for criminal offenses automatically were doubled for a night crime or a crime committed in a public building.

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