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Sext f.1r

Sext f.1r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1350

Shelfmark: Royal MS 9 F.v

Item number: f.1r

Length: 43

Width: 27

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

The laws of the medieval church (canon law) began to be published in more or less methodically organised collections (decretals) only in the mid-12th century, but without providing a means of organising the decrees of subsequent popes. In 1298, Boniface VIII published the 'Sixth Book of Decretals' ('Sext') which updated and streamlined all previous decretals. Commentaries, to aid study and application, were written in the decretals manuscripts, either around the margins of the law text (gloss) in a specialized page layout or published on their own. This manuscript of the 'Sext' with its most important commentaries is believed to have belonged to the Benedictine abbey at Reading, where study of law was an important pursuit.

The first page has a portrait of Boniface VIII and the commentary written by Guido de Baysio, an archdeacon of Bologna. In the border at the end of the page, the arms azure with three escallops of gold, two and one, suggests that the manuscript was made for and possibly at Reading Abbey.

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