St Raymund de Peñafort, Decretals of Gregory IX (1)

Book I, Gregory IX addressing clergy and scholars
Fitzwilliam Mus. MS McClean 136, f.1r
Raymund de Peñafort, Decretals of Gregory IX
Toulouse?, ca 1300

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

This copy in the miniature at the beginning shows a Franciscan holding out the book to Pope Gregory IX, rather than the author of the Decretals, the Dominican, Raymund de Peñafort. How and why this change has been made is difficult to explain, although possibly this copy was commissioned by the Franciscans and the artist decided to make the substitution in ignorance of the Dominican authorship of the text. The surrounding commentary text in the margins is by the canonist, Bernardo Botone of Parma (d. 1266) – he was a canon of the cathedral of Bologna and taught at the university there. This copy of the Decretals was probably written at Toulouse by an Italian scribe and was partially illuminated there, as on this page, but the incomplete copy came to England in the early years of the fourteenth century where its decoration was completed by English illuminators who also illuminated books of canon law now in Durham Cathedral Library. The layout with the Decretal text in the centre framed by a commentary written in smaller script is typical of canon law books.

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