Friday, August 6, 2010

A Very Special Roman Law Book

Helen Lacouture, our rare book cataloger, has been going through the wonderful collection of Roman Law books given to us by Professor Mike Hoeflich last year. Helen recently cataloged a book that appears to be unique: Giovanni Francesco Balbo, Tractatus de Praescriptionibus ... (printed by Bernardo Giunta, 1582).

First published in 1511, Balbo's popular treatise is concerned with the Roman law of prescription, the principle whereby a right or liability is created or extinguished over a certain period of time, usually in regard to a property title.

As far as we can tell, the Library of Congress is the only other library that owns a copy of the 1582 edition. And our title page appears to be unique; LC's copy has a different printer's device. Helen researched our printer's device, which you can see in the image here. She determined that it combines the arms of the Medici family (the six balls) and the Capello family (the hat: hence "Capello," and the St. Mark's lion: a symbol of Venice).

Thanks to Helen for the detective work, and of course to Professor Hoeflich for entrusting his magnificent collection to us! We look forward to displaying some of the treasures from his gift in Spring 2011.

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