How To SearcH For legal allegations

Canon and Roman Law allegations

In order to make the project somewhat manageable, I employed an allegation style that hews fairly closely to that of the gloss itself, as opposed to the modern numerical system.   This style will be familiar to anyone who has used a medieval or early modern legal commentary, and for those who haven't, it is quick to pick up.  For the Liber extra and the Corpus iuris civilis, it consists of an abbreviated form of the title, followed by the incipit (the first 1-3 words) of the capitulum or lex.  The Decretum allegations employ the familiar numerical divisions for the Distinctiones and Causae, followed by the incipit designating the capitulum.

All of the title abbreviations used for the allegations have been assembled into a single spreadsheet matching them up with their modern numerical references in the Liber extra, Codex, Digest, Institutes and Novellae (no reference aid is required for the Decretum owing to the use of the standard numerical divisions).  A discussion of the spreadsheet and its download button can be found on The Text page.

Let’s now go through a few examples for each source, with the Digital Decretals format given first, followed by its equivalent in modern numerical form.  Note that to perform a proper search it is important to follow the exact punctuation style modeled in the examples below, unless you have enabled search filters that ignore punctuation marks (for more on search protocols, see the description accompanying the gloss files on The Text page).  


Following the usage of the gloss, Gratian’s dicta are indicated with a section siglum § and the incipit:

Note, however, that on a few occasions the gloss will cite the dicta by first giving the canon after which they appear:

The De consecratione and De poenitentia treatises are both indicated by an appropriate abbreviation as follows:

Liber extra

Following the usage of the gloss, all cross-references to the Liber extra are introduced according to their relative position either before (supra) or after (infra) the place they are cited.  Since each title has a unique abbreviation, however, the infra/supra may be excluded from searches.  The Liber extra references are thus all very straightforward:


All of the Extravagantes -- decretals or conciliar legislation issued after 1234 (such as Innocent IV's 1245 Council of Lyons legislation), most of which eventually found its way into Boniface VIII's Liber sextus (1298) -- have been given a consistent form so that they may be searched individually or globally.  This form mirrors that of a Liber extra cross-reference, with the added indicator extravag. placed before the incipit without comma separation.  So:

The full store of extravagantes can be seen at a single glance by simply performing a global search for the abbreviation extravag.  The use of this abbreviation has been restricted to these allegations.  In the 3.23 update of the abbreviations spreadsheet, I have also added a tab containing a list of all the extravagantes cited in the gloss (excluding those alleged in the currently in process Book 2).

Roman Law

For the sake of consistency, all citations of the Corpus iuris civilis are keyed to the Mommsen-Krueger-Schoell edition, and are formatted as follows [note the lack of comma separating the volume abbreviation from the title]:


Note that the gloss occasionally cites the authenticae, that is, texts adapted from Justinian's Novellae (aka Authenticum) that were inserted directly into the Codex by medieval jurists.  The form of this allegation is as follows, with the abbreviation authen. placed before the incipit without comma separation, similar to how the extravagantes are cited in the Liber extra:




Additional considerations

On occasion, the Glossa Ordinaria will cite a specific sentence or section of a capitulum or lex, usually when the alleged text is a longer one.  Because most of these are one-offs, I have not bothered to standardize the sentence/section level of the allegation (for example, by substituting an incipit for the numerical or positional reference of the section, as in § 1 or § ulti.[ma]).  I trust that it is enough to have them visible through a search at the capitulum/lex level using the incipit.  Here are a few examples:

In order to standardize the legal allegations and make them searchable, I have had to make some slight modifications to the text beyond just adding consistency to how the titles are abbreviated.  Most often, this involves expanding the text to give the full abbreviated reference in cases where multiple capitula or leges are alleged from a single title/section in succession.  The following example of three successive allegations of Causa 22 of the Decretum will illustrate what this entails:

Similarly, I have adjusted the practice whereby the gloss will allege cross-references in the same title of the Liber extra using infra/supra, eodem [titulo], and have substituted the assigned title abbreviation, as illustrated by this example from X 4.1.26 s.v. nec forma:

Finally, I have substituted the incipit where the gloss uses instead numerical or positional designations, which it frequently does for the first through third canon/lex of any title as well as the final two:

It should be obvious that without these expansions, the utility of the Digital Decretals as a search tool for the legal allegations would be nil.

To remove any possibility of search contamination, I have deliberately distinguished the Liber extra and Roman Law abbreviations of the same title.  So, for example, the title on proofs, De probationibus, which is shared between the Liber extra, Digest and Codex, is abbreviated as follows:

This example also illustrates another feature of the system of abbreviations used in the Digital Decretals, which is the rationalization of titles in the Corpus iuris civilis that deal with the same subject matter, but have slight variations in their wording.  Although the Codex title on proofs is De probationibus and the Digest title is De probationibus et praesumptionibus, I have employed the same abbreviation for both so that one may do a global search for all Roman Law allegations related to that subject by using de probation. as a search term.  If a user desires to isolate just those citations of a particular volume of the Corpus iuris civilis, one need only add C. or ff. or Inst. at the beginning of a search.  As explained on The Text page, the abbreviations spreadsheet contains a combined alphabetical listing of all the Canon and Roman Law title abbreviations so that one may see at a glance which and how particular titles have been rationalized.


Repeated incipits in Liber extra allegations

Unfortunately, Bernard of Parma was not always consistent in how he distinguished canons in the same title that have the same or similar incipit (e.g., X 4.1.13 Veniens and X 4.1.15 Veniens).  Sometimes he will add a 1 or 2 to the incipit to make the distinction, though almost as often he failed to do so, presumably since the context would have been familiar enough to his readers that they would know immediately which one was being referenced.

In the initial stages of this project, I thought that the problem of repeated incipits was sufficiently discrete that I could bracket it off and swing back around to address it once the entire text was completed.  After finalizing Books 1 and 4, however, and doing a systematic survey of the problem, I realized that almost 10% of the Liber extra's 1971 capitula were potentially implicated.  So I decided to bite the bullet and sort it out.  I went back over the text I had finished up to that point and standardized additional specifying information for the affected capitula, and have carried this over into the subsequent text.  Sometimes this involves just adding a 1 or 2 after the incipit:

Other times it involves expanding out the incipit by an extra word or two:

To see the standard incipit used in the Digital Decretals for any of the 1971 Liber extra capitula, including those cases of repeat incipits, just look at the "Decretals capitula incipit" tab in the abbreviations spreadsheet.

Apologies to the Decretistae and Legistae

Standardizing the Liber extra allegations -- not just at the title level but for each of the 1971 individual capitula -- was tremendously time-consuming given Bernard's inconsistent citation methods.  He will often vary the incipit of an allegation, sometimes within the same glossula.  Thus, for example, X 1.6.36 shows up variously as Bonae, Bonae memoriae or Bonae 2 in Bernard's text (in the Digital Decretals, it is always de elect., bonae 2, in order to distinguish it from X 1.6.23 = de elect., bonae 1).  With time and practice assigning the correct and consistent incipit to a capitulum as I transcribe it has become easier.

Achieving the same level of precision for Decretum and Roman Law citations unfortunately exceeded my abilities, coming to this project as I did through the Ius novum.  The problem is once again Bernard's inconsistency, which we can illustrate through a group of Decretum canons from Causa 16:

We can be thankful that at least one of the group comes at the head of quaestio 7, since Bernard will usually allege it as 16. q. 7 cap. 1 (= 16. q. 7, decimas quas in usum in the Digital Decretals).  But what are we to do when Bernard throws out an allegation of 16. q. 7 decimas?  Context can usually clarify which of the four is meant, but not always.  Rather than risk introducing a whole host of unrecoverable errors into the text, I decided to preserve the ambiguity of the gloss in these cases.  The same is true with a small batch of citations of the Corpus iuris civilis, though there the phenomenon of repeated incipits is not nearly as prevalent as in the Decretum.    

I think the problem is manageable provided the Decretistae and Legistae among the user base are aware of its existence.  Once the entire text has been completed, I may go back and do a rigorous standardization of the Decretum and Corpus iuris civilis allegations on par with what the Digital Decretals now provides for cross-references to the Liber extra.

Erroneous allegations

The Editio Romana does contain more than a few errors in the legal allegations.  I have developed a system for catching and correcting these when it comes to Liber extra cross-references, so that, for example, the ER's occasional allegation of the incipit of X 1.8.2 as Ad haec is consistently rendered in the Digital Decretals as de auctor. et usu pal., ad hocThe majority of errors seem to cluster in the Decretum citations, since the numbering of the Distinctiones and Causae were more easily subject to copyist errors.  I have corrected the obvious typographical ones when I have noticed them, taking care to consult 13th century manuscripts of the gloss to confirm the correction when necessary.  So, for example, the citation of C. 23 q. 7 c. 4 in X 4.21.3 s.v. iterari:

This one obviously stood out, as there is no quaestio 7 in Causa 33.

But in general my practice has been simply to transcribe as is, and so there will doubtless be some pass through of the ER's erroneous allegations into the Digital Decretals.  As with the problem of repeated incipits in the Decretum, this is something I will return to once the entire text is completed.

Citations of other jurists

While Bernard will often simply settle for the generic quidam alii when discussing the opinions of other jurists, the Glossa Ordinaria does include a fair number of named citations of his contemporaries (together with a few glosses that have the sigla of other canonists appended to them).  These have been standardized so that they may be located using a normal search.  To avoid confusion with the title abbreviations it has not always been possible to utilize the traditional sigla employed in the text, but I have made an effort to keep them as close as possible when a change has been made.  Note that nowhere close to a majority of Bernard's own contributions to the Glossa Ordinaria are signed with his siglum Ber., but I have included it whenever it has been appended to a gloss in the ER.  The following is a alphabetical list of both Canon and Roman Law jurists cited in the gloss:

Note that when searching for some of these sigla, such as that of Alanus (Ala.), make sure to put a space before the first letter or restrict the search to match the capitalization so that it excludes other instances where this character string appears (e.g., a straight search for "Ala." will also grab instances of "mala.").

Bernard is not consistent with how he cites other jurists.  Usually the context makes clear whether, for example, his invocation of the opinio M. is a reference to the legist Martinus or the canonist Melendus.  But I have had to make a couple of judgment calls, particularly for the less-frequently cited jurists.  Once the text is complete I will go back and review all of these to correct as needed.

Mnemonic Verses

I did not initially set out to make these a standardized element in the Digital Decretals, but after converting a fair amount of the text I noticed that the mnemonic verses -- the pithy, pedagogical poetry that helped students memorize important aspects of the law -- were almost invariably introduced in the same way, thus providing a path for identifying where they occur through a search.  All of the mnemonic verses are introduced with a form of the word versus, either in the singular, as in unde versus, or in the plural, as in his versibus (note that in Book 4, only instances of the singular, versus, are present).  In transcribing the verses, a double slash // formatting mark has been used to indicate line breaks when necessary:

Note that when using versus as a search term to isolate the mnemonic verses it's useful to set the search parameters to capture whole words only or simply put a space in front of the word in the search box.