contributor.author: Marc Pierce

title.none: Kaufmann, ed., Glossen zum Sachsenspiegel-Landrecht (Marc Pierce)

identifier.other: baj9928.0504.007 05.04.07

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Marc Pierce, University of Michigan, mpierc@umich.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2005

identifier.citation: Kaufmann, Frank-Michael, ed. Glossen zum Sachsenspiegel-Landrecht: Buch'sche Glosse, 3 vols. Series: MGH Fontes Juris Germanici Antiqui, Nova Series, vol. 7. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2002. Pp. lxiv, 1697. $170.00 (hb). ISBN: 3-7752-5465-X.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 05.04.07

Kaufmann, Frank-Michael, ed. Glossen zum Sachsenspiegel-Landrecht: Buch'sche Glosse, 3 vols. Series: MGH Fontes Juris Germanici Antiqui, Nova Series, vol. 7. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2002. Pp. lxiv, 1697. $170.00 (hb). ISBN: 3-7752-5465-X.

Reviewed by:

Marc Pierce
University of Michigan
mpierc@umich.edu

The Sachsenspiegel, originally written around 1225 by Eike von Repgow, is the oldest German-language description of German common law, and exists today in at least 460 complete or fragmentary manuscript versions, written in Latin, Dutch, Middle Low German, and Middle German. Over the next two centuries a number of commentaries on the text appeared; the book under consideration here offers an edition of one of them, divided into three books, prepared by Johann von Buch (born around 1290). Approximately 200 manuscript versions of this commentary existed, of which 82 are still completely preserved today. This edition is based primarily on a manuscript prepared in the first quarter of the 15th century (probably between 1405 and 1415), the so-called "Codex Hecht," currently in Berlin. While this manuscript is not one of the oldest manuscripts, it does have the advantages of having been prepared by someone who was well-acquainted with both German and Roman law, and also apparently checked all the citations in the text. The manuscript is also quite well-preserved, and, as the plates in the edition indicate, clearly written and quite legible. Manuscripts currently in Wolfenbuettel and Heidelberg were also used when necessary.

This book is divided into three volumes. The first volume opens with a rather lengthy introduction, which discusses issues like the history of the Sachsenspiegel and this commentary on it, the long and difficult path to the completion of this edition (which was originally planned in 1929), and the manuscripts used in the preparation of the book. The introduction is followed by a list of abbreviations used, a brief and incomplete bibliography (a number of works referred to in the footnotes to the introduction are not mentioned here), a list of symbols used by the editors, and a handful of plates showing various pages of the manuscripts used. The bulk of the first volume is of course occupied with the edition; it contains the 'Register,' prologue, and first book thereof. The second volume is dedicated to the edition; it covers the entire second book and roughly the first third of the third book. The third volume contains the remainder of the text, as well as a number of appendices, including lists of the manuscripts (both fragmentary and complete) of the commentary, a synopsis of the three manuscripts used for this edition, and an index of names in the text, among others.

There is much to admire in this book. The introductory essays provide useful background information, the plates give a good look at the manuscripts, and the edition is cleanly and carefully laid out. A few criticisms should be made. I wish, for instance, that the introductory material were not printed in italics, as it is rather trying to read in longer stretches. Along those lines, I would have preferred that the editors had given only brief references in footnotes and then complete references in the bibliography, rather than giving complete references in the footnotes and then omitting some references from the bibliography. Be that as it may, such quibbles do not detract from the general usefulness of the work, and scholars interested in medieval Germany can be grateful that it has now appeared.