Excerpta de libris Romanorum et Francorum

1. Introduction

The Excerpta de libris Romanorum et Francorum were formerly known as Canones Wallici. This expression was coined by Ludwig Bieler, one of the editors, but cannot be found in any of the extant manuscripts. The Excerpta appear as a collection of 63 to 67 chapters of criminal law content.

Time of origin as well as the precise geographical location of the collection are controversial, and therefore whether the Excerpta can be attributed to a particular ethnic group. Especially Hermann Wasserschleben, Ludwig Bieler, David Norman Dumville, Léon Fleuriot, Soazick Kerneis and recently Magali Coumert have dealt with this problem. Based on the handwritten tradition, an emergence before the middle of the nineth century in northwestern Europe must be assumed. Because the manuscripts contain glosses in Old Breton language, Brittany most often is suspected as origin.


2. Edition

Ludwig Bieler (Ed.), The Irish Penitentials (Scriptores latini Hiberniae 5), Dublin 1963.


3. Reading recommendations (2000 onwards)

  • Michele Grazia, I Canones Wallici: uno statuto rurale europeo. L’eclettismo giuridico di una compilazione normativa altomedievale, in: I quaderni del MAES 11 (2008), 141-178.
  • Magali Coumert, Existe-t-il une “Ancienne loi des Bretons d’Armorique”? Identités ethniques et tradition manuscrite au haut Moyen Âge, in: La Bretagne Linguistique 18 (2014), 227-264.

4. Further resources

Hermann Wasserschleben (Ed.), Die Bussordungen der abendländischen Kirche nebst einer rechtsgeschichtlichen Einleitung, Halle 1851. (available online archive.org)


5. Manuscripts [6]