Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Lat. 4787

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Lat. 4787

Weltliches Recht im Frankenreich


Paris (France)
Bibliothèque Nationale
Lat. 4787

Siglum (by Eckhardt 1962): K 42

Digital image available at BnF


10th century (Beyerle/Buchner, Lehmann/Eckhardt 1966, Bischoff HA); middle of the 9th century, (North-)French (Mordek); ca. 3rd quarter of the 9th century, „französ., wohl mehr nördl.“ (Bischoff) (Kottje); 2. quarter of the 9th century (Eckhardt 1962 following Bischoff); 2nd half of the 9th century, North France (Hartmann); ca. 3rd quarter of the 9th century, North France (?) (Bischoff)

Passed from the library of the Le Puy-en-Velay chapter into Colbert's collection (No. 6197). Regius 5942.5.A

Physical description:

Material: Parchment
Quires: (IV-1)7 + 3.IV31 + (IV-1)38 + 9.IV110. Quire numbers: Quire 1-5 (a-e), quire 6-15 (Q. 1-8)
Number: 110 foll. (2 parts)
Size: 200 x 130 mm
Text block: 155 x 85 mm
Lines: 19

Script: At least two scribes (new hand at the end of the first quire numeration) of a dainty delicate minuscule with hardly any ligatures (only nt, et, st, ct); fol. 3r: 10-line high initial. fol. 44v and 45r: heading of the Lex Alamannorum in mixed uncial; fol. 45r: 5-line high initial as on fol. 3r; fol. 47r: 10-line high initial, red rubrics in mixed uncial; fol. 80v: 9-line high, decorated initial; fol. 95v: full-page, black and yellow illustration of a legislator at a ritual release (denariatio) (Image: MGH Leges V, according to p. 200; Mordek, Frühmittelalterliche Gesetzgeber, Tafel 25).
Binding: Red leather on wood with the coat of arms of the French king.



  • 1r - 37v
    Lex Salica Karolina. List of titles and text
  • 37v - 39v
    Adjacent to the last title of the Lex Salica: Lex Alamannorum tit. 6. Incipit: VI de iuratoribus quales vel quantos secundum euua homo habere debet. De minoirbus causis usque ad solidum valentem ... Explicit: ... ut de illa causa unde interpellatus est cuplabilis non sit. Explicit
  • 39r - 78r
    Lex Alamannorum, list of titles and text (version B). Explicit: ... si quis ingenuum aut ingenuam extraneam sine permisso cuius fuerit in terram miserit xl sol. sit culpabilis si servus fuerit xii sol. solvat.
  • 78r - 108r
    Lex Ribuaria, List of titles and text. Explicit: ... ut pax perpetua stabilis permaneat. EXPLICIT LEGIS RIBUARIA.
  • 108v
  • 109r
    Antiphon (cf. Borders/Brunner, Early medieval chants from Nonantula, p. xxxvii). Ego sum alfa et omega, primus et novissimus inicium et finis …
  • 109v
    Prayer. Domine Iesu Christe aput me sis ut me defendis de in pugna ...
  • 110r
    probatio pennae: Domine Iesu Christe. Vos autem lectores. Vos autem lectores qui psalterium legeritis.
The two parts of the codex are separated by different quire numerations. This likely caused Wormald (p. 66) to think that the heterogeneous material had been bound together in imitation of the leges-scriptorium. However, this thesis is insufficiently founded, since the decoration of the codex clearly indicates a common origin of its parts: the initials were carried out in the same style. Additionally, the scribe starting on fol. 10r is also present in the second part from fol. 95r onwards (cf. Buchner p. 86). All detectable hands also show the same repertoire of forms (tripartite a besides minuscule-a, few ligatures, right-raked script). The scribe starting at the second part can be distinguished by his "g", which has an open top and bottom. Overall one can presume that the two parts might have been produced separately, but were later bound together as a homogeneous law codex. The fragments on the endmost leaves point to a clerical institution. The transcription of the Lex Salica has many corrections. At some passages even whole sentences were appended (foll. 12r, 13v, 21v, 29v, 34r, 36v). [Karl Ubl]


  • Delisle 1868 p. 512
  • Buchner 1940 p. 86-87
  • Beyerle / Buchner 1954 p. 37
  • Eckhardt 1962 p. XXI
  • Lehmann / Eckhardt 1966 p. 15
  • Kottje 1987 p. 366, 373
  • Schott 1988 p. 105
  • McKitterick 1989 p. 51
  • Gontrum 1993 Part 2 p. 81-90
  • Mordek 1995 p. 135 [PDF-Download]
  • Bischoff HA Fiche 31, 7.58 (p. 20)
  • Hartmann 2008 p. 96 (n. 201), 97 (n. 206), 326
  • Bischoff 2014 p. 102
  • Ganz 2015 p. 260
  • Faulkner 2016 p. 256
  • Ubl 2017 p. 241
  • Coumert 2023 p. 15, 385-386
  • Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Regiae 3,3, Paris 1744, p. 632.
  • Hubert Mordek, Frühmittelalterliche Gesetzgeber und Iustitia in Miniaturen weltlicher Rechtshandschriften, in: La giustizia nell'alto medioevo. Secoli V-VIII (Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull'alto medioevo 42), Spoleto 1995, p. 997-1052, hier p. 1032-1034.
  • Patrick Wormald, The Making of English Law. King Alfred to the Twelfth Century, Oxford / Malden 1999, p. 66 n. 189.

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