xii, 4to., 88 pp., 11 leaves of lithographed plates printed on vellum, some with outline colour. Bound in elaborately gilt blue morocco with fleurs de lys (signed Hardy). Ex libris of Cortlandt F. Bishop. First plate toned, but otherwise excellent.
Scarce first printing of this elaborately produced facsimile of a 14th-century manuscript containing Philip the Fair's legislation concerning wagers of battle, the chivalric custom of settling disputes by force of arms rather than by the rule of law. This legislation, along with the ordinances of Louis IX against dueling (which the volume also reproduces), are considered crucial in eliminating or at least restricting the use of these feudal practices, and of subjecting the aristocracy to the same legal system governing non-nobles. The work forms the 7th part of the Collection des anciens monuments de la langue française, a series which attempted to reproduce the patrimony of medieval France by means of accurate, luxurious facsimiles: the work gives a printed transcript of the text along with reproductions of the manuscript's 11 miniatures in black and white and, in the present copy, is printed on vellum. According to the preface, the original illuminations were traced; the tracing was then applied to the lithographer's stone. This is intended to offer a level of veracity unmediated by any later artist?something like a xerox.
According to the editor, the text was previously published in a different redaction by Jean Savaron in his Traité contre les duels. Avec l’édict de Philippes le Bel, de l’an MCCCVI (Paris 1610), and the preamble and extracts in a Recueil d'Ordonnances et Status royaulx (Paris, Galliot du Pré, 1515). He remarks that the textual differences between the present ms. and these printed sources are substantial, to say nothing of the information contained in the miniatures, which depict the stages of a wager.
According to Brunet, II. 408, there were nine copies on Holland paper with the illustrations printed on vellum.
* Brunet II, p. 408 (dated 1829) (cf. Crapelet).