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Call for papers

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Law and image: illuminated legal manuscripts

Clio@Themis thematic file on illuminations in legal manuscripts

Over the past twenty years, the study of illuminated legal manuscripts has received a new impulse and interest from historians of illumination, thanks in particular to the pioneering and essential studies of Susan L’Engle and Robert Gibbs (scientific coordinators in 2001 of the exhibition Illuminating the Law. Medieval Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge Collections), Gaspar Coll i Rosell, Massimo Medica, and by some legal historians, in particular Mario Ascheri, who in 1996 was responsible for the scientific coordination of a remarkable exhibition on illuminated legal manuscripts at the Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati in Siena, and Martin Bertram who, in 2010, together with Silvia Di Paolo, was responsible for the scientific coordination of an important colloquium on the illustrations of the Decretals (Decretales pictae. Le miniature nei manoscritti delle Decretali di Gregorio IX [Liber Extra]). Thanks to these fundamental contributions, recent years have seen an intensification of studies, research and scientific initiatives concerning illuminated legal manuscripts.
In this stimulating context of reflection and discussion, Clio@Themis, in collaboration with the research team IUS ILLUMINATUM of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, has decided to devote a thematic dossier, planned for the year 2021, to Illuminated legal manuscripts . The dossier, placed under the scientific coordination of Maria Alessandra Bilotta (IEM-FCSH/NOVA, principal researcher of the IUS ILLUMINATUM team) and Serge Dauchy (Centre d’histoire judiciaire, CNRS, Lille), aims to create an opportunity for dialogue between historians of illumination and legal historians and an opportunity to explore the different aspects of the decoration and illustration of the medieval legal manuscript.

Papers (20 to 25 p.), will be written in French, English, Spanish or Italian. Only illustrations that are free of copyright or for which a free publication authorization has been granted may be published (in colour) online.
Contributions may include, but are not limited, to the following topics:

  1. The relationship between text and image in legal manuscripts
  2. Marginal decorations in illuminated legal manuscripts
  3. The circulation of illuminated legal manuscripts in Europe in the Middle Ages
  4. The study of fragments of illuminated legal manuscripts
  5. The production of illuminated legal manuscripts
  6. Peciae and illuminated legal manuscripts
  7. Customary Law, ‘Oath Books’ and Illuminated Statuti
  8. The transition from the illuminated legal manuscript to the printed book

Proposals for titles (to be send before September 1st,2020) and contributions (accepted until December, 31 2020) can be sent to the following addresses:


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