Book of Country, Municipal and Other Laws,

a most comprehensive handbook of medieval legislation used in Bohemia on the threshold of the Hussite rebellions

Pozice 1616
Článek 1268

About book

The manuscript identified with the pressmark 1864 in the Archives of Prague Capital, otherwise referred to as the Book of Country, Municipal and Other Laws, is essentially a very comprehensive handbook of medieval legislation used in Bohemia on the threshold of the Hussite rebellions. As to topic, the book may be ranked among legal literature – with its 268 numbered sheets, it represents the most comprehensive digest of legal texts of the Pre-Hussite era in Old Czech. It contains a wide range of diverse regulations, directions and legal statements originally Czech and also international ones.

The introductory part of the book is devoted to country’slaw – The Country’sLaws by Ondřej of Dubá, the Book of Rosenbergs, both the versions of the Country’sLaw Code. These are followed by vassalage laws, the Czech translation of the so-called Swabian Mirror. The most comprehensive part of the text is focused on the issues of Municipal law. It contains the Jihlava Laws, the Brno Laws, including the findings of local town council, and Brikcí de Licsko, the Czech version of the Swabian Mirror. It is followed by lists of taxes, charges and fines returned to the King and his officers. Copies of important royal documents and decrees are enclosed - for example Jewish privileges, vineyard regulations, etc.

The manuscript originated between 1413-1419 on the instigation of Prague Old Town Council and it remained in its ownership up to present. Owing to frequent footnotes, it is evident that the book was often used also in the following period and became an inherent aid in resolving disputes.

The circumstances as to the origin of the manuscript are not quite known but these may be imagined Two legal systems were applied in Czech towns - the so-called Magdeburg and Nuremberg law, whereas the towns in Bohemia were allowed to appeal right to Nuremberg or Magdeburg any time. King Wenceslas IV prohibited this and established Litoměřice as the supreme instance for the Magdeburg Law and Prague Old Town for the Nuremberg Law. As a result of this alteration, this manuscript may have come into existence as the handbook of secular laws used at that time.

It is very unique for its era. No similar books  preserved in Bohemia and Moravia at the turn of 14th a 15th centuries that contained such a varied medley of different legal texts. On the contrary, the compilations of similar contents appeared in Bohemian towns after the Hussite wars, most often in the second half of the 15th century. This is why the Prague Manuscript surmounted its period by twenty or thirty years at least. Our company, Tempus Libri, is publishing the facsimile of this illustrated manuscript in 199 copies for all the world.

The selling price of the facsimile, including its accompanying commentary publication, is CZK 140,000 (including the VAT decreased rate).