(active 1170s in Paris or Sens)

Gratian: Decretals

Manuscript (Ms. Ludwig XIV 2), 443 x 291 mm
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The Decretum Gratiani, a collection of Canon law compiled and written in the 12th century as a legal textbook by the jurist known as Gratian. A teacher at the University in Bologna sometime between 1140 and 1150, Gratian, who was also a monk, organized the study of church law with his compilation of the Decretum.

This manuscript is richly illuminated with two full-page miniatures and a variety of historiated and decorated initials that mark divisions of the text. The northern French Romanesque style of the illuminations was strongly influenced by English art.

In the section of the Decretals on matrimony, an illuminator provided two full-page diagrams across a double-page spread to explain visually the laws of consanguinity and affinity. These laws were important for determining lines of inheritance and the legality of marriages. The first of these diagrams, the Table of Consanguinity, displays the degrees of relationship between a person and his or her blood relatives in order to make clear the prohibitions on marriage within one's own family.

The picture shows folio 227v with the Table of Consanguinity.