Early Bavarian Law


The Lex Baiuvariorum (Bavarian law) is the oldest surviving Latin document of any extent composed in Bavaria and the most important source for the early history of Bavaria. Containing the text of the first Bavarian statute book, it reflects, besides the history of the law, the economic, social, and cultural history of Bavaria under Agilolfingian rule in the sixth–eighth centuries. It focuses on criminal law, prescribing fiscal penalties for various infringements, and also deals with constitutional, civil, and procedural law. The preface reveals the high sources from which the Lex claims its authority: it begins with an appeal to Christ and then introduces the most famous legislators, beginning with Moses, whose name is highlighted by a yellow and red initial. The small format, modest decorations, and the clear Carolingian minuscule script are characteristic of this copy of the Lex, which was intended for use, as ordained in Chapter 2, 14, which specified that the statute book be at hand during every procedure in order to ensure “a just verdict in all cases.” The manuscript was composed in Freising and came to the Bavarian State Library from the Benedictine monastery on the Tegernsee in South Germany.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Freising, Germany


Title in Original Language

Lex Baiuvariorum - De partibus divinae legis / Junilius

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

306 pages, parchment : illustrations ; 19.5 x 12.5 centimeters


  • BSB shelfmark: Clm 19415

Last updated: May 19, 2014