"Ex marginibus"

Law-Book Marginalia Copied Out by Gissur Einarsson

  • Jon Wright


On fols. 2–3 of British Library Add. MS. 11250 is an unusual text in the hand of bishop Gissur Einarsson with the title “Annotationes ex marginibus legisterij [T]horuardi legiferi quæ non transtuli in meum legisterium” (Annotations from the margins of the law-book of Þorvarður lögmaður Erlendsson which I did not copy into my law-book). The collection, which appears to be entirely unparalled, consists of short extracts from various texts: Icelandic and foreign laws, amendments, proverbs, sagas, jokes, wordplay and more. The texts are in Icelandic, Latin and German. The collection is here edited in its entirety for the first time and its contents discussed together with their connection to other texts and manuscripts. An attempt is also made to find the exemplar, though the conclusion is that this no longer exists, and it is suggested that this lost law-book was also among the sources used by Gottskálk Jónsson í Glaumbæ when compiling his miscellany, British Library Add. MS. 11242.