The Auld Lawes of Scotland - 1597

Regiam majestatem + De verborum significatione (The auld lawes of Scotland; 2 volumes bound in one)

John Skene, Sir

Edinburgh : Printed by Thomas Finlason; Robert Walde-graue, Printer to the Kingis Majestie,1597 & 1609.

2 volumes bound in one.  [6], 158, 181, [2] leaves + [140] p.  Small folio; 28 cm. Title of Regiam Majestatem worn, with earlier restoration work.   Stamps from the Association of the New York Bar.  Engraved title and half title. Engraving of Scottish royal arms. 

John Skene, Lord Curriehill (1539?–1617) was a noted prosecutor (Lord Advocate for the Scottish crown) and judge.  Skene's Regiam Majestatem is the earliest surviving compilation of old Scot's law prior to James I.   Unlike England's common law foundation, Scottish law was based on Roman law.    The book is divided into 4 parts:  (1) civil actions and jurisdictions, (2) judgments and executions, (3) contracts, and (4) crimes.  Skene combined the 1188 treatise, Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus regni Angliae, Summa in Titulos Decretalium of Goffredus of Trano, and the Scottish Celtic Laws of the Brets and Scots.  (Earlier documentary evidence for Scottish law had been destroyed by England's Edward I and III's invasions.)  Two versions of the Regiam Majestatem were printed, 'the one in Latyne for the benefyte of strangearis, the uther in Scottishe language for the use of subjectis of the countrey.'  This version, fortunately, is in Scottish.  
His other significant work, bound with Regiam Majestatem, De Verborum Significatione, is an early dictionary of Scot's law.   Skene's dictionary was the first Scottish attempt to define the language of the law.  STC 21877. ESTC s117424. STC 22626. Aldis 417.  

Full titles: De Verborum Significatione - the Exposition of the Termes and Difficill Words conteined in the four Buiks of Regiam Majestatem and uthers, in the Acts of Parliament, Infeftments, and used in practicque in this Realme AND Regiam majestatem = The auld lawes and constitutions of Scotland: faithfullie collected furth of the register, and other auld authentick bukes, fra the dayes of King Malcolme the second, untill the time of King James the first

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