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Law Dictionary Collection

Jakob Spiegel (1483-1547)

Jakob Spiegel. Lexicon juris civilis. Basel: apud Joannem Hervagium, 1554. 37 cm.

Jakob Spiegel was a humanist, jurist, and diplomat. At the height of his career, Speigel served as secretary to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, later Holy Roman Emperor, from c. 1514. In 1526 he retired to his hometown of Selestat in Alsace and resumed the practice of law.

Although Spiegel was a prolific author, Lexicon juris civilis was his most successful book. The entries are typically brief, from a sentence to a few paragraphs. Entries are supported by references to classical Roman jurists, medieval commentators, and sixteenth century luminaries including Erasmus, Aymar du Rivail, Guillame Budé, and Spiegel's mentor Ulrich Zasius. Indices, exegeses, essays, and related materials complement the central work.
The inscription on the title page indicates that this copy was once part of the library of the Order of Poor Clerks in what is now Ostrov, Czech Republic (Slakoverdensis=Slacoverdensis=Zlaukowerde=Schlackenwerth=Ostrov). In 1910 the library was sold by the last owner – the municipality of Ostrov – to a Viennese second-hand bookshop.

Tarlton Law Library holds two editions of this dictionary.


Joseph Ritter von Aschbach. "Spiegelius." Geschichte der Wiener Universität. Vienna: Wilhelm Braumüller, 1877, pp. 357-359.

"Piarist College." Ostrov město památek. [Accessed 13 April 2010].

Wenzl Sommer. Kurze Geschichte der Stadt Schlackenwerth in Verbindung mit dem Piaristen-collegium. Schlackenwerth: Selbstverlag des Verfassers, 1866.

Karl Adolf Franz Fischer. Verzeichnis der Piaristen der deutschen und böhmischen Ordensprovinz. Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 1985.