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Margaritae

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(DECRETI DECRETORUM DECRETALIUM).

The canonists of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries who taught canon law by commenting on the Decretum of Gratian and on the various collections of the Decretals, gave the most varied forms and diverse names to their treatises. The "Margaritae" are collections specially intended to help the memory. In them are arranged, either in alphabetical order or according to the subject matter, the more important propositions, résumés, and axioms; some of them consisted of more or less felicitous mnemonic verses. A number of these "Margaritae" have been preserved, but not all the authors are known with certainty. Some of the treatises have been printed with the Decretum or the Decretals. Thus several editions of the Decretum contain the "Modus legendi" in verse, beginning:

Collige versibus quid vult distinctio quævis,
Ut videat quisquis divinum jus hominisque.

Another, as yet unpublished, which may be the "Breviarium pauperum metrice compilatum", contains in verse the five books of the Decretals and ends thus:

"Hos quinque libros metrice conscribere tempto."

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