A designation given during the Middle Ages to certain compilations of "glosses" on the text of a given manuscript. The earliest glossa ordinaria is that made on the Bible, probably in the 12th century (see glosses, biblical). However, the term glossa ordinaria was most commonly used in the field of law, particularly Canon Law.
Several glossa ordinaria (also referred to by medieval canonists as the glossa ) were produced in the field of law during the 13th and 14th centuries. These works were generally held by the schools and courts as containing the best selection of commentaries and explanations on the legal texts contained in various collections. These glosses were endowed with a certain authority, though not of an official nature. Presumed to be the most correct, they were the ones most likely to be adopted by the Roman Curia and the ones every student had to know and of which every author had to take cognizance. These legalistic glossa ordinaria had their immediate origins in the works of the glossators from the middle of the 12th century, and particularly in their apparatus glossarum (systematic compilations of glosses: see glosses, canon law).
The glossa ordinaria of this period are among the most important and influential treatises of the classical period of Canon Law. They are based upon those collections of law that formed the principal legal texts of the period. The first canonical glossa to become known as a glossa ordinaria is that of joannes teutonicus. It was completed shortly after Lateran Council IV (1215–16) and is a commentary written in the form of a marginal gloss on the text of gratian's Decretum. It is not printed as Joannes made it. Another Bolognese master, bartholomew of brescia, c. 1245 adapted it to the later decretals. It was later included in the printed text of Gratian's Decretum.
The work that came to be considered as the glossa ordinaria on the quinque compilationes antiquae was that of tancred of bologna. This commentary covered only the first three compilationes ; its final edition came out c. 1220. Joannes Teutonicus also produced the glossa ordinaria for the Compilatio quarta, c. 1217; james of albenga produced the one for the Compilatio quinta. This latter is probably the least important of all, since the Compilatio quinta was in force only a short time.
The glossa ordinaria on the Decretals of gregory ix was produced by bernard of parma. It underwent at least four recensions (1234–63) during Bernard's lifetime, and it later received several additions, especially from Joannes Andreae. The glossa on the liber sextuswas produced by joannes andreae c. 1301. He produced also the glossa ordinaria on the Constitutions of Clement V shortly after they appeared (1322). The remaining part of the corpus iuris canonici, i.e., the Extravagantes, had glosses on individual sections, but none became known as the glossa ordinaria (see canon law, history of, 4).
The practice of glossating texts was popular also in the schools of Roman law. The glossa ordinaria on the basic text of Roman law, the Corpus Iuris Civilis, was produced by Accursius (d. c. 1260), a professor of the Roman law school of Bologna. It was produced at the same time as the first glossa ordinaria of Canon Law.
Bibliography: j. schmid and a. m. stickler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 4:968–971. g. mollat, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, ed. r. naz (Paris 1935–65) 5:972–974. a. van hove, Commentarium Lovaniense in Codicem iuris canonici 1, v.1–5 (Mechlin 1928—); v.1, Prolegomena (1945) 1:412 and passim. j. f. von schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des kanonischen Rechts (Graz 1956) 2:86–88. w. m. plÖchl, Geschichte des Kirchenrechts, v.2 (Vienna 1962) 504 and passim.
[j. m. buckley]