Breve (document)

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Breve (from Latin brevis, "short") originally referred to any shorter letter.

In Italy and on the Iberian Peninsula, the Breve was a type of document that was not a dispositive charter , but rather belonged to the documents of evidence ( Notitia ). It could also be an excerpt from a polyptych , that is, urbarial records. Abstracts of legal texts could also be designated this way. The German word " Brief " is derived from Breve .

Breve as a papal document

As a genus of papal documents, the Breve is first verifiable in 1390, but it is assumed that Urban VI. Breven has had it issued. In greater numbers, they find since Martin V. First, they served for political correspondence and affairs of the papal administration in the Papal States ( brevia de curia ), and later could Dispense and Delegationsreskripte at the request be made out by applicants as Breve ( brevia communia ). Since the Breven were not subject to the publicity rules of the papal litterae , their content could remain secret for longer. Benefit commissions always required the form of the littera , as their content had to be subject to the possibility of objection by those affected.

In more modern usage, Breve refers to a papal letter that differs from the bull not only in its brevity but also in its less solemnity. It is created by the Pope without an advisory council or decision by the cardinals .

A breve always contains official decisions and ordinances and must therefore be distinguished from a motu proprio (a “private letter” from the Pope). In the intitulatio the title “Papa” (father) is used with the ordinal number. The person to whom the breve is addressed is addressed with "Dilecte fili" (beloved son) or corresponding forms without mentioning proper names. This is followed by the usual greeting ( salutation ). The exact designation of the addressee by name can be found on the back, as the briefs written on narrow strips of parchment were shipped locked. As open breven ( brevia aperta ) since the late 15th century, indulgence breven with a general form of address , Breven Ad perpetuam rei memoriam , which begin with this formula instead of salutation and salutation in capitals , as well as breves addressed to Jews (with a different Greeting without “Dilecte fili”).

The certificate is made out in the Secretaria brevium . The Breve is not signed by the Pope, but only by the Secretary of the Breven (Italian: Segretario dei Brevi ) - additionally by the scriptor since the 16th century - and in place of the lead seal with the Pope's seal, the fisherman's ring , in red wax . Regular registration in the breven registers has taken place since the beginning of the 16th century. It is a matter of dispute whether Breven has been registered since Martin V.

The dating begins with “Datum Romae (behind it one of the main churches is always mentioned , usually apud Sanctumpetrum ) sub anulo piscatoris” (given in Rome (near Saint Peter) under the fisherman's ring). This is followed by the day, month, year and the year of the pontificate, which is written wide apart to fill the last line.

By decree of Pope Leo XIII. on October 29, 1879, the main differences between Breve and Bulle were eliminated.

Brevenscript as a model for the italic type

Ludovico degli Arrighi: Littera da brevi . Rome 1523.

In the 15./16. In the 19th century, a new written form, the Cancellaresca italica , emerged in the papal chancellery especially for the design of Breven , which had a lasting impact on European writing development. Under the influence of humanistically educated secretaries who endeavored to simplify the script, this form of the chancellery script as Littera da brevi , continued the departure from the Gothic spelling.

Compared to the Humanistica currens , a more individually shaped cursive font , the humanistic chancellery font was characterized by a tighter shape, narrow flow and less single-line letter combinations. With its elegant effect and simple spelling, it soon found supporters among scholars, artists and other members of the educated class, so that it quickly spread outside the papal chancellery. Its properties as a space-saving font made it particularly suitable for use as a print type . It was first cast for printing by Aldus Manutius in 1501 . That was the start of the development of italics, initially as an independent printing type, which was named Italic due to its origin in Italy. It was not until half a century later that italics secured its place as the “sister font” of the Antiqua .

The calligrapher Ludovico degli Arrighi, known as Vicentino , made an outstanding contribution to the aesthetic perfection of this writing style. He had been scrittore de brevi apostolici (papal breviary) in the papal chancellery since 1515 . In 1522 he dedicated the first master writer's book ( La Operina ) to Cancellaresca italica , which was followed by numerous instructions from other Italian and Spanish calligraphers (e.g. by Tagliente, Palatino, Amphiareo, Cresci, Yciar and Lucas). In 1523 Arrighi himself published another booklet as the second part of the Operina , in which, in addition to other alphabets, he also presented a script for the Littera da brevi .

See also


  • Middle Latin Dictionary , I 1967, Sp. 1576–1579 sv brevis # C. shows the meanings as a designation for a document.
  • Thomas Frenz, Breve . In: Lexikon des Mittelalters II, Sp. 636f. (only Papstbreven)
  • Res medii aevi. Small lexicon of medieval studies . Edited by Renate Neumüllers-Klauser. Harrassowitz Wiesbaden 1999, p. 39 (covers only Papstbreven) ISBN 3-447-03778-4 .
  • Silio Pietro Paolo Scalfati: Charter, breve, instrumentum: documenti privati ​​e notariato nell'Italia medioevale . In: El Notariado andalúz en el tránsito de la Edad Media a la Edad Moderna. I Jornadas sobre el Notariado en Andalucía del 23 al 25 de Febrero de 1994 . Ed. Pilar OSTOS SALCEDO and María Luisa PARDO RODRÍGUEZ. Seville: Colegio Notarial 1995, pp. 33-46. ISBN 84-605-4887-2 .
  • Giulio Prunai: Noterelle sul breve dei sarti di Figline del 1234. In: Studi in onore di Leopoldo Sandri . Roma 1983, Vol. III: 773-781.
  • Francesco Artizzu: Gli ordinamenti pisani per il porto di Cagliari. Breve portus Kallaretani . In: Archivi e Cultura 13, 1979, pp. 7-85.
  • Hans Foerster / Thomas Frenz: Outline of the Latin palaeography. Hiersemann, Stuttgart 2004. ISBN 3-7772-0410-2 .

Notes and individual references

  1. In the example: Pius papa II
  2. In the example: Dilectis filiis Prioribus, Gubernatori communis et Capitaneo Populi Civitatis Senarum
  3. In the example: G. de Piccolominis
  4. In the example: Date Rome apud Sanctumpetrum sub anulo piscatoris | The ultimo aprilis MCCCCLXIII pontificatus nostri anno quinto.
  5. Jan Tschichold : Master book of writing. Maier. Ravensburg 1979, ISBN 9783473611003 , p. 12.
  6. ^ Ludovico degli Arrighi: La operina
  7. ^ Ludovico degli Arrighi: Il modo de temperare le penne