The book will be out in August – University of Chicago Press page here.
Here’s what I say about the subject of the picture in the book:
Irnerius (c.1050-c.1130) is a largely unknown figure, but he founded the school known as the Glossators… A painting of Irnerius, by Luigi Serra from the 19th century, on the ceiling of one of the rooms of the Palazzo d’Accursio in Bologna, demonstrates the interrelation of legal, political, religious and geographical themes in their work. The background shows a city, landscape and armies, with a priest blessing the troops as they prepare to go to battle. This is the context of the legal work Irnerius is doing in the foreground. Yet it is the work of Irnerius and those who followed him that provides the basis for the politics of land and conflict that are taking place at the same time. The lawyers were working on behalf of kings and cities, and the influence of their work continues into later legal theorists such as Francisco de Vitoria on the Spanish conquest of the new world and Hugo Grotius in his work on the rights of war and peace.
Irnerius pioneered the addition of explanatory notes and elucidations—glossae—to the text, initially between the lines and then expanding into the margins. The Glossators were concerned with the restoration of the Roman legal texts, and undertook detailed analytic work on problems in the texts, which was necessary given the state they were in and the time since their composition and compilation. The glosses could range from simple explanations of meaning and clarifications of syntax, to much more lengthy commentary and analysis.