The earliest author of a big collection of the canons of church councils was a Franciscan chap called Pierre Crabbé, or rather Petrus Crabbe, according to the pleasant custom of the time. In 1532 he undertook a search of more than 500 libraries for texts of the councils, and in 1538 he published a massive two-volume collection at Cologne under the title Concilia Omnia tam Generalia quam Particularia. This was hot stuff, where the disputes of the period were concerned, and both Catholic and Protestant made use of it. It was revised in 3 vols (Cologne: Joannes Quentel, 1551) [including a provisional account of the early history and decisions of the Council of Trent], and revised in 4 vols, ed. Surius (Cologne, 1567).
Apparently the Pope put him up to it. There was some sort of committee formed by the Vatican, and no doubt they were the real instigators.
How do I know this? For this morning I knew nothing of Petrus Crabbe and his pioneering work, until a kind correspondent mentioned him.
Well, it turns out that there are a couple of chaps named Maarten van der Heijden and Bert Roest, who have been working away on a massive biography of Franciscan authors from the 13-18th century. Better yet, it is online. The site, “Franciscan Authors, 13th-18th century: A catalogue in progress“, is accessible here:
The site is old-fashioned in design, but not a bit the worse for that. On the contrary, it is far more user-friendly than modern designs. Recommended.