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In the early modern centuries, several European states issued pioneering regulations to protect what they thought of as “heritage” – that is, antiquities, monuments, and paintings considered important for their country’s splendour. These early protocols have had a substantial impact on the development of legal and aesthetic approaches to heritage protection in recent times. In this volume, legislation is explored from both a legal and art-historical perspective in order to understand how cultural, political, and social factors influenced the introduction of the first systems for safeguarding “precious artefacts” in early modern Europe. By comparing concepts and practices developed in different states, the narrative tracks down the origins of legislation for heritage protection, shedding light on the gradual development of new definitions of “antiquity”, “artwork”, and “monument” in the laws issued between the 1400s and 1700s. In the second part, the transcriptions of these regulations are presented together with their English translations: the original texts were in early modern Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, German, and Latin. Such a systematic apparatus offers a robust research instrument to scholars and academics worldwide, also constituting a fascinating read for broader audiences interested in the history of heritage protection.