Opera. [Hē tou Homērou poiēsis hapasa.]

Florence, [printer of Vergilius (C 6061), possibly Bartolommeo di Libri] for Bernardus and Nerius Nerlius and Demetrius Damilas, [not before 13 Jan. 1488/89].


EDITIO PRINCEPS. Folio. 2 vols in 1, ff. 438 unnumbered and signed, A-D8 E(10-1) [lacking blank] A-Z8 ET8 [cum]8 [rum]8 AA-ZZ8 ETET6. Greek letter, little Roman. Very slight marginal soiling to some lower outer corners, light small marginal water stain to 4 ll., occasional minimal marginal foxing, first and last gathering lightly browned and expertly washed. An excellent, clean copy, on thick high-quality paper and in fine impression, in C18 German calf, marbled eps, double blind ruled to a panel design, second border with roll of leafy tendril, large fleurons in blind to corners, spine in seven double gilt ruled compartments, gilt large fleuron and cornerpieces to each, raised bands, a.e.r., minor loss to corners. Bookplate of L.S. Olschki to front ep, ex-libris ‘L. Kulenkamp 1774’ to fly, stamp of Bibliotheca Ducalis Gothana to first. In gilt-lettered red morocco slipcase by Joseph Zaehnsdorf.

An exceptional copy, of remarkable provenance, of the monumental EDITIO PRINCEPS of Homer’s complete works, ‘the first perfect poetry of the Western world’ (PMM 31), edited by Demetrius Chalcondylas. One of the fathers of Greek studies in Italy, Chalcondylas (1423–1511) was an Athenian scholar and a member of Bessarion’s Roman circle. As professor of Greek at Padua, he contributed in disseminating the knowledge of Greek in Italy and beyond teaching pupils like Poliziano and Thomas Linacre. After taking on a professorship in Greek at Florence, he began work on the Homeric editio princeps which he published in cooperation with Bernardus and Nerius Nerlius, two former students, and the Greek printer Demetrius Damilas. The latter provided the Greek type—the earliest of its kind in Italy—which was recast from the one he had employed at his Milanese press since 1476 and revised to improve the reproduction of accents (Proctor, ‘The Printing of Greek in the 15th Century’, 66-69). One of only four printed in this early Greek typeface, this edition was probably also the first Greek book produced in Florence and the only Homeric folio until 1536.

Then and now, Homer has remained an obscure figure in the history of Western poetry. Whilst his ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ are dated to the C9-8BC, it is uncertain whether there ever was a blind bard of such genius or whether his persona came to be used to identify the output of a long-standing oral epic tradition. Seeking to eschew the perils of the medieval ms transmission, the edition relied (with revisions) on Eusthatius’s renowned C12 commentaries. Nevertheless, in the preface Chalcondylas warned the reader that the text of ‘Batrachomyomachia’—a parody of the ‘Iliad’ as a battle of mice and frogs, now attributed to Lucian—had only been reconstructed from ‘corrupted copies’. In addition to the lives of Homer attributed to Plutarch, Herodotus and Cassius Dio, sometimes bound at the end, the edition also featured the ‘Iliad’ (which ‘sings the wrath of Achilles’), the ‘Odyssey’ (on Ulysses’s peregrinations after the Fall of Troy) and the ‘Homeric Hymns’ (verse to Greek deities in Homeric style but not Homeric).

This majestic edition is a masterpiece of early Greek philology. Forty years later, Erasmus rated it better than the more recent, ‘highly corrupted’ Aldine, and requested it to be purchased for him by one of his agents. It introduced humanists to the ‘paradigm of Attic dialect’ and revealed the work of a mysterious poet whose form, action and words ‘have had an incalculable influence on the form, action and words of poetry ever since’ (PMM 31). In the C18 this copy was in the library of Lüder Kulenkamp (1724-94), a German philosopher, theologian and philologist at Bremen and Frankfurt. He was professor of Philosophy and Theology at Göttingen and Bremen, and a great Hellenist and bibliophile. Kulenkamp’s most important philological work was a commentary of 1765 with emendations on the ‘Etymologicum Magnum’ preserved at the Ducal Library of Brunswick-Lunenburg. It was a Byzantine Greek lexicon compiled in the C12 and based on works like the ‘Codex Gudiano’, and other lexical and etymological sources. Kulenkamp belonged to the first generation of German scholars, including Johann Matthias Gesner, who followed a new ‘German-Greek’ humanism ‘in contrast to the Italian- Roman humanism of the Renaissance’, recast within the world of Protestant Germany (Paulsen, ‘Geschichte des gelehrten Unterrichts’, I, 2). His library contained a treasure  of incunabula and C16 editions of Greek classics which was sold at auction in Göttingen in 1796. Seen the strong classical focus of his library, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was happy to spend 710 thaler on this occasion—a greater sum than any other of his auction purchases—68 of which served to purchase this copy (Pozzo, ‘Membra disiecta’, 113). In 1835, the copy was still in the Bibliotheca Ducalis Gothana (Jacobs and Ukert, ‘Beiträge zur ältern  Litteratur’, I, 298-99). As shown by the bookplate, it became part of Olschki’s private collection before 1940. In 1948, it featured as item n.53 in the antiquarian catalogue ‘Très précieux manuscrits enluminés et incunables provenant de la bibliothèque privée de feu M. Lèo S. Olschki’, issued in Geneva (cf. Barbieri, ‘Leo Samuel Olschki’, 301-2), with a note stating it came from the Ducal Library of Gotha. It is described as ‘bel exemplaire’ of an edition ‘très précieuse et rare, l’un des plus beaux monuments typographiques de tous les temps’.

ISTC ISTC, ih00300000; Goff H300; HCR 8772; BMC VI, 678; Bod-inc H-136; GW 12895. A. Pozzo, Membra disiecta: Inhalt und Wirkung der Bibliothek des Göttinger Professors Lüder Kulenkamp (1724-1794) (Berlin, 2014); F. Jacobs and F.A. Ukert, Beiträge zur ältern Litteratur…der Herzogl. Öffentlichen Bibliothek zu Gotha (Leipzig, 1835); E. Barbieri, ‘Leo Samuel Olschki “auteur du mouvement des études sur l’origine de l’imprimerie”: I. I cataloghi di vendita’, La Bibliofilia 116 (2014), 281-304; PMM 31: ‘the composition of the Aeneid, the Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost and many others has been determined by the Iliad and the Odyssey.’



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Okhtaik, rekshe osmoglasnik [Part I].

[Moscow, Pechatnyj Dvor, 1638.]


Folio. ff. 459 + 2 ms. ll., lacking 3 blanks, ll. 1-11 of second quire misbound, Part I of II, each printed separately. Old Church Slavonic, in red and black. Decorated initials and headpieces. Slight age browning, heavy marginal oilstaining and thumbing, scattered wax stains, occasional minor marginal tears, last gathering mounted on stub, some early marginal repairs, small worm trails to gutter of first gathering. An intensely but carefully used copy in contemporary goatskin over bevelled wooden boards, two clasps, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with leafy tendrils in blind, central panel of upper cover with large fleurons at head and foot and rhombus-shaped floral centrepiece within lozenge-shaped frame, lower cover with large fleurons at head and foot and double blind ruled grille de St Laurent with tendrils, a.e.r. Spine in five compartments, each with three large fleurons in blind, raised bands, covers scuffed. Early inked numbers, Russian inscription and pencilled amateur portraits of Mar [Mary?] and Sts Fëdor, Aleksej, Vladimir and Aleksandr to fly, later pencilled inscription ‘милостивому государю (?)’ (‘to the egregious Master’) and numbers to rear pastedown, later inscription ‘креснѧ марia сидоровна преставласъ кд ïюнѧ 1882’ (‘Kresna [surname?] Maria Sidorovna died on 29 June 1882’) to ep.

The austere binding reprises the design and structural elements of those produced for liturgical books at the Monastery of the Trinity and St Sergius in Zagorsk, c.50 miles north-east of Moscow, which set a standard for the genre from the 1560s (Klepikov, ‘Russian Bookbinding to 1750’, 417-18).

An intensely but carefully used copy of the first part of the ‘Okhtaich’ (or ‘Okhtoich’ or

‘Охтаикъ, рекше осмогласникъ’ or ‘Октоих, Осьмогласник’) published in Moscow in 1638 by the Pechatnyj Dvor—the printing house where the first book in Cyrillic movable type was produced in 1564. The second part was printed separately in the same year and usually bound separately. Derived from the Greek ‘Ochtoecos’, the ‘Okhtaich’ was a liturgical text of the Russian Orthodox rite. It features pieces to be sung at services each day of the week. The number ‘eight’ in the title refers to the subdivision into eight sections—of which this volume includes the first four; each identified by a letter (‘a’ to ‘и’) corresponding to the ‘glas’ (musical mode) in which the songs were sung, as Russian liturgical chant constructed melodies around individual tones. Part I contains modes 1 to 4 (‘a’ to ‘д’). The texts for daily vespers or matins include ‘stichiry’ (in psalmodic hexameters, some attributed to John of Damascus), antiphons, ‘kanoni’ (odes with a more complex verse structure), ‘pesni’ (songs) and ‘troparia’ (hymns on the liturgical theme of the day). At the end is additional material often found in the ‘Okhtaich’, including Resurrectional Exaposteilaria and the Gospel Stichiry, and ‘troparia’ for the Trinity and by Gregory of Sinai  In this copy, there are two additional ms. leaves containing four ‘kondiaki’ (modes ‘a’ to ‘д’)—short hymns with a main body and a refrain (‘ikos’)—celebrating the Resurrection and sung at the Sunday morning service. This edition of the ‘Okhtaich’ does not contain the ‘kondiaki’, as sometimes happened when they were very similar to the ‘tropar’’ for the same day. ‘Kondiaki’ for the Resurrection were used for the Paschal service and the owner of this copy probably wished to have them readily available.

No copies recorded outside Russia except BL (also Part I only). We have traced 5 copies in Russian libraries.

Zernova, Knigi kirillovskoj pechati,142; Cleminson, Cyrillic Books, 87; Pozdeeva, Katalog knigi kirillicheskoj pechati, 285-87.


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Notificatione delli capitoli, et conventioni…Intorno alli banditi, & condannati.

Bologna, Alessandro Benacci, [1586].


FIRST EDITION. 4to. 4 unnumbered and unsigned leaves. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut arms of Cardinal Enrico Caetani to t-p, decorated headpiece and initials. Age browning, little faint dampstaining to upper outer corner, small tear with no loss to upper margin of t-p, tiny loss at lower gutter of last. A good copy in modern boards. Early numbers inked to upper margin of t-p.

A remarkably well-preserved and clean copy of this Bolognese edict—a rare survival of C16 legal ephemera—addressing a major issue of public order: the flight of bandits and prisoners sentenced to capital punishment. The outcome of negotiations between Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, and Cardinal Caetani, emissary of the Pope in Bologna, the edict struck an agreement by which no bandits or fugitive prisoners sentenced to capital punishment should find a safe place either in the Bologna territory (within the Papal States) or in neighbouring Ferrara; if any such criminals were discovered in either territory in which they were not resident, they could be punished by proxy. No safe-conducts would be granted by either state and those already granted should be revoked.

Only five copies recorded. None in the US.


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Parte presa nell’eccellent.mo Conseglio di Dieci. 1615…In materia delle pubbliche meretrici.

Venice, appresso Roberto Meietti & Evangelista Deuchino, [1615].


FIRST and ONLY EDITION. 4to. 4 unnumbered ll., A4. Italic letter, little Roman. Woodcut vignette with St Mark’s lion to t-p, decorated initial. Upper margin of t-p repaired, some thumbing, a little dust-soiling, edges untrimmed and a bit frayed. A good copy in modern purple boards.

A remarkably preserved copy of this Venetian edict addressing a major issue of public order: prostitutes. It is a rare survival of C17 ephemera of which only 2 copies are recorded, in Rome and Venice. The Consiglio dei Dieci was established in 1310 to monitor and preserve the public order of the Serenissima in Venice and on the mainland. The edict attacked ‘meretrici’ (prostitutes) who circulated, causing ‘gossip and universal nausea’, by boat or coach in their customary dresses or those of honest, married women, sometimes wearing masks and accompanied by servants, or who attended public events like masses, weddings or fairs. The edict reiterated previous prohibitions adding that the game of cards and dice should be forbidden in brothels. Punishment for transgressors included five years in prison, having their nose and ears cut off publicly between the columns of St Mark, being whipped from St Mark to Rialto and banned from Venetian territories. Boatmen, coachmen and servants who failed to denounce transgressions would also be punished with prison and whipping. The edict was to be hung in St Mark, Rialto and on public boats.

No copies in the US. Only Casanatense and Marciana copies recorded.

USTC 4026409. Not recorded in any bibliographies.


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ARTHUS, Gotthard


Historia Indiae Orientalis.

Cologne, Wilhelm Lutzenkirch, 1608.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. (xviii) 616 [612], two fold-out plates. Roman letter, little Italic. Two fold-out plates with five engraved maps of the hemispheres (including the Americas and Japan), Southern Asia, Middle East and Persia, and a world portolan; decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Age browning (poor quality paper), minor repair at lower gutter of t-p, scattered ink spots, some light waterstaining to lower outer corner of a few gatherings, one fold-out map mounted. A good copy in C19 antique-style mottled calf, edges sprinkled red, spine single gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, silk bookmark.

A good copy of the FIRST EDITION of this collection of travel reports from Asia and Africa. Born in Gdansk, Gotthard Arthus (1570-1630) studied at Jena and worked as co-rector at the Frankfurt Stadtschule. He struck a twenty-year long collaboration with the de Bry press to work on the Latin translation of their illustrated series ‘Historia Indiae Orientalis’—a fundamental work for the creation of a shared knowledge of the Orient in Europe—the first volume of which was published in 1597. Arthus’s work was a compilation of material also present in de Bry’s. It covered not only India, Bengal, Ceylon, Malabar, Sumatra, Japan, China, the Molucchae and Philippines, but also parts of Western Africa like Mozambique and Madagascar, as well as the Azores and even, briefly, Brazil. It employed material drawn from the most recent accounts of Portuguese and Dutch expeditions and travelogues authored by Jesuit missionaries, covering a wide variety of subjects, from physical geography to flora, fauna, customs, politics and local illnesses. The beautifully engraved maps of Southern Asia, the Middle East and Persia, here in fine condition and impression, were taken from the reduced-size edition of Ptolemy’s ‘Geography’ edited by Giovanni Antonio Magini and printed in Cologne in 1597 (Shirley 202). The world map in two hemispheres and the portolan world chart were reduced from Mercator’s double-page folio version printed in 1587 (Shirley 204).

NYPL, Princeton, LC, Newberry, UChicago and Minnesota copies recorded in the US.

Sabin 2139; Alden 608/6; Cordier, Bibliotheca Indosinica, 120; Shirley 202 & 204; Brunet, I, 518.


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RAIMONDO, Annibale


Opera dell’antica, et honorata Scientia de Nomandia.

Venice, per Iouita Rapirio & compagni, 1549 [colophon: Venice, per Pietro & Gioan Maria fratelli de Nicolini de Sabio, 1550.]


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. 210. Italic letter. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, 7 half-page engravings of astrological schemas, decorated initials. Some light mainly marginal dampstaining, small tear to outer margin of one fol., early repair to lower margin of another. A good copy in C17 Italian vellum over pasteboards, gilt-lettered morocco label to spine.

Good copy of the FIRST EDITION of this successful work on numerology. Annibale Raimondo (1505-91) was a physician from Verona and the author of several pamphlets on astrology, prognostics and the Gregorian calendrical reform. His ‘Opera’ addressed the only too human wish to know future events, providing a method of interpretation integrating traditional ones like astrology, chiromancy or necromancy. It is the ‘science’ of ‘nomandia’—an astrological system whereby the letters of names and nouns are given numerical values which help foresee events or discover the content or identity of ‘cose occulte’, that is, literally, unknown items or people. Names should be written in the ‘Latin nominative’ and ‘with the true orthography and without barbarism’, to ensure a standardized spelling for equal results, whilst calculations should follow Raimondi’s instructions and take into account the influx of planets according to a ‘philosophical wheel’ with numbers, letters and zodiac signs engraved in the introduction. The initial part of the work features a long list of questions its readers might want to see addressed. These include the traditional desire to know whether future events will bring good or bad fortune, one’s offspring will be male or female or the coming year will see famine, war or peace, but also intriguing requests like ways of telling the content of an unopened letter, the appearance of a thief who acted unseen, whether a prisoner will manage to escape or a physician be unable to heal one’s illness because he is ‘ignorant’, a ‘fugitive’ or a ‘foreigner’. The rest is devoted to combinations of numbers and zodiac signs providing specific answers to the initial question, with excursions into physiognomics. The ‘Opera’ was added to the ‘Index Librorum Prohibitorum’ in 1559 as an ‘item de geomantia et de chiromantia’—methodologies almost completely absent in the work and only present in the subtitle, where Raimondi is described as ‘Astrologo, Geomante, Chiromante & Fisionomo’.

Graesse VI, 18; Houzeau & Lancaster 4846; Cantamessa III, 6502; Riccardi I, 337; Wellcome 5318. Not in NLM.


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Varias poesias.

[Madrid], por la viuda de Alonso Martin de Balboa, 1619.


FIRST EDITION. ff. (iv) 96 (iv). Roman letter, with Italic. Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Uniform age browning, t-p little dusty, light waterstaining to lower outer corner of couple of gatherings, minimal marginal spotting. A good, clean copy in contemporary Spanish vellum, yapp edges, traces of ties, joints partially loose at foot.

Scarce FIRST EDITION of the juvenile works of Francisco López de Zaráte (1580-1658). Born in Logroño, he studied at Salamanca before joining the army in Flanders and Italy, and eventually the entourage of the Duke of Lerma, becoming acquainted with authors like Lope de Vega. His early ‘varias poesias’ include 19 compositions where classical rigour is tamed by the poet’s fascination with the ways in which the force and beauty of nature can infiltrate the allegorical world of poetry. The first plays with darker overtones on the Virgilian eclogue, with shepherds conversing about love and death, ‘the port of life’. The second, with a strongly political character, locates the pastoral world in C16 Logroño, the poet’s native town. Religious poetry occupies a substantial part, including shorter verse on the Virgin and the celebration of the holy Feast at Lerma opened by a lyrical description in which the movement of constellations seems to extend the ‘soñolentas horas’ of the night and turn dawn into sunset. The remaining compositions are of several kinds, from verse for King Philip’s joust, moral lessons and variations on classical ‘fabulae’ to the translation of Martial’s epigrams. The most famous, which earned the poet the nickname ‘Caballero de la Rosa’, coined by Lope de Vega, is his sonnet to a rose, where the celebrated flower is caught in a world of extremes, between violence and frailty, the glory of beauty and the accident of death. A scarce collection and a little jewel from the ‘Siglo de Oro’.

4 copies recorded in the US.

Wilkinson, Iberian Books, 47238; Palau 142262; Simón Díaz, BLH 13/3706. Not in BL STC Sp. or Brunet.


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WECKER, Johann Jacob


De secretis libri XVII.

Basel, [n.p.], 1582.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. (xlvi) 962. Roman letter, with Italic. Woodcut printer’s device, over 30 ¼-page woodcuts of geographical schema and machines, decorated initials. T-p a bit dusty, some light browning, minor repair to margin of couple of ll., slight mostly marginal foxing, small ink burn with loss to blank margin of one fol. A good copy in contemporary Italian limp vellum, yapp edges, ties and outer margins restored. Early autograph ‘Jo. Baptista [illegible] Physimedicus’ to ep, early casemark to blank lower margin of t-p.

Good copy of the FIRST EDITION of this successful ‘book of secrets’. Johann Jacob Wecker (1528-86) was a Swiss physician interested in philosophy, logic and alchemy in relation to medicine, on which he wrote extensively in French and Latin whilst teaching at Basel and Paris. ‘De secretis’ is a most important work within the genre of ‘books of secrets’, which developed in the medieval period in the form of recipe books in Latin—‘secret’ to the illiterate—containing instructions, devised by wise men and physicians, for the preparation of medicines, concoctions useful in domestic management (e.g., ink stain removal) and alchemical recipes to alter chemical substances. In the C16, they became best-selling works purchased not only by the middle classes, particularly those in the vernacular, but also by practising physicians like the Italian ‘physiomedicus’ who owned this copy. Wecker structured this matter according to the Ramist logic of hierarchical dichotomies, into ‘arts’ related to material or immaterial bodies (from God to the four elements and their animate and inanimate compounds) or categorised as ‘organicae’, ‘philosophicae’ and ‘mechanicae’ following the trivium and quadrivium. Despite this unusual and complex framework, ‘De secretis’ discussed, with the help of ancient authorities, the wide array of material for which ‘books of secrets’ were renowned and liked, including horticulture (e.g., growing fruit trees), farming (e.g., what to do if a horse is blinded), cookery (e.g., how to make liqueur), medicine (e.g., remedies for leprosy), fixes to practical daily life issues (e.g., how to make a candle burn underwater) and even types of sorcery and the prediction of death.

Caillet III, 1912; Durling 4710; Graesse VII, 427; NLM cat. 4707; Ferguson I, 33. Not in Wellcome.


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BRUNI, Francesco, SUZZARA, Guido da, UBALDI, Baldo degli


Tractatus de indiciis, et tortura.

Venice, [in aedibus Francisci Bindoni & Maphei Pasini], 1549.


8vo. ff. (xii) 96 [99]. Roman letter. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials. Minor spotting to a few upper margins, light ink stain to lower outer corner of couple of gatherings, lower margin of fol. 66 trimmed. An excellent copy in reused contemporary vellum, traces of ties, minor repair to lower corners, recased.

Excellent copy of this most important collection of medieval and early modern treatises on criminal law regulations concerning the use of torture. First published in 1495, Francesco Bruni’s (fl. late C15-early C16) ‘Tractatus’ was based on his professional experience as judge in Siena. The first parts deals with ‘indicia’ (circumstantial evidence), how they are defined and proved and which ones can justify torture or sentencing—fundamental questions addressed in the formulation of the much later theory of ‘reasonable doubt’. The second deals with torture, providing regulations on when, if and how it should be used, and its effects, as well as launching an attack against ‘perverse’ judges who invented new kinds of torture ‘for pleasure’. The second and third treatises by the renowned jurists Guido da Suzzara (1225-92) and Baldo degli Ubaldi (1327-1400) address similar questions with a practical stance, according to the structure of medieval legal manuals presenting answers to specific questions. Both identify thorny circumstances making the use of torture problematic—from the age of prisoners (e.g., torture was prohibited against children under 14 and the elderly) to the extent and force of its administration and the behaviour of authorities (e.g., if a prisoner could not be tortured he should not deprived of food as a form of indirect torture). Three most important works of criminal law which had a long-lasting influence on the Western judicial system.

BM STC It., p. 128. Not in Brunet or Graesse.


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RAMUSIO, Giovanni Battista


Delle navigationi et viaggi…Volume primo. (with) Delle navigationi et viaggio…Volume secondo. (with) Delle navigationi et viaggi…Volume terzo.

Venice, Giunta, 1613, 1583, 1606.


Folio. 3 vols. ff. I) (iv) 394; II) 256, 90; III) (iv) 430. Roman letter, with Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps and last of II) and III), over 40 woodcut illustrations of inhabitants, flora and fauna of Asia, Africa and America, 12 woodcut or copperplate maps (10 fold-out including Brazil, Cuzco and Sumatra), decorated initials. Slight mainly marginal foxing or faint dampstaining, little light age browning, the odd thumb or ink mark. Very good copies, on thick paper and of fine impression, in early vellum over pasteboards, rebacked and recornered c1900, traces of ties, gilt lettered morocco label.

Remarkably crisp and clean copies of one of the most important collections of voyages and discoveries, beautifully illustrated. As here, most recorded sets are composed of different editions and those like this featuring the most complete editions of each of the individual volumes are rare. 1583 is the first complete (and augmented) edition of vol. 2, and 1606 and 1613 the only complete ones of vols. 1 and 3 (Brunet, IV, 1100-1101), adding for example the travels of Barents and Federici for the first time.

Born in Treviso, Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485-1557) worked as secretary and envoy to Alvise Mocenigo, having access to the latest information on expeditions and travels of exploration reaching Venice from abroad. First published by Ludovico Giunta in three separate volumes between 1550 and 1565, ‘Delle navigationi’ was a collection of the first-hand Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Dutch (all translated in the Italian vernacular) and Italian accounts of voyages to Asia, Africa and America published up to that time, illustrated with bespoke maps—the first work of its kind. The first volume is mainly devoted to ‘countries which have been known for 300 years’, e.g., from Africa (and the kingdom of Prester John) to the Eastern Indies. The second features the accounts of Marco Polo on the Tartars and China (with the first mention of tea in Europe), as well as notices on Persia, Armenia and Paolo Giovio’s ground-breaking work on Muscovy. The third is devoted to the world ‘unknown to the ancients’—Columbus’s navigations, Cortéz and Pizarro’s expeditions, and notices on Mexico, Peru and other American kingdoms. In addition to engaging information on local flora, fauna, politics and customs, ‘Delle navigationi’ provided accurate topographical information through handsome and innovative fold-out woodcut and copperplate maps illustrating Cuzco in Peru, Nuova Francia (Newfoundland)—the second separate map of Northeast America—with the colony of Montreal (the earliest printed such topographical plan for North America), Brazil, Sumatra (the first map of any island in South-Eastern Asia), Eastern Africa, one of the most complete maps of the Western Hemisphere, and a plan of the Mexican city of Temistitan. Through their re-prints of 1606 and 1613, the Giunta capitalised on the continuing commercial success of collections of travel writings epitomised by Richard Hakluyt’s ‘Principal Navigations’ (1589), the original model of which was, as it were, Ramusio’s work.

I) USTC 851974; BL STC It. C17, p. 720; Cordier III, 1939 (first edition only); Brunet, IV,
1100-1101; Sabin 67735; Alden 613/108.
II) USTC 851974; Cordier III, 1939 (first edition only); Brunet, IV, 1100-1101; Sabin 67738;
Alden 583/59.
III) USTC 4035955; Cordier III, 1939 (first edition only); Brunet, IV, 1100-1101; Sabin
67739; Alden 606/87.


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