TASSO, Torquato.


Rinaldo Innamorato.

Venice, presso Aldo, 1583.


12mo. pp. 276 (xxxvi). Italic letter, little Roman. Woodcut Aldine device to t-p, 11 half-page woodcuts of scenes from the poem, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Light, mainly marginal waterstaining, t-p a little soiled and backed, minor marginal repair to couple of ll., one touching a letter at p. 132. A good copy in c1900 carta rustica, lower joint cracked, early autograph of Francesco Machi (?) and initials T. (or F.) M. to t-p.

Aldine edition of ‘Rinaldo innamorato’, the first composition of Torquato Tasso to reach the press. One of the masters of Renaissance Italian poetry, Tasso (1544-95) was educated with Francesco Maria della Rovere, son of the Duke of Urbino, before moving to Venice and, as a law student, to Padua, where he was celebrated as a brilliant literary wit. Originally published in Venice in 1562, ‘Rinaldo innamorato’ is a 12-canto epic poem cleverly blending the Virgilian tradition and the theme of love. This Aldine edition, of greater quality and edited by Lelio Gavardo, was included in the multivolume collection of Tasso’s ‘Rime’, published that year (Renouard 233:7). Each with its own t-p and collation could also be purchased separately. This pocket edition sought to capitalise on the success of Tasso’s works, made even more pleasant by the delightful woodcuts clearly reprising Ariosto’s illustrated editions. Indeed, the poem was intended as a prequel to ‘Orlando furioso’ and ‘Orlando innamorato’, telling the deeds which another paladin, Rinaldo, Orlando’s cousin, carried out for his beloved Clerice. The first line—‘I sing the happy worries, and first ardours’—introduces the poem’s adolescent hero whilst playing on the famous incipits of the ‘Aeneid’, celebrating ‘the arms and the men’, and of ‘Orlando furioso’, focusing on ‘women, knights, arms, love, courtesy and bold deeds’. A rare edition.

Adams T267. See Renouard 233:7; BM STC It., p. 660; Gamba 967 (mentioned), Fontanini II, 74.

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FABRI, Ottavio


L’uso della squadra mobile.

Venice, appresso Francesco Bariletti, 1598.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. (ii) 58 (vi), without the ‘squadra mobile’ plate as usual. Italic letter, with Roman. Engraved architectural t-p with female allegorical figures, putti and globe, 25 half-page engraved illustrations, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Little thumbing or minor marginal spotting in a few places, one plate superimposed presumably by way of correction. An excellent wide-margined copy, on thick paper, in old carta rustica, recased, bookplate of Erwin Tomash to front pastedown, the odd contemporary marginalia. In modern folding box.

An excellent copy of the first edition of this important work on the application of triangulation. Ottavio Fabri (fl. late C16-early C17) was an Italian mathematician of whom little is known. His greatest contribution to the discipline, immortalized in this work, was the invention of the ‘squadra mobile’, a brass geometrical instrument to ‘measure, level and transfer onto paper every distance, height and depth’, with applications in astronomy, geometry and the measuring of terrain. The edition was printed in two issues with differing preliminaries, though no priority has been established. The first section is devoted to measurements and includes comparisons between units used in different cities (the ‘Braccio toscano’ in Florence, the ‘Tornadure’ in Cervia) or countries (‘Piedi’ in France and the Trevigian ‘Pertica’ in Cologne). He proceeds to explain the construction of the instrument; this part was illustrated by an engraved plate portraying the ‘squadra mobile’, absent in most copies. The best material for the instrument, he found, is copper, a piece of which—‘as thick as a knife’s back’—can be bought ‘from any ironmonger in town’. He even advertised the best craftsman in Venice to assemble the instrument, ‘M. Battista…degli Horologli’ in his Spadaria shop, who made clocks and scales. The rest, illustrated with handsome engravings, explains the most common applications of the instruments in measuring from various positions the distance, depth and height, in relative and absolute terms, of buildings, hills, allotments, etc. The ‘squadra mobile’ could even be used to map a city’s area without a compass both from inside or outside its walls. Illustration XIII pasted on p. 37 appears to have been an editorial afterthought as it is also found in the NYPL copy.

Riccardi I/1, 433-34; BM STC It., p. 241; Brunet II, 1151 (mentions this ed.); Honeyman IV, 1259 (1615 ed.).  

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Tiomna Nuadh ar dtighearna agus ar slanuigheora Iósa Críosd ar na ṫarrv,ng go fírin̄ea’c as greigis go goiḋeilg. Re Huilliam O Domhnuill.

London, ar na ’cur a gcló rē Robert Ebheringṫam, an blīaḋam drōis an Tiġerna, 1681.


4to. pp. [xviii], 364. [without first blank]. Gaelic letter, preface in Roman, double column with single rule. Title within double rule border with woodcut ornament, woodcut initials, “Vin. Vincent. 1777”, autograph  on upper paste-down. Light age yellowing, minor, mostly marginal, spotting, occasional marginal thumb mark or stain. A very good copy in contemporary speckled calf, covers bordered with a single blind rule, spine with raised bands, expertly rebacked to match, tan morocco label gilt, corners restored. 

Important rare and beautifully printed second edition of the New testament in Irish. Both this edition of the Irish New Testament and the Old Testament were printed in an edition of about 500 copies, in a new type cut by Moxon in London at the expense of the natural philosopher Robert Boyle. This remained the only Irish type in England until 1800. It was Boyle’s profound belief that the Bible should be available in the vernacular language of all peoples around the known world. This put him at odds with the English Ascendancy class in Ireland at the time. There are several variant imprints of the 1681 New Testament. This copy has the English preface by Andrew Sall, together with an Irish translation by Reilly (not present in all copies).

The Irish New testament was first published in Dublin in 1602 and was the work of William O Domhnuill with the collaboration of others including Nicholas Walsh and O Domhnallain the Archbishop of Tuam. “O Domhnuill’s puritan beliefs mellowed over the years and he in died in disillusioned obscurity in 1628 He was in many respects Gaelic Ireland’s equivalent to the great English biblical translator and scholar, William Tyndale (d. 1536). However, the effective failure of the reformation to implant itself over than superficially in Irish soil means that O Domhnuill’s name and extraordinary achievement in respect of the Irish New Testament and the Gaelic Books of Common Prayer (1608) have largely gone unrecognised in the narrative of Ireland’s cultural history. .. The republication of O Domhnuill’s New Testament in 1681, [was] made possible by the financial support and evangelical commitment of Robert Boyle a remarkable figure in seventeenth-century new science. … With a view to having the 1602 New testament reprinted Boyle engaged the assistance of Andrew Sall (d. 1682) member of a Tipperary Old English family and a former Jesuit .. Boyle funded the casting of a new font of Irish type, produced by the printer and globe maker Joseph Moxon in London and modelled on the type produced by the Irish Franciscans in Louvain. .. Sall in his preface to the New Testament, paid warm tribute to Boyle’s generous support fo the publication of 500 copies.. Sall urged those able to do to read the holy book frequently. Clergymen were requested to read it aloud to their Irish-speaking congregations, while pious fathers were instructed to have it read to their households ‘in lieu of Romances, and other idle or noisom Divertisements. Moreover, foreigners in Ireland who wished to learn the country’s lannguage could do so by comparing the Irish New Testament with the equivalent in their own language. finally it was incumbent on those student divines seeking to minister in Ireland ‘to procure such knowlege in the language of the Natives, as may enable them to help and instruct the Souls committed to their charge.. Knowlege of Irish on the part of the clergy was essential as there were ‘many Parishes, Baronies and whole Counties, in which the far greater number of the Common People do understand no other language but Irish. Sall’s preface was translated to Irish by OReilly [who] also revised O Domhnuill’s text in matters of vocabulary and spelling in order to align the translation to the text of the King James Bible of 1611.” The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, C. 1530-1700.

ESTC. R211457. Darlow & Moule 5533. Wing B2759D

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Littleton, Thomas

Lyttilton tenures truelye translated into Englishe.

London, in Fletestrete nere to S. Dunstones church. By Thomas Marshe, 1556. 


8vo. ff clxxx [ii]. A-Y⁸, Z6. Black letter. Title with woodcut border [just trimmed at fore-edge], floriated woodcut initials, “Thomas Parbinye possidet” in contemporary hand at head of tp, ‘P Bluett 1724’ below, another illegible at foot, several contemporary acquisition notes repeated on verso of last leaf “Charles Parbinye his boke recorde George Harris … of Plymouth” with the “Harris” on verso of t-p, copious marginal notes in the same hand, small mss ticket loosely inserted “Loaned by Mr. Doolittle.” in C19th hand. Light age yellowing, occasional mostly marginal water-staining, more noticeable at beginning, small tear in lower margin of O1 just touching signature, the odd ink splash or little mark. A good, crisp copy in contemporary English calf, covers double blind ruled to a panel design, spine with raised bands, rebacked with remains of original spine laid down, later title label gilt, corners restored, rubbed and a little worn. 

Rare edition, probably the second, of this translation from the original ‘Law French’ into English of Thomas Littleton’s seminal treatise on tenures, the first edition of which (1481) was the first work of English law published anywhere. “Sir Thomas Littleton, …, jurist, author of Littleton on Tenures, the first important English legal text neither written in Latin nor significantly influenced by Roman (civil) law. An edition (1481 or 1482?) by John Lettou and William de Machlinia was doubtless the first book on English law to be printed. It long remained the principal authority on English real property law, and in the 20th century Littleton’s work was still occasionally cited as authoritative. Throughout a turbulent period in English history, Littleton held several high offices: sheriff of Worcestershire; recorder of Coventry, Warwickshire; justice of assize (trial judge) on the Northern Circuit; and judge of the Court of Common Pleas (appointed by King Edward IV, 1466). In 1475 he was created a Knight of the Bath. Intended for the instruction of his second son, Richard, Littleton’s Treatise subtly differentiates various kinds of medieval English land tenure. It was written in law French, a specialised form of Anglo-Norman. Sir Edward Coke held Littleton’s work in high esteem and wrote an extensive commentary on it.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

The work consolidated the law as it pertained to property, land, and especially of the law of trusts, also dealing with the subject of trespass. Henri de Bracton, his predecessor, had largely ignored this important topic. Unlike preceding writers on English law, Glanville, Bracton, and the authors of the treatises known by the names of Britton and Fleta, Littleton borrows nothing from the sources of Roman law or the commentators. He deals exclusively with English law. The book is written on a definite system, and is the first attempt at a scientific classification of rights over land. Littleton’s method is to begin with a definition, usually clearly and briefly expressed, of the class of rights with which he is dealing. He then proceeds to illustrate the various characteristics and incidents of the class by stating particular instances, some of which refer to decisions that had actually occurred, but more of which are hypothetical cases put by way of illustration of his principles. The first book deals with freehold estates, and Littleton adopts a classification that has been followed by all writers who have attempted to systematise the English law of land, especially Sir Matthew Hale and Sir William Blackstone. The second book relates to the reciprocal rights and duties of lord and tenant, It contains a complete statement of the law as it stood in Littleton’s time relating to homage, fealty, and escuage, the money compensation to be paid to the lord in lieu of military service to be rendered to the king. The third and concluding book of Littleton’s treatise deals mainly with the various ways in which rights over land can be acquired and terminated in the case of a single possessor or several possessors.

Extremely rare edition; ESTC gives two locations, one in the UK at the William Salt library and the other at Harvard Law library.

ESTC S3242. STC 15768.5.

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FOXE, John


Acts and monuments of matters most speciall and memorable, happening in the Church,  with an vniuersall historie of the same. .. Whereunto are annexed certaine additions of like persecutions, which haue happened in these later times.

London, Adam Islip, Fœlix Kingston, and Robert Young, anno Domini, 1632.


Folio. Three vols. pp. [cxxviii], 756, 767-1034; 113, 112-788, [ii]; [iv], 584, 595-1030; [xiv], 106, 105-106, [cxiv]. [3] plates (2 folded). pi⁴, 2[par.]⁸, 3[par.]⁸, (-)⁶, (A)-(H)⁴, (I)⁶, A-4P⁶, 4Q⁸; ²A-I⁶, K⁸, L-3T⁶, 3V⁴; ³A-4P⁶, 4Q⁸; ⁴A-O⁴, P⁶, 4R-5G⁴. {without first blank in vol 1, last blank in vol 2, and first and last blanks in vol. 3] Black letter, some Roman and Italic, double column. Title pages to each vol. within fine woodcut border, representing the Last Judgement, the burning of martyrs, the celebration of the Mass, and Protestant and Roman preaching (McKerrow & Ferguson. Title-page borders, no. 120.), three folding woodcut plates, after 2E4, ²2Z6, and ³2V1, with a monumental broadside “A table of the X first persecutions of the primitive Church under the heathen Tyrannes of Rome, continuing the space almost of CCC yeeres after Christ” bound after page 44 in vol. 1, many column width and half page woodcuts in text, woodcut initials head and tail-pieces. Light age yellowing with some offsetting, spotting and browning in places, minor light occasional waterstains, occasional small tears to lower margins, 3B6 in volume 2 with closed tear through lower third of leaf, broadside with several closed tears at folds, endpapers renewed in vol. 3. A very good copy in handsome contemporary calf, covers single gilt and double blind ruled to a panel design, fleurons gilt to corners of outer panel, large lozenge with olive wreath and scrolls gilt stamped at centres, spines with raised bands, gilt ruled in compartments, large fleuron gilt at centres, titles gilt on morocco labels, wide brass clasps and catches, stamped and engraved, small loss to head of vol 2, volume 3 rebacked with original spine laid down, upper compartment lacking, a little rubbed at extremities, covers a little scratched. Early shelf mark and monogram B:E to upper margin of t-p in vol. 3

A very handsome copy of this enlarged and beautifully illustrated copy of Foxe’s monumental and hugely influential work containing a very large and exceptionally rare broadside not mentioned in ESTC or Copac. It was most probably made for this edition, as it contains instructions as to where it should be placed in the text, (after page 44) which are not found on the previous version made for the 1622 edition. This broadside on the martyrdom of the early Christians, is printed from three woodblocks, each filled with separate incidents of persecution, each described by text in a cartouche; with letterpress title along the top and description below. It was first published for the 1570 edition of Foxe’s ‘Book of Martyrs, and was also published separately. See Sheila O’Connell, ‘The Popular Print in England’, BM 1999, no.4.24, and D. Loades, ‘John Foxe and the English Reformation.’ We can find no mention of it in another copy. 

The Actes and Monuments, popularly known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, is a work of  Protestant history and martyrology including a polemical account of the sufferings of Protestants under the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on England and Scotland. This text, and their scholarly interpretations, helped to frame English consciousness (national, religious and historical), for over four hundred years. Evoking images of the sixteenth-century martyred English, of Elizabeth enthroned, the Enemy overthrown, and danger averted, Foxe’s text and its images served as a popular and academic code. The book was highly influential and helped shape lasting popular notions of Catholicism. It went through four editions in Foxe’s lifetime. The three volumes here amount to 2,300 pages of over 3 million words and very numerous woodcuts. This 1632 edition adds a chronology and a topical outline as well as a continuation of foreign martyrs.

“Even today ..the Acts and Monuments … is an impressive tome, vastly more ambitious than anything previously printed in England. John Foxe’s text – itself drawing on the work of many other writers – not only tells the stories of the men and women persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church, but prints vast amounts of documentary support in the form of letters, interrogations, and debates, .. It is also ,… the single most important body of biographical life-writing in post Reformation Britain. Although initially conceived as a new ecclesiastical history for the English Protestant Church, and as a repository for the documentary evidence for that history, Acts and Monuments became most celebrated as a collection of martyr’s lives, a Book of Martyrs, as it became popularly known.” The Oxford history of Life-Writing.

John Foxe began his great work while a refugee in Rhineland Europe and away from Queen Mary’s persecution back in England. Its intellectual genesis therefore lay at the heart of the revolutionary changes inspired by the sixteenth-century protestant reformation – which is to say, on the continent of Europe. Yet, successively reworked and republished in English.., the cultural impact of Foxe’s work was to sever England from the catholic roots of continental Europe. After his death, Foxe’s work became a vehicle that sustained anti-catholic sentiment which, in turn, cloistered a fundamental suspicion of continental Europe -.. Foxe’s  Book of Martyrs had played an important part in creating a sense of English national identity.” Mark Greengrass, Thomas S. Freeman ‘The Acts and Monuments and the Protestant Continental Martyrologies.’

A very handsome copy, rare complete and in a contemporary binding, with the exceptional, large broadside.

ESTC S123057. STC 11228. Lowndes II 829. 

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RABELAIS, Francois

La Plaisante et Ioyeuse histoyre du grand Geant Gargantua. .. Second livre de Pantagruel, Roy des Dipsodes.  Plus les merveilleuses navigations du disciple de Pantagruel, dict Panurge.

Valence [Geneva], chez Claude La Ville, 1547 [ie. 1600]


16mo. Three vols. in one. pp. 245 [xi]; 320; 349 [iii]. A-Q8 (Q4-8 blank); A-V8;A-Y8 (Y8 blank). Roman letter, charming ‘grotesque’ woodcut of singers on t-p (repeated in text), separate dated title to second and third parts, 58 small text woodcuts in first vol, 50 in the second and 59 in the third, three small woodcut initials, early bibliographical note on pastedown, mss. autographs crossed out on fly and pastedown. Light age yellowing, some minor browning, small tear to lower outer corner of t-p just touching a few letters of text on verso, some edges softening. A good copy in seventeenth century speckled calf, spine with raised bands single gilt ruled in compartments, filled with repeated gilt scrolls, head of spine and joints worn, a.e.r. 

A beautifully illustrated counterfeit edition of the major works of Rabelais, copying the celebrated Valence edition of 1547. The illustration is composed of a series of 167 vignettes in the Lyon-style, a very charming form of popular imagery, many of which appear to have been copied from the first edition. The quality of the printing is clearer than in the original; Brunet “Dans cette contrefaçon, les figures sont un peu plus nettes que dans l’original”. Many early edns. of the various parts of Rabelais’ works do not state the printer or place of publication, or in a few cases give false information, owing to the ribald and in places anti-clerical subject-matter, which exposed his works to censorship: they had, for example, been on the papal Index since at least 1559. Due to the nature of their clandestine printing they were often cheaply and hastily printed and they were popular works, usually well read, so good copies such as this one are particularly rare. The editors here went to a good deal more trouble than in other counterfeit editions of the period, such as those printed by Fuet or Martin, with its very charming suite of illustration. “Rabelais was, for generations, read only in distorting editions which generated jokes of their own. All his Greek was turned into gibberish; careless arrangement of material by printers led Sterne to believe that Rabelais was sporting typographically with his reader by displacing a poem or by leaving blanks – hence the blanked-out chapter in Tristram Shandy. These editions – sometimes printed clandestinely in France – kept Rabelais alive but helped to create a ‘Rabelais legend’ which had nothing to do with the works he wrote. Montaigne enjoyed Rabelais, finding him at least ‘simplement plaisant’ (‘straightforwardly delightful’). Molière assumed that his audience enjoyed him too. And they did. For many Frenchmen Rabelais embodies that Gaulois humour which they love to see as a permanent element in the national character.” M. A. Screech. London Review of Books. Vol. 6 No. 17 · 20 September 1984. pages 11-13 

“With an immense erudition, representing almost the whole knowledge of his time, with an untiring faculty of invention, with the judgement of a philosopher and the common sense of a man of the world, with an observation which let no characteristic of the time pass unobserved and with a ten-fold portion of the special Gallic gift of good-humoured satire, Rabelais united a height of speculation and depth of insight and vein of poetical imagination rarely found in any writer… his work is the mirror of the C16th. in France, reflecting at once its comeliness and its uncomeliness, its high aspirations, its voluptuous tastes, its political and religious dimensions, its keen criticism, its eager appetite and hasty digestions of learning, its gleans of poetry and its ferocity of manners”. Enc. Brit. 13th. ed.

BM STC fr. C16th. Rawles and Screech 39. Brun, p. 280. Plan 85. Brunet, IV, 1051-1052. Tchemerzine, V, p. 297


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Epistolae, et praefationes quae dicuntur.

Venice, in Academia Veneta, 1558.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. (viii) 148. Italic letter, little Roman. Finely engraved vignette to t-p. T-p and verso of last leaf slightly dusty, minor marginal spotting to first gathering and occasional browning. A very good copy in contemporary polished calf, traces of ties, single gilt ruled, gilt oval centrepiece with gilt interlacing ribbons and fleurons, spine in five compartments, each double blind ruled with large gilt fleuron, raised bands, all edges blue, rebacked, spine remounted, minor repair at corners. C19 label of P.P.C. Lammens and acquisition note (?) to front pastedown, ‘In classe Grammatices Premium Pietatis Antonio vande Eynde Lyrano’ dated 1639 and C17 autograph of Friar Anthonius van den Eynde to fep.

The inscription on the fep indicates this was a prize book for a course on Latin grammar taught in 1639; in these classes, texts like Cicero’s ‘Epistolae’ and Virgil’s ‘Bucolicae’ were usually read. It was a ‘premium pietatis’ awarded to students who had been especially devout and studious of catechism—in this case Anthonius vanden Eynde from Lier (Lyre) in Flanders. This same Anthonius probably wrote, later in life perhaps as a monk (‘frater’), his own ex-libris. Although we have not been able to confirm, he was likely related to the vanden Eyndes (also called ‘à Fine’) of Lier, several members of which had joined the Carthusian monastery of Saint Catherine in the same city. Anthonius vanden Eynde (d. 1613) was prior of the Charterhouse in 1571-96. In his ‘Motives and reasons for dissevering from the Church of Rome’ (1621, p. 12), the monk-turned-Protestant Christopher Musgrave wrote that ‘Father Anthony à Fine, who had been twenty years Prior of the Carthusian Monastery of Lyre, and died Vicar of the same House, did tell me the Womans Name (to wit, Petronilla,) which had that Child by the Prior of Martins Busse [a Flemish Carthusian monastery]’. Anthonius’s namesake nephew (c.1605-46) was a monk whilst Johannes vanden Eynde was a ‘clericus-redditus’ in the same monastery (see Delvaux, ‘Biografische nota’s over de religieuzen van de kartuize Sint-Catharina te Antwerpen en Lier’).

Very good copy of the first edition of this epistolary collection composed by Paulus Manutius. The most renowned descendant of Aldus, Paulus (1512-74) was a printer, first in Venice and then in Rome under papal patronage, and an admired humanist who produced major editions of Cicero’s works as well as treatises on Roman antiquities and fine instances of Neo-Latin literature of his own composition. ‘Epistolae’ is an exquisite example of the Renaissance epistolary genre, inspired mainly by Cicero. Manutius’s epistles, addressed to major cultural, religious and political figures of his time, touch on a variety of themes, from classical wisdom to rhetorical jeux d’esprit and Christian piety, which made them a suitable prize book for young Catholic humanists. The epistles appear to mimic the personality of the addressee. For instance, that to the humanist Annibal Caro, renowned for his classy humour, begins with a ‘Damned be the inhabitants of Forlì [where Caro was living at the time], who keep you away from me’. All addressees, whether political or religious like Francesco Gonzaga or Cardinal Ranuzio Farnese, are exalted for their ability to blend Christian and humanist virtue and scholarly knowledge. The ‘Epistolae’ also shed light onto Manutius’s everyday life in Venice; for instance, in his letter to the Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, he mentions the consequences of the plague on his printing activity and in that to Annibal Caro his intense work on the edition of Cicero. The work was printed with the financial assistance of the Accademia Veneta, which partly funded Manutius’s enterprises from 1556 to c.1560.

P.P.C. Lammens (1762-1836) was a bibliophile and the first librarian of the University of Ghent after 1817.

Renouard 317:9; BM STC It., p. 413; Brunet III, 1383.

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Don Garcia de Loaysa, Bulla.

Valladolid, [n.pr.], 1543.


Broadside, large folio, 61 x 43.3 cm, 94 lines, Gothic letter. Decorated initial. Some repair and traces of glue to folds touching but not obscuring letters, edges untrimmed and slightly frayed, couple of ink marks to verso, wax seals covered with paper slip. A very good copy. Notarial autograph to lower margin, contemporary annotation to verso with information on the content and ‘Este traslado se ha de dar al […] quando se le hiziere la yntimacion’ (‘this document should be shown to […] when requested’).

Extremely rare document—unrecorded in major bibliographies—reproducing a papal bull for the Ottoman wars, sent by Paul III to dioceses in the Spanish Empire in 1543. It begins with a Castilian summary, followed by the Latin text, in the name of Cardinal Garcia de Loaysa, bishop of Seville; in particular, this printed document was addressed to the prelates, abbots and clerics holding benefices in the dioceses of Cartajena, the name added in ink in the dedicated blank. The original was presented by Alonso de Baeça, treasurer of the king, and requested ¼ of ecclesiastical revenue in the years 1543-44 from the reigns of Castile and Aragon, in order to set up two ‘armadas’ (by land and sea). They were meant to increase defence against the Turks after their conquest of the western part of Hungary. The document was authenticated by the notary Jacobus Gratianus (Diego Gracián de Alderete), also a humanist and correspondent of Erasmus. On the verso is a statement addressed to whoever would be handling the document, that it should be shown to a specific person or officer (illegible) upon request.

Not in Palau, Norton or Wilkinson.

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Bulla de cruzada…a estes Regnos de Espana.

[Spain], [n.pr.], c.1573.


Folio broadside, 42.4 x 30.4 cm, 106 lines, Gothic letter. Decorated initial, woodcut arms of Gregory XIII (the Boncompagni wyvern) and crucifixion scene at head, woodcut Jerusalem cross within oval at foot. Browned, edges untrimmed, little spotting or dust-soiling to corners, minor repair and tear to folds touching letter, wax seal covered with paper slip. A good copy, contemporary annotation, printed signature of the Bishop of Segorbe.

A rare document in Spanish approved in Madrid—unrecorded in major bibliographies—reproducing a papal bull promising plenary indulgence for the year 1573 to all who complied with its requirements. It was specially addressed to residents of the Spanish territories, including the kingdom of Sardinia. Indulgence was granted to whoever joined as a soldier the war against the Turks—then focusing on the conquest of Cyprus—to religious institutions who contributed to the subsistence of soldiers, or to lay people who, even in groups of three or four, could raise what was needed to pay for one soldier. Confession and remission of sins were offered to those who repented sincerely and visited five churches or altars within or without the walls of Rome, according to the list provided at the end. This copy was acquired by ‘Donna Jeronima’ who contributed 18 golden ‘reales’; the use of ‘donna’ denotes her condition as lady of standing, in charge of a household—an interesting insight into the market for indulgences in C16 Spain.

Only one copy recorded in Spain.

Not in Palau, Norton or Wilkinson.

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Indulgence. Contra los moros de Africa.

[Toledo?], [Juan de Varela?], [c.1509-10].


Small folio, single sheet, 19.5 x 27.5, 52 lines, Gothic letter. Woodcut ‘IHS’ stamp and printed signature of Bishop of Mallorca at foot. Little toning, mostly marginal light stains and minor marginal repair, wax seal covered with paper slip. A good copy, one-word inscription on verso. Loose, in modern folder, crushed purple morocco gilt, with slip case.

Very rare vernacular papal indulgence, in Catalan, addressed to those who had come into illicit possession of goods which could no longer be restored to their owners. It was unused, as the spaces for the purchaser’s name were left blank. This appears to be a variant of Norton 1074, in which the words ‘tan luny’ are instead printed as ‘ta uluny’. It was probably produced by Juan de Varela, who was entrusted with the printing of indulgences at the monastery of San Pedro Mártir in Toledo (Norton 1074), which, together with that of Santa Maria de Prado in Valladolid, held the privilege for the printing of ‘bullas de Cruzada’ and other indulgences (Norton, ‘Printing in Spain’, 6, 17). It stated that those who possessed ‘goods illicitly acquired or earned’ from people unknown or no longer traceable could receive an indulgence by contributing money towards the expense for the war against ‘the moors of Africa’, at a time when Selim I was engaged in civil war against Bayazid II and his son Ahmed for control of the empire. Among the types of illicit possession listed were simony (the illicit sale and purchase of ecclesiastical benefices which could not be accumulated), payment for false testimony and alms acquired by pretending to be a beggar or poor.

Norton 1074. Not in Wilkinson or Palau.   

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