L’ungheria Spiegata.

Venice, Damian Zenaro, 1595.

£3,250

FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. (xxxii) 209 (iii). Roman and Italic letter, woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces, title page with printer’s salamander device in woodcut border, foldout engraved map of Hungary after b4 by Girolamo Porro. Ex libris of Jesuit College Library in Brescia (“Brix.”), manuscript “La croce è à sigg.[?]’ on ffep, c19 bookplate of Biblioteca Sassella on front pastedown. Light age yellowing, damp staining to the gutters of last few leaves a good clean well-margined copy in contemporary limp vellum, paper label to spine, cords of two compartments exposed, slight wear to lower cover.

The first modern comprehensive history of Hungary, Doglioni’s work begins with brief descriptions of the land, climate, people and language, and the history of its occupation by the Romans, by the Huns in the fourth century until the invasion of the Magyars in 895. As Thorocz’s Chronica (1488) describes the 9th to the 15th century in great detail, this period is also treated briefly. Doglioni’s work becomes a primary source book for the century begining with the accession of Vladislaus II of Bohemia to the Hungarian throne in 1490, and his marriage to the daughter of Ferdinand I of Naples, Beatrice, the widow of his predecessor, which occupies all but the first 66 pp of the printed text.

Vladislaus was known as a “yes-man” or “King Yes” because he granted all requests, most strikingly those that limited his own rule and placed power in the hands of noble families and magnates. At his death the country was left in financial ruin, and the threat from all sides of Ottoman invasion was at breaking point. In 1526 his 19-year-old son and successor, King Louis II was killed in the Battle of Mohács, a victory that introduced a period of Ottoman rule. Descriptions of the bloody (“sanguinolente molto”) Turkish-Hungarian conflict and the influence of Ottoman culture over Catholic and Lutheran Hungary form the bulk of Doglioni’s history.

Doglioni is exact rather than moralistic, covering the division of the Hungarian nobility in 1526, their election of two competing kings, Janos Szapolyai and Ferdinand of Habsburg, war between the two, the consequent vulnerability of Hungary and its rupture into three parts in 1541 when the Ottoman Empire attempted to push further into Europe. The work concludes with the Battle of Giurgevo in 1595, when Sigmund of Transilvania defeated the Ottoman Empire. Dates and keywords are printed in the margins to orient the reader to these facts at-a-glance, and a timeline of the succession of kings from 997 to 1576 is at end of the work.

Giovanni Nicolo Doglioni (1548 – 1629) from Venice, served first as a notary and later was a writer. Unfortunately he could not prevent the plague epidemic of 1576, which resulted in his hospitalisation and the death of his wife and children. After that ordeal, he retired to focus on his writing, producing histories of Venice, Belluno, and this work.

The cartographer Girolamo Porro was well known for his maps of the world in Ruscelli’s edition of Ptolomy’s Giographia (1574), and Porcacchi’s book on famous islands of the world (1575).

BM STC It. p. 219. Index Aur. XII 154.527. Not in Adams, Gollner, Blackmer.

L1284

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