Nuovi avisi dell’Indie di Portogallo … terza parte.

Venice, Michele Tramezzino, 1562.

£3,750

8vo, pp. [8], 316. Italic letter; large printer’s device on title, floriated initials; small traces of glue at foot of first three leaves, tiny marginal stain to outer upper corner of f. 27. A fine, wide-margined copy in late sixteenth-century limp vellum; yapp edges, early title inked on spine and later gilt on morocco label, pasted stubs from a dictionary or glossary.

First Italian edition of an epistolary account of the Jesuit missions from all over the early modern world, translated from Spanish. It concerns in particular the vast maritime domain of the Portuguese Empire, consisting of numerous strategical harbours on the coasts of Africa, South Asia and South America. This network was instrumental in controlling the trade of spices and precious metals, but offered also safe starting points for Catholic evangelisation. This collection of letters narrates travels to and fro and daily missionary life in Brazil, India, China, Japan and Ethiopia, providing details of the Jesuit activities, including mass conversions, as well as relevant information on local people, flora and fauna. Often, missives are sent to or from the St Paul’s College of Goa, which was established about 1542 by Francis Xavier as the educational and cultural centre of the Jesuit expansion in the East, and housed the first printing press in India from 1556. These letters were highly sought after in secular Europe, often providing the only reliable information available on the political, economic, commercial and social conditions of large and increasingly important part of the globe.

Not in Adams. BM STC It., 349; Alden, 562/16; Sabin, 5640; Borba de Moraes, I, 51; Cordier, Japonica, 47.

L2144

ITALIAN

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