El Pastor de noche buena.

[Mexico, por la viuda de Bernardo Calderon, 1644].


FIRST EDITION? 8vo. ff. (xxv) 139 (iv). Roman letter, little Italic. Very slight marginal foxing to a few ll., clean tear just touching printing along gutter of N3 and at foot of N6. A good, fresh copy in contemporary Mexican limp vellum, yapp edges, two of four ties, title and shelfmark ‘N.2’ inked to spine, a.e.r.

A fresh, clean copy, in a contemporary Mexican binding, of (probably) the first edition of this influential mystical work, produced by the important printing press of Paula de Benavides, widow of Bernardo Calderón. By 1644, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza (1600-58) had been Bishop of Puebla de los Angeles for 4 years, whilst also occupying the offices of Archbishop of Mexico (1640-2) and Viceroy of New Spain (1642). He was keen on promoting scholarly and spiritual education, as he founded monasteries and schools, and, in 1646, the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, the first public library in the Americas. Indeed, ‘El Pastor’ was intended for the use of the nuns in Puebla, as a finely written ‘brief manual on how to practice virtue and how to easily recognise vice’. Written at Christmas 1643—the ‘Noche Buena’—it presents a ‘pastor’ (Palafox) meditating on the mystery of Christ’s birth, suspended between literature, allegory and mysticism. An angel appears to him and leads him through an allegorical journey in the castles of Deceit and Disillusion, during which he encounters theological personifications and reflects on appearance and reality. The manual, Palafox explains, served to enhance the spiritual education of the nuns, so that, ‘inside the cloisters, they may serve God with gentleness, follow him with purity and love him with finesse’. This edition includes a dedication to Queen Isabel of Bourbon, and the ‘imprimatur’ of two bishops of the Americas.

The bibliography of the work’s early editions is foggy. Whilst Palau (n.209.629) mentions only a ‘dubious’ Barcelona edition of 1644, Medina puts the first, and only, 1644 edition in Mexico; however he could not confirm if it was printed in Puebla or Ciudad de México, as the copy did not have a t-p or imprint. The edition he saw was thus not ours, which bears the Viuda’s imprint. Therefore, two editions were probably printed in Mexico in 1644, of which priority has not been established. The layout of the earliest Spanish editions, e.g., Madrid 1645 and Valencia 1646/48, reprised closely that of the Viuda’s, as ‘all [European] editions followed as their model the one approved by the Venerable Bishop’ (Bib. Novohisp., I, 576).

The ‘Viuda’ Paula de Benavides took over the business upon the death of her husband, Bernardo Calderón. Between 1640 and 1684, she ran one of the most successful printing workshops and bookshops in Ciudad de México. In 1640-1, she regained the privilege, once granted to her husband, of printing very remunerative schoolbooks and dictionaries.

Only UCLA, JCB and Illinois copies recorded in the US.

Sabin 58300; Simon 3762; Iberian Books 51680; Medina, México, 586: ‘No podría asegurar si esta edición es de Puebla o si salió de las prensas de México.’ Not in Palau. A.C. Montiel Ontiveros et al., ‘Paula de Benavides: impresora del siglo XVII’, Contrib. d. Coatpec 10 (2006), 103-15;


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IORNANDES [JORDANES]. De Getarum, sive Gothorum origine et rebus gestis. [with]

VULCANIUS, Bonaventura. De Literis et lingua Getarum.

Leiden, ex Officina Plantiniana, 1597.


FIRST EDITIONS. 8vo. 2 works in 1, pp. (xvi) 264, 191 (i); (xvi) 109 (i). Italic letter, occasional Greek, Roman and various Gothic fonts, including Runes. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps, decorated initials. First t-p a little dusty, occasional light yellowing, a few ll. slightly browned, couple of lower outer blank corners torn, affecting one word on A7. Good copies in contemporary Dutch vellum, yapp edges, ms. ‘128’ and scattered ink spots to upper cover, small leather flaw to lower, spine dust-soiled. Ms. ‘Bibl.[iotheca] Lovan.[iensis] [crossed out] 1781 n.3729’ to ffep verso.

Good copies of the first editions of these influential works on the ancient history and languages of northern Europe. A ground-breaking text, ‘De literis’ is a dissertation on the Gothic language by the Flemish Bonaventura Vulcanius (1538-1614), professor of Greek and Latin at Leiden; it features the first Gothic text ever printed, from a 6th-century ms. translation of the Bible named ‘Codex Argenteus’. The work comprises two anonymous essays on Gothic letters and their pronunciation, samples of four Gothic alphabets and typefaces (erroneously including Runes and Tironian notation), Gothic translations of Latin prayers, Gothic epigraphy, a list of Gothic words spoken in Crimea (drawn from Busbecq), and unrelated samples (in Roman letter) of obscure languages like Anglo-Saxon, Persian (noting affinities with German), Basque, Frisian, Welsh, Icelandic, Romani and Rotwelsch (a secret language spoken by marginalised communities in Southern Germany). ‘“De literis” [is] a remarkable collage of documentary language materials. […] Today it is hard to imagine how difficult it was to acquire text specimens or dictionaries of “exotic” languages. […] The publication of Persian, Basque and Rotwelsch language samples and text specimens of the Gothic “Codex Argenteus” (the name of which appears here for the first time) was previously unheard of in the Netherlands’ (van Hal, 397-8). ‘De literis’ was intended as a supplement to the edition of major texts on the ancient history of the Goths, which he produced in the same year. The most important work in the collection is ‘De Getarum sive Gothorum origine’, written in 550AD by Jordanes, a Byzantine state officer of Gothic descent. It is a dense summary of a now lost history of the Goths by the Roman historian Cassiodorus (5th cent.), spanning over 2000 years. It comprises detailed accounts of northern European geography and ethnography, semi-historical and historical Gothic migrations to Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt, and their defeat by the Byzantine Belisarius. Another work by Jordanes, on the succession of Gothic kingdoms, is also present, as well as important chronicles of the Goths, Vandals, Suedes and Visigoths by the historians Procopius, Isidore of Seville, Marineus Siculus and Ricobaldi.

This copy was in the Library of the University of Louvain, suppressed in 1796. The ms. casemark is in the hand of the last librarian, Vandevelde (‘Bulletins’, 285).

I: Netherlandish Books 17124; Blouw, Typ. Batava, 2694; Brunet II, 731.

II: Netherlandish Books 26245; Brouw, Typ. Batava, 5400; Graesse VI, 404.

Bulletins de l’Académie royale des sciences, des lettres, 17 (1850); T. van Hal, ‘Vulcanius and His Network of Language Lovers’, in Bonaventura Vulcanius, ed. H. Cazes (Leiden, 2010), 387-401.


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Grida sopra il datio Della Carne, Pesce, & Oglio & dell’Estrattione de gl’Animali.

Modena, Per Giulian Cassiani Stampator Ducale, 1636.


FIRST EDITION. Single sheet, 43 x 32cm. Roman letter. Woodcut arms of Francesco I d’Este as Duke of Modena and Reggio, decorated initial. Uniform light browning, edges uncut, a little dusty, horizontal centre fold. An exceptionally well-preserved copy, ‘80’ pencilled to upper blank margin.

An exceptionally well-preserved (and probably the only surviving) copy of the first edition of this ‘grida’ concerning taxes imposed on meat, fish, oil and their export. The ‘gride’ were ordnances or edicts issued by the authorities, which were then ‘gridate’ (declaimed loudly) by criers in squares to inform citizens. The present was issued to provide partial relief to the ducal coffers after difficult years including the plague of 1630-1, which killed over 40% of Modena’s inhabitants, and the Thirty Years’ War. By September 1636, when the ‘grida’ was issued, Modena had first been prey to winter raids of grain and fodder by the French troops lodged in Parma, and had then participated in the invasion of Parma alongside the Spanish troops. The ‘grida’ sought ‘extraordinary help’ due to the ‘excessive expense caused by the ongoing wars’. It forbad, within the walls of Modena, the killing of ‘oxen, cows, beeves, calves, goats, kids, lambs, sheep, pigs and gelding’ anywhere but in public slaughterhouses, at the price of 4 quattrini a pound to be paid to the taxman. Fines for transgressors included the seizing of the animals, and a payment of 50 or 25 scudi, according to the size of the animal; the ‘snitch’, if there was one, retained anonymity. Exempt was the killing for family use of pigs, kids or lambs, which had not been bought or acquired by exchange, or their killing (by anyone, except butchers) at Easter, from Good Friday to the Resurrection. Any sale or transport of oil as well as live or dead, salted or unsalted fish was subject to 6 quattrini a pound. For everyone the export, from the Duchy to or through foreign states, of the abovementioned animals plus poultry, and derived products, including ‘dead meat’ like salame or sausages, was also banned. Exemption existed for shepherds, though they had to request a license. The ‘grida’ included a list of fines, in Bolognini, for the export of poultry—i.e., peacocks, geese, capons and pigeons. It was printed by the ‘stampatore ducale’ Giuliano Cassiani. An esteemed printer of literary and legal works, as ‘stampatore ducale’ he ‘monopolised the printing of all government acts, including grida and bandi’; he also printed the first Modenese newspaper, ‘Avvisi’, first published in 1648 (Pugno, ‘Trattato’, 90).

No recorded copies in major institutional catalogues or bibliographies.

Saggio di una bibliografia di Modena, p.269. Not in EDIT16, USTC, Simon, Oberlé, Bitting or Vicaire. G.M. Pugno, Trattato di cultura generale nel campo della stampa (1968).


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Ordonnance et instruction selon laquelle se doibuent conduire & regler doresenauant les changeurs ou collecteurs des pieces d’or & d’argent.

Antwerp, Chez H. Verdussen, 1633.


FIRST EDITION. Half 4to on thick paper. 126 unnumbered ll., [*]4 A-2G4 2H2. Roman letter. Large woodcut arms of the Habsburgs to t-p, 1685 small woodcuts of gold and silver coins, decorated initials and ornaments. Half-title and all edges dusty, uncut, first three ll. yellowed, a few outer edges a bit soiled, light water stain to a couple of outer corners and edges. A very good, clean copy in modern calf over C19 marbled boards, corners bumped.

A very good clean copy of the first edition of this lavishly illustrated work—a scarce, important reference book issued by the Council of Finance of the Habsburgs. It was addressed to officers in charge of exchanging or collecting money. In addition to an initial section with regulations concerning their professional behaviour and knowledge, it provides a detailed and comprehensive catalogue of all existing coins, reproduced according to their actual size, which could be accepted in the Habsburg territories in the year 1633. The main purpose was to defy attempts of ‘agiotage’ or financial fraud achieved by altering the value of money (hence the price of goods) as compared to received exchange rates (and the limits of market negotiation). The 1685 incredibly detailed (and never repeated) woodcuts provide faithful representations of the two sides of each gold or silver coin (whole, demy, quarter), as well as the exchange value in ‘estrelin’, ‘marq’, ‘once’ and ‘aes’, beginning with regional Habsburg currency from Flanders (e.g., ‘franc’, ‘Pietre d’or’, ‘Toison d’or’) to Spain (e.g., ‘Castilien d’or’), and continuing with Portugal (e.g., ‘grand Crusart’ or ‘manuel’, ‘ducat’), England (e.g., ‘noble à la Rose’, ‘noble d’Eduart’) and ducats from Germany, Poland and several parts of Italy. It also includes the ‘escudo San Tomé’ or ‘santhomé’, with the motto ‘INDIA TIBI CESSIT’—colonial gold currency printed in Goa by the Portuguese starting from the mid-C16. A lavishly illustrated, significant manual for the history of currency.

Brunet IV, 210: ‘rare’; Goldsmiths 654. Not in Kress.


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LAS CASAS, Cristobal de.


Vocabulario de las dos lenguas toscana y castellana.

Venice, appresso i Guerra fratelli, 1604.


8vo. pp. (lviii) 477 [i.e., 491] (iii). Roman letter, some Italic, double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p a little spotted, light yellowing, faint water stain from upper outer corner of some ll., another to lower outer corner at end, couple or so gatherings somewhat browned (poorly dried). A good copy in contemporary vellum, early ms. drawing of half quadrant and ink splash to upper and few pen trials to lower cover, small loss of vellum to couple of corners. C17 ms. ‘Vocabularius’, crossed-out ex-libris and ms. ‘Comprai usado l’anno 1766 p.s.di 6.8’ to ffep, contemporary ms. ‘Ill. (?) felipo lapo’ and ‘in Parige à 30 giugno 1609 (?) soldi 9 (?)’.

A very scarce Venetian edition of this important Italian-Spanish dictionary, with fascinating expunctions by an early prudish owner. The work of the obscure Sevillian lexicographer Cristóbal de las Casas (d.1576), it was originally published in 1570—the first such bilingual dictionary, praised in the preface by the famous author Fernando de Herrera. ‘It was the first dictionary worthy of this name by which the Spanish language was compared to any other Romance language, excluding the polyglot dictionary of Ambrosio Calepino’ (J.M. Lope Blanch). Las Casas probably learnt Tuscan during a stay in Italy, and his dictionary filled a major gap in the book market, the last Spanish (to Latin) dictionary having been published by Nebrija in 1495. Las Casas provided a way for Spanish-speaking readers to appreciate the wealth of the Tuscan language and literature, and to make it easier for Italians to learn Spanish, for diplomacy, trade, etc. The two parts, Tuscan-Castilian (15,000 lemmas) and Castilian-Tuscan (10,000 lemmas), were reliant on Calepino and Nebrija, but also featured numerous terms which had never been previously listed in a dictionary: e.g., desenquedernar / squadernare, that is, to have a book disbound and broken up into its constituent gatherings or sheets; salcizzo / salchichon (sausage); Berlingozzo / tortilla de huevos (a kind of flatbread); and turbante / turbante tocado turco (Turkish turban). The contemporary (most likely Italian) annotator of this copy carefully covered in ink, in the Tuscan-Spanish section, everyday words he deemed vulgar or inappropriate, concerning, that is, prostitutes (bagascia, bagascione, puttana), sexual intercourse (bugiarare, sodomitico, coito, fottere, sperma) and related body parts (coda, coglioni, cotale, fica, fregna), physiological functions (cacare), related body parts (chiappe, culo) and premises (cesso, cacatoio), and circumcision (circuncidado, preputio). He also corrected two inoffensive Italian translations.

Newberry, UVM and UCSD copies recorded in the US.

USTC 4036728; Iberian Books 24165. Not in Palau. I. Acero, ‘Incorporaciones léxicas en el Vocabulario de las dos lenguas toscana y castellana de Cristóbal de las Casas’, Anuario de Estudios Filológicos 14 (1991), 7-14.


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MELLEMA, Edouard Leon.


Den Schat der Duytscher Tale met de verklaringe in Fransois.

Rotterdam, J. Van Waesberghe, 1618.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to in 8s. 316 unnumbered ll. Roman letter, with Italic, double column. Woodcut architectural t-p with allegorical scenes, decorated initials and ornaments. Outer edge of t-p and first leaf a little frayed, light age yellowing, one marginal paper flaw. A very good copy in contemporary vellum, yapp edges, edges speckled red, lower vellum cover removed (edges of paper board worn), a bit dusty, scattered ink splashes, faded early ms. ‘A Dictionarie’ to upper cover, C18 bibliographical ms. notes to pastedown, ffep and verso of blank facing t-p, ms. ‘Joseph Price 16 May 1800’ to t-p verso.

A very good copy of the scarce first edition in Dutch of this popular Dutch-French dictionary. It was edited by the Frisian Edouard Leon Mellema (c.1552-22), schoolmaster in Haarlem and author of ‘Arithmetica’ (1586). This edition (with Dutch being here interchangeable with Flemish) is in fact a posthumous reissue, with Dutch t-p and preliminaries, of the first 1587 French edition printed by Jan van Waesberghe’s father in Antwerp as ‘Dictionnaire ou Promptuaire Flamand-Français’. The French-Flemish (or French-Dutch) volumes were published separately. The work comprises French translations spanning basic adjectives, verbs and pronouns, and phrases, Netherlandish and French place names, kinds of oxen, measurements, and thousands of words useful for everyday life. ‘His dictionary became a reference work and went through 11 editions in the C17. […] here, the word “woordn-boec” [dictionary] appeared in a dictionary for the first time’ (Sterkenburg, 38). It provided the basis of Hexham’s Dutch-English dictionary of 1648.

No copies recorded in the US.

Lindemann, Französischen Wörterbücher bis 1600, p.689. Not in Pettegree & Walsby, Netherlandish Books or Graesse. P.G. van Sterkenburg, Van woordenlijst tot woordenboek (Leiden, 1984).


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Diccionario muy copioso de la lengua Española y Françesa.

Bruxelles, chez Rutger Velpius, 1606.


8vo. 2 parts in 1, 414, 306 unnumbered pp. Roman letter, with Italic, double column. Decorated initials and ornaments. Slight marginal foxing, upper edge dusty, light age browning to a few gatherings, intermittent light water stain to lower blank margin of second part. A good, clean copy in contemporary Dutch vellum, yapp edges, a.e.r., ms. binder’s instructions (‘E. 8vo.VI.14. F[lorins?] 1’) to front pastedown, ms. ex-libris ‘Sebastiani Egberti (?) @ 1607 Martij 10’ (in red), ‘Joan Spillieurs 1649: 10 feb. Geerfft van’ and ‘Johannes Carlier 1638 2/25’ to ffep.  

A good, clean copy of the second edition of the first French-Spanish bilingual dictionary, originally published in Paris in 1604. The French Jean Pallet (or Palet, fl. late C16/early C17) was physician to Henry IV of France and translator from the Italian of ‘Discours de la beauté des Dames (1568). An influential lexicographer, he published his bilingual dictionary only a few years after Hornkens’s French-Spanish-Latin of 1599. Even more than Hornkens, Pallet was catering to the ‘Belgian’ aristocracy, generals and officers who, upon the Infanta’s marriage with Archduke Albert in 1596 and the greater administrative autonomy over the Low Countries granted to them by her father Philip II, found themselves having to deal with a Spanish-speaking court (‘Wörterbücher’, 2977). The printer Velpius was granted a privilege by the Archduke. Whilst the French-Spanish part was mostly based on Hornkens, the Spanish-French section drew on Antonio de Nebrija’s Spanish-Latin dictionary (1492-5) and Cristóval de Las Casas’s popular Tuscan-Castilian dictionary of 1570.

In 1607, this copy was in the library of the Flemish physician Sebastianus Egbertus, professor of anatomy at Amsterdam and author of a commentary on Dodoens’s ‘Herbal’ (1640); he was deemed ‘a man of great learning’ by the anatomist Nicolaes Tulp, famously portrayed by Rembrandt. In 1638, it was in the possession of the lawyer Johannes Carlier (c.1612-48), owner of a substantial library of which the inventory unusually specifies the colour of the shelves and their arrangement in the room (de Jong, p.151); in 1649, the copy was inherited by Johannes Spillieurs, probably the same registered as a student at Leiden.

Four copies recorded in the US.

Iberian Books 51730; USTC 5016579; Palau 72982.

N. Tulp, Drie boecken der medicijnsche aenmerkingen (Amsterdam, 1650), p.120; J. de Jong, Art of Home in the Netherlands, 1500-1800 (2001); Wörterbücher (Berlin, 1991).


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POSTEL, Guillaume.


Liber de causis seu de principiis et originibus naturae.

Paris, apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1552.


FIRST EDITION. 16mo, 36 unnumbered ll., A-D8 E4. Roman letter, occasional Italic or Greek. T-p margins a little thumb soiled, light yellowing. A very good, clean copy in C18 crimson morocco, marbled endpapers, bordered with gilt floral roll, gilt armorial centrepiece of John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe to covers, spine gilt to a design of fleurons and Greek fillets, all edges gilt to a floral motif, scattered ink splashes to covers, outer margin of lower faded. ‘CP’ and pencilled Roxburghe lot number and price to verso of ffep, occasional early underlining.

Exquisitely bound copy of the scarce first edition of this important work. Formerly in the library of the great bibliophile and collector, John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, whose remarkable library was sold in 1812. ‘The sale […] was a most sensational affair and the total of £23,342 was an extraordinary one at the time […] The Roxburghe Club was inaugurated in commemoration […]’ (de Ricci). This lot 623 sold for £8 6s to Money. The library was known to include important and scarce books on magic and mysticism; Gilbert Norrell, a key figure in the C19 Revival of English Magic, acquired several books at the sale. The compiler of the catalogue wrote: ‘there is one class of books […], among which there are some very rare ones, that were not purchased by the late Possessor [the 3rd Duke]. They were collected early in the late century, when free-thinking was much the fashion. William Postel, Giordano Bruno, or Benedict Spinosa, could be no favourites with the late Proprietor, who only valued philosophical writers, in proportion as they improved the morals of mankind’ (‘Catalogue’, I, 16-17).

Guillaume Postel (1510-81), scholar, cosmographer, cartographer and diplomat, had a remarkable knowledge of classical languages as well as Arabic, Syriac and Hebrew. He also provided some of the earliest translations of the Hebrew ‘Zohar’ and ‘Bahir’. In the mid-1540s, in Venice, he became the confessor of Mother Zuana, a mystic from the populace allegedly conversant in ancient religious mysteries, who greatly influenced his views towards millenarianism; for these heretical opinions he was condemned by the Inquisition and imprisoned in Rome. A brief but dense essay on cosmography, ‘Liber’ discusses the causes, principles and nature of things, and reprises the title of the namesake pseudo-Aristotelian work on ‘the pure good’. Postel criticised Aristotelianism when it went against either divine law or reason. He was especially opposed to Scholastic distortions of Aristotle, whose true thought consequently ‘lay neglected’, and even called Averroes, who influenced the Scholastics, an ‘enemy of providence’. In his alternative, syncretic view, Postel equated Aristotle’s Active Intellect, which oversaw the terrestrial sphere, ‘with the Platonic concept of the World Spirit, with the creative force of the universe, and the person of Jesus’ (Petry, 55). Postel’s idiosyncratic ideas on natural philosophy, theology, mysticism and eschatology were very influential for early modern occultism.

Only Newberry copy recorded in the US.

Caillet III, 8898; BM STC Fr., p.364; Brunet IV, 836; French Books 83778. A catalogue of the library of…John duke of Roxburghe (1812); Y. Petry, Gender, Kabbalah, and the Reformation (Leiden, 2004).


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Lapis philosophicus dogmaticorum.

Paris, apud Davidem Doulceur, 1609.


8vo. pp. (xxxii) 160 (xii). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials and ornaments. Edges of first and last ll. dusty, a little mainly marginal soiling to a few ll., slightly browned. A good copy in later vellum, all edges sprinkled red, early ms. ex-libris (crossed out) to t-p.

A very good copy of the second edition of this fascinating chemical and medical work—‘très rare’ (Caillet). Pierre Le Paulmier (Palmerius, b.1568) was nephew of Julien, physician to Charles IX. After studying at Paris and qualifying in 1596, he worked as a physician at the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu. In 1603, he was summoned to the Faculty of Medicine to defend himself for proposing that apothecaries should be taught Paracelsian spagyric chemistry, the separation and re-assembling of the fundamental elements of bodies (Kahn, 360). First published in 1608, ‘Lapis philosophicus’ worsened his ambivalent reputation as a supporter of the Faculty’s Hippocratic and Galenic doctrines and an advocate of chemical medicines, according to Paracelsianism. Whilst believing that health depended on the harmony of the micro- and macrocosm, Paracelsus upheld that physicians should have sound knowledge of chemistry and the natural sciences, pioneering the use of chemical substances and minerals for treating illnesses. Through an attack on his disciple Libavius, ‘Lapis’ sought to compromise between the ancient tradition and Paracelsianism, by celebrating the first whilst preserving the valuable parts of the second (‘true alchemy’, or chemistry) which, he argued, Libavius and Paracelsus had nevertheless misunderstood. It begins with an account of Paracelsus’s ideas, and reasons to reject them, Libavius’s Paracelsianism in relation to the

Greek tradition, the nature and chemistry of medicaments, chemical elements, ‘the necessity of alchemy’, and the characteristics of ‘metalla’. The work ‘attempted to square the use of metallic drugs such as hydrargyrum, stibium and aurum potabile with Galenic orthodoxy. […] [this] served as the foundation for a justification […] of chemical distillates. A book that purported to be an attack on Paracelsus and […] Libavius as poisoners rather than physicians was in fact a defence of the search for celestial essences in sublunary phenomena’ (Brockliss, 76). The final section is a case-study on a woman aged 45 with elephantiasis (fibrosis of the skin) who was treated unsuccessfully by Libavius and successfully by physicians of the French School, with the ‘alchemy of the ancient’. A fascinating, important work in the history of chemistry.

Ferguson II:163; Caillet 8269; Duveen 447; Goldsmith (BL) P-146; Thorndike VI:251-52; Krivatsy 6897. Not in Wellcome. D. Kahn, Alchimie et Paracelsisme en France (Genève, 2007); L. Brockliss, ‘Seeing and Believing’, in Medicine and the Five Senses (Cambridge, 1993), 69-84.


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Prophéties perpetuelles depuis 1521 jusquà la fin du monde.

Manuscript, on paper, France, 1680 [but early 1700s].


Small 4to. 75 unnumbered ll. French MS, in black ink, ronde hand, approx. 15 lines per page, Garden of Holland Pro Patria watermark, initials with pen flourishing. T-p minimally toned, remargined at foot, slight yellowing. An excellent copy, on thick high-quality paper, in c.1700 mottled calf, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, a.e.g., two worm holes to upper joint and label, spine a little rubbed with small loss at head and foot, corners a bit bumped, upper hinge starting. C18 ms. shelfmark ‘n.1644 F. Tab. 1er D. Tab. 4’, C19 c.1800 printed ownership stamp ‘Huzard de l’Institut’ to t-p, C18 ms. ‘ad libitum’ and ‘a eté vendu 10 a linventaire de Mr Delajonchère’ to rear fep.

An excellent ms., on thick high-quality paper, of this fascinating work—a meteorological perpetual calendar from 1521 to the end of the world, and an agricultural almanac, with numerous observations on wine. It was prepared in 1680 by the Académie des Sciences for François-Michel Le Tellier (1641-91), Marquis de Louvois, Secretary of War under Louis XIV. In the preliminaries, the work is attributed to the mysterious Neapolitan philosopher Joseph le Juste, frequently listed, in C18 French prophetic collections, alongside Pythagoras and Nostradamus. ‘The figure of Joseph Le Juste was already present in prophetic literature and almanacs. […] the biblical Joseph, who interpreted dreams, who had received a revelation from an angel concerning the prediction of good and bad days’ (Halbron, ‘Vaticinations’, 2014). The Académie had allegedly collected the prophecies which had passed their tests, hence were deemed ‘infallible and truthful’—a witty fiction (‘Journal de

Paris’, 1807, 445). After a brief introduction on seasonal time, the work provides a meteorological perpetual calendar, in 28-year cycles, suggesting best practices in agriculture, fishing and cloth manufacture in relation to the weather. Great attention is paid to wine-making, with St Jean, Rochelle, Soitou, Auxerre and Champagne being the most profitable, resistant and tasty wines, and to the wine trade, with observations on the fluctuations of prices according to the quality of the harvest, the supply of specific wines and the effect of the surrounding economic situation on good or bad harvests. Fodder, rye, grain, cattle and wool are also discussed, with suggestions on how to avoid losing money by foreseeing demand and supply thanks to the almanac. Louvois himself owned numerous estates, with complex gardens and water pipes.

A contemporary reviewer of the 1807 printed edition doubted whether the Académie ever offered the ms. to Louvois. In fact, the only recorded institutional copy in the US may even be the presentation copy, with Louvois’s illuminated coat of arms on the t-p, now at UC Davis. The few others recorded (e.g., Cochran, ‘Catalogue’, 1837, n.237; Uni Strasbourg, Ms.0.556) were copied from this, probably upon request of members of the Académie. The watermark of this copy dates it probably to the early C18 (Churchill, ‘Watermarks’, n.130), like the Strasbourg copy. A ms. note suggests that it was sold from the inventory of M. De la Jonchère, arguably M. Lescuyer de la Jonchère, academician, topographer and hydrographer in the 1710s (‘Le journal des sçavans’, 192; ‘Histoire De L’Academie’, 555). It was later in the library of Jean-Baptiste Huzard (1755-1838), a French veterinary doctor, himself a member of the Académie and later the Institut. His large library comprised over 40,000 volumes, many on natural science; the present was lot 5507 in the catalogue ‘Bibliothèque Huzard’ (Part I) (1843).

Only UC Davis copy recorded in the US.


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