[OSTROG BIBLE, Old Testament]


Biblia sirech knigi vetkhago i novago saveta [Ostrog Bible]

Ostrog, Ivan Fëdorov, 1581

FIRST EDITION. Folio. ff. 144 [ff. 185-276 of 276 in Section I, 1-53 of 180 in Section II]. Old Church Slavonic, double column, occasional titles in red. Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. First a bit dust-soiled, a few ll. lightly browned, some faint marginal waterstaining, heavier to inner corners, scattered wax stains, a little thumbing, minor early repair to couple of ll., one affecting a few letters, tiny marginal worm holes to outer edges of last gathering, one leaf partially detached at gutter. A good copy, on thick paper, crisp and in fine impression, in contemporary sprinkled calf over pasteboards, printed waste (early C17 German account of Boris Godunov) used to reinforce joints, double blind ruled borders, gilt floral cornerpieces, gilt lozenge-shaped floral centrepiece, all edges sprinkled red and black-brown, some loss to corners and head and tail of spine.

A selection in crisp and fine impression of the Books of the Old Testament from the so-called ‘Ostrog Bible’ (‘Острожская Библия’) of 1581, the first Slavonic bible printed with Cyrillic movable types. This copy contains the complete texts of Chronicles I and II, Ezra I and II, Nehemia, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Wisdom. It was published by Ivan Fëdorov, one of the fathers of Russian printing. After founding the Moscow Pechatnyj Dvor (Printing Yard), he travelled throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth establishing several printing presses, including one in Ostrog, Ukraine. The Ostrog Bible enterprise, funded by the prince Konstantin Ostrogski, included a thorough search and collation of manuscript sources in order to make the edition a milestone of the Slavonic Orthodox doctrine in face of Catholic and Protestant theological attacks. The translation was eventually based on the Greek Septuagint and the monumental text decorated with bespoke woodcut headpieces and initials. Part was printed in 1580, when the Psalms and New Testament were published separately; the Old Testament, in need of heavier editing, was published in 1581. The print-run was c.1000-1500 copies, two of which were donated to Pope Gregory XIII and Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible; when Fëdorov left Ostrog, he brought with him c.400 copies, many of which were incomplete. After his death, the inventory of his books included 120 complete (in sheets) and 80 incomplete bibles. c.350 copies in one state or another are recorded extant. The next Russian Bible, a revised edition, was not printed until 1663.

Izdanija kirillicheskoj pechati, 80; Pozdeeva, Katalog knigi kirillicheskoj pechati, 32; Cleminson, Cyrillic Books, 35; Darlow and Moule, II/3, 8370. Not in Zernova.


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MEDINA, Pietro de


Medina, Pietro de. L’arte del Navegar.

Venice, Aurelio Pinzi, for Giovanni Battista Pederzano, 1554.


FIRST EDITION thus, 4to. ff. (xii), 137, (i). Text in Roman, headlines and calendar in Italic, a little Gothic, large woodcut on title page depicting different vessels navigating the sea, repeated on C1r, full-page woodcut map of the Atlantic and adjacent continents on leaf E1r, 8 other full page illustrations at the beginning of each section, depicting the earth, sun, moon and a wind chart, large historiated and smaller floriated initials, several text illustrations including diagrams (seasonal locations of the sun, etc.) and tables, small world map at the head of books 3 and 8. Some light scattered damp-staining and mainly marginal spotting throughout, title page a little dusty, light marking in places, very tiny wormholes to blank corner in central gatherings. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, somewhat soiled and worn, slight worming, in folding box.

Rare first edition of the first Italian translation of this practical manual of navigation, the first to provide reliable instruction on the navigation of American waters, originally published in 1545 in Spanish in Valladolid. The translation was made by Fra’ Vincenzo Paletino from Curzola (c.1508-1571), a prominent figure in the history of Spanish cartography (see R. Gallo, ‘Fra Vincenzo Paletino e la sua carta della Spagna’, in ‘Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei’, 1947, pp. 159-67). The work contains a full-page map of the Atlantic depicting ships on routes between Spain and the New World (Burden, 14). The woodcuts are reduced copies of the cuts of the first edition. The full-page map includes Florida, the mouth of the Mississippi and the area around the gulf of St. Lawrence. The information in the “Arte del Navegar” was based on the first-hand accounts of pilots using the Indies trade route. It remained the standard navigation guide for this route until the 17th century.

Pedro de Medina (1493-1567) was a maker of nautical instruments and a cartographer who also worked for the Casa de Contratación in Seville, the agency in charge of Spanish colonial exploration and trade. He might have been one of Cortés’s captains at some point, and his treatise was written specifically for the education of pilots in the Casa, making it a very clear and practical text with many illustrations and explanations of various instruments and their use. Medina dedicated it to Prince Philip of Spain, later King Philip II of Spain, lamenting the fact that so many sailors were ignorant of the art of navigation. As the great transoceanic voyages began, from the end of the XV century onward, the problem of accurate measurement of longitude at sea, on long voyages out of sight of land, became crucial. Medina’s work provided an overview of existing knowledge on the subject and set out theoretical and methodological principles pioneering attempts to solve the longitude problem in the Atlantic Ocean.

The two dedicatory letters, to Philip of Spain from the author, and to Stefano Tiepolo, Procurator of Venice, from the translator cosmographer Fra’ Vincenzo Paletino point out the fundamental role played by navigation in the Spanish discovery of new lands, resources (precious minerals, stones and spices) and peoples, as well as in the mission of Christian conversion. It makes it clear that navigation is a dangerous art and must follow specific rules and methods based on arithmetic, geometry and cosmography. Medina particularly stresses the importance of instruments such as the astrolabe to measure the curvature of the earth, and the compass, made of iron, to determine wind direction, useful on high sea. The work is divided into 8 chapters: 1) earth and its composition (sky, elements and movements of planets, position in the Universe); 2) seas and ancient art of navigation; 3) winds, names and related techniques of navigation; knowledge of meridians based on the calculation of the rhumb lines to establish ships’ location; 4) sun and its positions, shadows; 5) distance from different places to the poles; 6) compass, making, use and repair; 7) moon phases; 8) length of the year and of the days in different places.

 Rare. BM STC It. 431; Adams M 1025; Palau 159679; Burden 14; Alden 554/39; Harvard/Mortimer-Italian 300; Sabin 47346. Brunet mentions earlier editions only.


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Explicationes suarum in Catonem, Varronem, Columellam castigationum.

Paris, ex officina Robert Estienne, 1543.


8vo. ff. 70 (ii). Italic letter, little Roman. Very slight toning, a fine, wide-margined copy in late C19 polished calf, marbled eps, triple gilt ruled, raised bands, spine in seven gilt cross-hatched compartments, gilt-lettered label, inner edges gilt, a.e.g. Bookplate of Leo S. Olschki and faded stamp of Rothamsted Experimental Station to front pastedown, faded early marginalia on one fol.

Fine copy of Piero Vettori’s classic commentary on Cato, Varro and Columella. Vettori (1499-1585) was among the most influential Italian humanists and Greek philologists, and editor of works—some of them appearing for the first time in print—by Aeschylus, Cicero, Aristotle and Euripides, mostly published in Paris and Lyon. ‘Explicationes’ was intended as an appended commentary with references to specific phrases and lines in Vettori’s editions of Cato, Varro and Columella’s works on husbandry, agriculture and farming, with which it was sometimes bound (see Renouard 55:2). These were known collectively as ‘De re rustica’—a florilegium addressed to a C16 readership interested in the classical rustic virtues of landownership and practical aspects of country life, covering topics as varied as the best place to set up a beehive, horticulture, remedies for dogs with flees and sick horses, ways to scare snakes off stables and regulations for workers. Marcus Porcius Cato’s (234-149 BC) ‘De Agri Cultura’ (c.160 BC) was a manual on the management of a country estate reliant on slaves, with a special interest in the cultivation of vines. Marcus Terentius Varro’s (116-107BC) ‘Rerum rusticarum libri tres’ was based on his direct experience of farming. A soldier and farmer, Lucius Moderatus Columella (4-70AD) is best known for his ‘Res rustica’, one the cultivation of vines and olives, farming and estate management, and the shorter ‘De arboribus’, on horticulture. Vettori compares his edited text to a variety of sources. These included epigraphic inscriptions and ms. variants in Latin and Greek found, for instance, in the Bibliotheca Medicea, easy access to which he had enjoyed since 1538, when he was appointed professor of classics in Cosimo I de’ Medici’s Studio Fiorentino.

USTC 140891; BM STC It., p. 722 (not this ed.); Renouard 55:2. Not in Brunet.


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PALMA, Giacomo.


Regole per imparar a disegnar i corpi humani. [and others]

Venice, appresso Marco Sadeler, 1636, 1644


Folio, etched title page to each part of the Regole. 75 etched plates in good impression; 55 full page, 20 half page and mounted. Some plates printed or partly coloured in sepia. Wide margins a bit browned in places. Faint water stain affecting first 21 plates, one plate detached, one small tear not affecting image, one plate with shaved margins. Interesting example in reversed calf over pasteboards very worn, traces of a blind tooled panel design. Spine cracked in one compartment, worn at head and tail. Contemporary manuscript on front pastedown “Ce presen livres appartien a Louis Le Doux, peintre et doreur demeurante en beauvais. Ce qt octobre 1694″.

Extensive composite collection of etched anatomical and figurative plates in mannerist style from at least four different drawing manuals, displaying details of varied body parts and faces of men and women in different stages and states of life, wearing different expressions and costumes. It is difficult to determine the correct census and order of the plates even in the original editions, as they are not numbered and as plates were often appropriated into other’s work or copied without any of the modern sense of plagiarism (see Dr. Laura M. Walters cit. infra). Many of the 75 plates here are signed and though similar in subject, present 4 distinctive styles. They were clearly bought together by the first owner

The first set of etchings corresponds to the 14 issued under the title given to the whole book, “Regole per imparar a disegnar”,  attributed to drawings by the famous painter Giacomo Palma and engraved by Giacomo Franco. This edition of 1636 is a reprint of some of the plates, all by Franco, but without the mythological and historical (such as Dalila on Sanson’s horse).

The second set of etchings comes from a work attributed to Agostino Carracci, “Scuola perfetta per imparare a disegnare tutto il corpo umano”, with engravings from pictures of the painter himself, executed by Pietro Stefanoni (signature P.S.F.) and Luca Ciamberlano (Luca da Urbino), printed in Rome in the 1600s.

The third set resembles the style of Stefanoni, but all the plates have been cut and mounted and there are no visible signatures.

The last plate probably comes from “Le livre original de la portraiture pour la jeunesse”, which saw the collaboration of three artists, whose signatures can be found on the image: Ferdinand (pseudonym of Louis Elle), F.L.D. Ciartres (Francois Langlois) and Bologna (Francesco Primaticcio)

This heterogeneous collection is typical of the considerable vogue for drawing manuals in the late 16th– early 17th century, initiated by the Carracci brothers with the renewed emphasis on drawing as the basis for painting. These manuals soon stopped being practical drawing aids and soon became statements of culture for noble gentlemen and ladies and art lovers of the time. It is indicative that any kind of text has disappeared, leaving room for a series of drawings of interlaced limbs and gentle faces, more examples of artistic virtuosity than anatomical models to be copied.

Luis le Doux came from a family of well known painters in Mons (Belgium) and was himself sculptor and architect.

Bartsch, vol. XVI, 288. Cicogna, vol. V, pp 432-434. Cicognara, 342. Berlin cat. 4763.
Laura M. Walters, Odoardo Fialetti (1573-c. 1638): the interrelation of Venetian art and anatomy, and his importance in England, unpublished PhD dissertation (St. Andrew’s University, 2009). Catherine Whistler, Learning to draw in Venice: the role of drawing manuals, essay (McGill Queen’s University Press, 2013).


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ROLLENHAGEN, Gabriel, HEYNS, Zacharias.



Emblemata volsinnighe uytbeelsels.

Arnhem, J. Ianszen, 1615-1617.


4to. 2 parts in 1, separate t-p to each, I) added t-p, 1 plate, 16 unnumbered ll., [*]2 A-D4 + 100 plates; II) added t-p, 1 plate, 18 unnumbered ll., [*]2 A-D4 E2 + 100 plates. Civilité, with Italic, little Roman and Greek. Added engraved architectural t-ps (first with allegorical figures) and author’s engraved portraits, 200 full-page engraved emblems encircled by Latin motto, with Latin verse below, woodcut printer’s device to t-ps, engraved portrait of Zacharias Heyns (c.1621) pasted to verso of first t-p. Couple of small tears to blank margins of pls, occasional offsetting, I) tiny worm hole to lower blank margins, turning into thin trail on pls 88-94, II) text ll. slightly browned, clean tear on E2, repaired, minor oil stain to upper outer blank corner of pls 78-80, light water stain to upper margin of pls 93 (just touching platemark), 95-96. Very good, clean copies, with plates on thick paper, in contemporary Dutch vellum over boards, double blind ruled to a panel design, centre panel with lozenge-shaped centrepiece and large fleurons to corners in blind, raised bands, title inked to spine.

Very good copy of this scarce, superbly engraved two-volume Dutch emblem book—‘rarely found complete’ (‘Bibliotheca Belgica’, H64), ‘a masterpiece of the genre’ (‘Sinn-Bilder’, 430). This copy is extra-illustrated. As recorded at least in one other copy (Gent UL), it includes the engraved t-ps and author’s portraits from the first Latin editions printed in Cologne in 1611 and 1613; it also features J. van den Vondel’s portrait of Heyns from the 1621 edition of the latter’s Dutch translation of Du Bartas’s ‘The Week’. Gabriel Rollenhagen (1583-1619) was a German poet and emblematist, who studied law at Leipzig and Leiden and was later employed at the cathedral in his native Magdeburg. Born in Antwerp, Zacharias Heyns (1566-1630) apprenticed with Jan Moretus in Amsterdam before setting up his own printing business in Zwolle. He was among the first to produce emblem books in the vernacular by translating them, as he often did with successful works not yet available in Dutch (Meuus, ‘Zacharias Heyns’, 394). The Dutch section was printed in Civilité type, of the kind devised by Aelbrecht Heyndricxzoon at Delft in the 1580s; it imitated the ‘Dutch’ type in Granjon’s ‘St Augustin’ (c.1562) (Carter & Vervliet, ‘Civilité Type’, 83). Emblems were semantic units made of a motto, a symbolic (frequently surreal) illustration and a few lines of verse; only if understood together could these three elements acquire their true moral or philosophical meaning. Rollenhagen’s two volumes were among the finest examples—with superb engravings by Crispin van de Passe the Younger, the original plates, here in fresh, remarkably clean, strong impression, were employed for Heyns’s edition. In the prefatory letter, Rollenhagen explained he had sought to improve on the emblematic tradition of Alciato, Sambuco and Junius, by ‘presenting images cut not in wood…but in copper…not naked, but embellished with charming ornaments’, with shorter but clearer verse. With de Passe, he also devised inventive variations of the symbolic representation, keeping the original meaning whilst altering or adding elements or inscriptions (Manning, ‘Emblem’, 80-81). Rollenhagen’s influential emblems were a major model for the English George Wither’s famous emblem book of 1635. Rare, complete, with fresh and crisp plates.

Only Huntington and NYPL copies recorded in the US.

Landwehr, Dutch Emblem Books, 574; STCN 04407039X; Brunet IV, 1359; Bibliotheca Belgica H64; Praz, Studies, p. 477; Carter & Vervliet, Civilité Type, 346*. H. Meeus, ‘Zacharias Heyns, Sometime Apprentice to Moretus’, Quaerendo 38 (2008), 381-97; Sinn-Bilder, ed. C.-P. Warncke (Dortmund, 1983); J. Manning, The Emblem (London, 2004).


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De pulsuum scientia…Theophili…retrimentorum vescicae commentariolus.

Basle, Henricus Petrus, [1533].


WILLICH, Jodocus. Urinarum probationes.

Basle, Sebastian Henricus Petrus, [1582].


FIRST EDITIONS. 8vo. 2 works in 1, pp. (xvi) 94 (ii), (xxii) 341 (iii). Roman letter, little Italic or Greek. 96 woodcut diagrams of urine containers, woodcut printer’s device on verso of last leaves, decorated initials and ornaments. 1) t-p slightly dusty, two tiny holes to outer blank margin, nearly unnoticeable water stain to lower outer blank corner of first few ll., 2) variable browning (poor quality paper), small stain to upper gutter of T5-6. Good copies in vellum over boards c1600, traces of ties, double blind ruled, yapp edges, small vellum fault to lower cover. Autograph 1737 to front pastedown, another earlier ‘Basileae. M. Elias Mock’ to ffep.

The early owner, Elias Mock, trained as a physician probably at Basle, with a specialisation in uroscopy; his works ‘De causis concretionis et dissolutionis’ (Fribourg, 1596), ‘Lithokope iatrike, seu de calculo in homine’ (Basle, 1601) and ‘De lithiasi, seu morbo calculoso’ (Fribourg, 1614) were among the earliest devoted solely to kidney stones.

An interesting combination of the first editions of these medical manuals—on the pulse and uroscopy—two connected disciplines in the world of early diagnostics.  Attributed to Philaretus, a Greek medical author of whom little is known, the version of ‘De pulsuum scientia’ which reached the C16 came from the Byzantine revision of a lost original, sometimes attributed to Philagrius. A derivative C11 compendium blended Philaretus’s and Galen’s theories on the pulse into this accessible reference work, long used for the training of physicians. Inspired by Pneumatist theories which saw in the physiology of the blood pulse a fundamental instrument for medical diagnosis, the work listed the meaning and physiology of major conditions which could be understood from the pulse, and techniques for analysing it. For instance, its variation between the sexes, in different seasons, in pregnant or labouring women, sleeping people, and in the dying sick ‘vermicularis’, which feels like the creeping of a worm, and, closer to the end, ‘formicans’, like the walking of an ant. Its second section, ‘De urinis’, is a short tract on urine by Theophilus Protospatharius, a seventh-century medical author whose works have been connected with, or even attributed to, Philaretus, and vice versa. It was a clear compendium of ancient urological theories, traditionally used for the education of Western physicians. Theophilus considered urine as ‘the percolation of the blood that takes place in the kidneys’; the ten possible colours and two consistencies of urine could therefore be used to formulate diagnosis on 20 kinds of urine, with the addition of 4 kinds of urinary sediments (‘History’, 83-84). Among these was the whitish hue and copious quantity revealing diabetes, a word first recorded in 1425, from the Greek ‘diabainein’ (flow through), referring to the resulting excessive flow of urine. The second work, on the examination of urine, was written by Jodocus Willich, a Lutheran professor at Frankfurt, author of several pamphlets on medical issues including the plague and contagion. Despite its focus on uroscopy, ‘Probationes’ also mentioned the science of the pulse because ‘by means of the pulse one could determine the condition of the internal heat and of the vital force, while the urine indicated the quality and quantity of the humours’ (‘Early History’, 154). Willich discussed the nature, composition and colours of urine, diagnostic techniques, and the various kinds (of children, young adults, men and women, or urine typical of different seasons). Sections are also devoted to each colour, accompanied by its Latin and German names and by a woodcut urine container. Those small illustrations were meant to be hand-coloured by the reader accordingly, so as to summarise visually the content of the description.

A fascinating collection on the history of important, though lesser known, branches of early medicine.

1) Wellcome I, 6259; Durling 4334; BM STC Ger., p. 691. Not in Osler or Heirs of Hyppocrates.

2) Wellcome I, 6745; Durling 4744; BM STC Ger., p. 917. Not in Osler or Heir of Hyppocrates. P. Prioreschi, A History of Medicine (Omaha, 2001), IV; ‘Philaretus’, in Brill’s New Pauly; M. Neubuerger, ‘The Early History of Urology’, Bulletin of the Med. Lib. Ass. 25 (1937), 147-65.


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Directorium in exercitia spiritualia. (with) Epistolae praepositorum. (with) Index Generalis.

Antwerp, I-II) apud Joannem Meursium, III) apud Ioannem Meursium, 1635 [i.e., Amsterdam, Daniel and Louis III Elzevir for Jan Schipper, c.1653-71].


8vo. 3 works in 1, pp. 128 (xxiv); 448 (viii); 288, without final errata as often, probably indicating first issue. Roman letter, with Italic. Separate t-p to each with woodcut vignette with St Ignatius crowned by angels. Edges a bit dusty, very minor toning, the odd spot, paper flaw to lower blank margin of N2 and small damp stain to lower blank margin of one gathering of second. Good copies in contemporary vellum, dusty, yapp edges, titles elaborately inked to spine in red and gold (oxidized) with floral decorations and IHS monogram. C18 armorial bookplate ‘D. Henr. Ios. Rega. Med. Doc. Proff. Prim’ and finely engraved C17 bookplate of Petrus Ludovicus Danes Casletanus to front pastedown, C19 ex-dono label of Antonius Joannes Philippus Wemaer, C19 book label ‘Bib. F.F. Min. Cappuccinorum’ and stamp of Capuchins’ library of S. Maria Angelica in Bruges to ffep.

Good copies of these forged editions of three major Jesuit works probably compiled by Mutio Vitelleschi (1563-1645). He was the Sixth Superior General of the Society of Jesus, and professor of theology, philosophy and logic at Roman Collegia. These three works gathered together important texts for the continuing education of Jesuits worldwide, as reliable, approved reference manuals. ‘Directorium’ is an introduction to the meaning, purpose and techniques for undertaking St Ignatius’s spiritual exercises and meditation, spanning the course of a four-week retreat, on Christ’s life and suffering. The ‘Epistolae’ is a collection of letters from major figures of the Order (St Ignatius, Aquaviva, Mercuriano, Borgia, Laines and Vitelleschi) to superiors and members on theology and the Jesuits’ spiritual mission. The third work, a detailed ‘Index generalis’ of the ‘Institutiones’, reveals the original context of these works, part of a 16-volume series called ‘Corpus institutionum societatis Jesu’. Separately printed, they were found as stand-alone or bound, as in this case, in a sammelband of two or three. Whilst the first edition of the ‘Corpus’ was published by Jan Meurs in 1635, the present copies were published two to three decades later by Jan Schipper in Amsterdam, without the license of the Society of Jesus. A distinction is the spelling ‘Joannem’ with a J on the t-ps of the first and second, as well as the woodcut vignette of St Ignatius with the Latin motto on all three. Two theories have been put forward. First, a copy of the 1635 edition was seized in England during the Cromwellian era and sent to Amsterdam (Sommervogel V, 81, add.); or second, according to a Jesuit’s account from the 1660s, copies of the original were found on board a Portuguese ship bound for Brazil, captured and taken to Holland during the Dutch-Portuguese War (1653-57) (Begheyn, ‘De Elzeviers’, 65). Because Schipper often employed other printers for his publications, and on the basis of a close analysis of initials and ornaments, this edition has been attributed to the press of Daniel and/or Louis III Elzevir in the years 1653-71 (Miert, ‘Een onopgemerkte’, 131-38; Impe, ‘Corpus’). The pirated edition was probably intended for the Low Countries, where the Jesuits were flourishing; the early ownership of this copy can indeed be traced to Leuven. An important sammelband with editions of special bibliographical interest for Elzevir collectors—unnoticed by Willems.

This volume was once in the library of Petrus Ludovicus Danes Casletanus (1683-1736), professor of theology, influenced by Scholasticism, at Leuven in the 1730s. The following owner, Henri-Joseph Rega (1690-1754), was a Dutch physician, rector at Leuven. His interest in Jesuit theology probably urged him to take sides against the spreading Jansenism, which led to a fall in student numbers. In the C19, it belonged to Antonius Joannes Philippus Wemaer, professor of Physics at Ghent, and to the convent of the Capuchins in Bruges.

I) Backer-Sommervogel V, 81. Not in Willems.

II) Backer-Sommervogel V, 81. Not in Willems.

III) Backer-Sommervogel V, 81. Not in Willems. P. Begheyn, ‘De Elzeviers en de jezuïeten’, in Boekverkopers van Europa, ed. B.P.M. Dongelmans et al. (Zutphen, 2000), 59-76; L. van Miert, ‘Een onopgemerkte Elzevier-druk?’, Het Boek, 1923, 131-38; S. van Impe, ‘Corpus institutionum societatis Jesu’, in Jesuit Books in the Low Countries, 1540-1773, ed. P. Begheyn et al (Leuven, 2009).


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De civitate Dei. (with) De Trinitate.

[Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1490.]


Folio, 2 works in 1. 108 unnumbered ll., a10 b-p8 q6 r-x6/8 y6 A-K8/6 L-O6/8 + 86 unnumbered ll., a-f8 g-k6/8 l-m6. Gothic letter, two to four columns. 3/4-page woodcut to verso of first t-p, of St Augustine at his desk and view of City of God and Earthly City with a fight between angels and demons. 9-line (first) and 6-line (second) initials at head of chapters supplied in red with blue penwork, both works with capital letters supplied in alternating red and blue, titles and chapter headings heightened in red. T-ps and verso of last leaves dusty, upper edge a bit trimmed, occasionally just touching running title, few finger marks, 1) marginalia a bit smudged on first G6, a few lines crossed over on first I7, 2) light waterstaining to upper margin, a little heavier on last three gatherings, smallish stain to last dozen ll. Very good copies, on thick paper, in C17 Netherlandish sprinkled sheep, rebacked, with original spine onlaid, raised bands, spine in seven compartments, large gilt fleuron and cornerpieces to each, gilt-lettered morocco label, some loss to outer edges, corners and head and foot of spine repaired. C16 inscription ‘Martinus Tuleman. AGSMW In Deo Volu[n]tas Mea’ and C17 inscriptions ‘Bibliothecae ord. Erem. S. Augustini Trajecti ad mosam’ and ‘Ex lib. P. de lochin Augustin. Trajectius’ to first t-p, verse from Virgili’s Bucolics and Aeneid in a C16 hand to verso of last, extensive contemporary and C16 Latin annotations, cropped in places.

‘De civitate Dei contra paganos’ is one of the milestones of Western thought, composed by St Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century. The work criticised the idea that Christians were to be held responsible for the decline and fall of Rome, upholding instead that this was due to the Romans’ reliance on pagan gods; he also presented Providential history as a constant fight between the City of God and the Earthly City, as immortalised by the handsome initial woodcut in this copy showing a fight between angels and demons. ‘De Trinitate’ examined the concept of the divinity and co-equality of the persons of the Trinity against critics of the Nicaean Council. This edition of ‘De civitate Dei’ was accompanied by a commentary by the C13 English theologians Thomas Waleys and Nicholas Trevet. Their approach and methodology towards Roman history and pagan antiquity resonated with early Renaissance thought. They had ‘none of the dogmatic tone or moralising exegesis of contemporary classicising biblical commentaries and preaching aids’ and were ‘pre-dominantly literal in their exposition’; they also showed ‘a sensitivity to historical difference and the periodisation of Roman history’ and took ‘an even-handed approach to Christian and pagan authors’ (Thorn, ‘Nicholas Trevet’).

 In this copy, the C16 annotator’s marginalia focus on the commentary rather than the Augustinian text, lingering on the commentators’ expanded accounts of the theologian’s concise references to classical deities and events like the fall of Troy. In particular, the earliest annotator concentrated on the first part, wholly concerned with the criticism of pagan gods and Roman history. He noted passages on the stories of Aeneas, Cybele, Pallas, Apollo, on the poetic ‘fables’ of antiquity, the sybils, as well as the Goths’ invasions of Rome, Anthony and Cleopatra, and exotic subjects like the Cynocaephali, prodigies and portents, and the Antipodes. Some of these he listed with page numbers in the index, when they were not included. Below the initial woodcut he noted that ‘the Elysian fields are close to Hell’s gates’. On the verso of the final leaf, he copied lines from the ‘Bucolics’ and the ‘Aeneid’. He glossed the famous passage on Aeneas’s tears for the death of Dido with an amusing note: ‘It is reported that St Augustine, whenever he read these sweet passages, could not refrain from bursting into tears’—a reference to the ‘Confessions’, where Augustine castigates himself for this weakness.

 This volume was in the possession of Martinus Tuleman, ‘claustrarius’ at the monastery of St Servatius in Maastricht in 1532-58 (‘Verzameling’, 195; 202, 203). He owned several incunabula, some of which he received as a bequest from Petrus Tuleman, perhaps a relative, ‘canonicus’ at St Servatius (‘Bibliotheek’, 43; ‘Annales’, 185-86). The early annotations were probably made by Tuleman himself or by a previous owner acquainted with theology and ‘literae humaniores’. St Servatius had indeed become the centre for humanism in Maastricht and one of the leading cultural hubs in northern Europe, with a prestigious Latin school (‘Encyclopaedia’, 934). Matthaus Herbenus (1451-1538), an early Flemish humanist with ten years in Italy under his belt, was at St Servatius between 1482 and c.1506. A poet and musicologist, he was also rector of the school. In the early C17, the copy was in the library of the Augustinian monastery of Maastricht. It belonged to the friar Pierre(?) de Lonchin, from a local, armigerous family in the province of Limbourg. The later annotations ignore the commentary and focus on the Augustinian text. Among the glosses is one highlighting the ‘fascination with the nonsense of foolish idols’ and, most interestingly, a crossing out of Augustine’s exposition of the theory of free will, criticised by Reformers. A direct reference to the Reformation is present in a gloss in ‘De Trinitate’, on theological mistakes, associating with Reformers ‘those who want to know what they don’t know…boldly affirm the presumption of their opinions’.

 Very good copies of these theological milestones, with fascinating history and annotations.

1) BMC XV, p. 752; Hain 2066*; GW 2888.

2) BMC XV, p. 753; Hain 2039*; GW 2928.

A. Oosthoek, Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht (Utrecht, 1922); Encyclopaedia of Monasticism (Oxford, 2000); E.M. Thorn, ‘Nicholas Trevet’s and Thomas Waleys’s Commentaries on Augustine’s De civitate Dei’ (unpublished PhD diss., Bristol, 2013); Verzameling van charters…van St. Servaas, in Soc. Hist. et Arch. de Limbourg (1930, 1933).


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CLERCK, Nicolaes de.



Tooneel der beroemder Hertogen, Princen, Graven ende Krygs-Helden van Christenrijck binnen dese drey laeste eeuwen.

Delft, Nicolaes de Clerck, 1617.


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. (viii) 325. Gothic letter, with Roman. Engraved t-p with angel above, heraldic shields to centre, and male allegorical figures below, 82 half-page engraved portraits, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p slightly dusty, lower edge a trifle frayed, intermittent slight browning (paper probably not properly dried), small ink burn just touching one letter on E4 and S4, minor see-through or offsetting from couple of pls, light water stain to few lower or upper margins, small paper flaws to three lower outer blank corners. A very good copy in contemporary vellum, yapp edges, C19 bookplate of James William Ellsworth to front pastedown, glued paper slip stamped ‘Armand’ (C19).

A fascinating history of the most important princes (including two from the New World), noblemen and heroes (mostly explorers and navigators) of Christianity, beautifully illustrated with numerous engraved portraits, here in fine impression. The Flemish Nicolaes de Clerck (fl. 1599-25), printer in Delft, specialised in engravings from plates designed and engraved by skilled artists like Jacques de Gheyn the Younger. He also himself produced maps and dozens of portraits of political figures for historical publications (‘Drawing’, 191). In 1600, he was rewarded financially for ‘having dedicated and presented to the States General the depictions of the genealogy of the illustrious house of Nassau and the feats of war’ (Klinkert, ‘Information’, 62). Each section of ‘Tooneel’ begins with a textual genealogy, focusing at length on major figures, depicted in handsome portraits. These include Cesare Borgia, Alessandro Farnese, William of Orange, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Gaston de Foix, Edward Prince of Wales and Philip the Good. The portraits (and biographies) of the Americana section were drawn from André Thevet’s famous ‘Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres’ (1584). These include Montezuma, King of Mexico, Atahualpa, King of Peru, Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizzarro, Ferdinando Magellano and Amerigo Vespucci (this last filed in the section of de’ Medici, his patrons). Thevet’s ‘Les vrais pourtraits’ was hitherto the closest attempt to replicate a faithful image of New World figures. Montezuma was the only prince whose image Thevet had not managed to acquire, so he used as a source the Aztec ‘Codex Mendoza’ (c.1529-33); nobody was allowed to look at the king, though Cortés had described him in a letter to Charles V. For Atahualpa, Thevet used an image from his personal collection; no native portrait has survived (Hajovsky, ‘André Thevet’, 335). An unexpected Americanum, with fresh illustrations in the Netherlandish style.

Only three copies recorded in the US (Folger, Lehigh and JFB).

Alden 617/42; Sabin 13637. Not in BM STC Dutch, Graesse or Lipperheide. W. Liedtke et al., Vermeer and the Delft School (London, 2001); C.M. Klinkert, ‘Information or Indoctrination?’, in Selling and Rejecting Politics in Early Modern Europe, ed. M. Gosman et al. (Leuven, 2007), 59-70; P.T. Hayovski, ‘André Thevet’s ‘true’ portrait of Moctezuma and its European legacy’, Word & Image 25 (2009), 335-52.


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Arabicae linguae tirocinium.

Leiden, J. Maire, 1656.


Small 4to. pp. (xii) 172, 282 [i.e., 284]. Roman letter, with Arabic, some Italic. T-p in red and black with engraved vignette, woodcut initials and ornaments. Minor mainly marginal foxing, few ll. slightly browned. A very good copy in contemporary vellum over boards, edges sprinkled red, curious early red stamp (Arabic?) to lower outer blank corner of t-p, editorial annotation on E1.    

Very good copy of the much enlarged, definitive edition of this milestone of early modern Arabic linguistics by the major scholar Thomas Erpen. First published in 1613 as ‘Grammatica Arabica’ and substantially enlarged by his former student Jacobus Golius in 1656, this grammar marked ‘a breakthrough in European attempts to render Arabic grammar accessible to students who had been educated in the Latin tradition’ (Loop, ‘Introduction’, 5). Encouraged by Scaliger to undertake the study of Oriental languages, Erpenius (or van Erpe, 1584-1624) became one of the most important linguists of his time, a prolific editor of oriental texts, and professor at Leiden, where he delivered the inaugural lecture ‘On the Excellence and Dignity of the Arabic Language’. This enlarged edition is ‘by far the most comprehensive and the most didactically accomplished version of Erpenius’s grammar ever to appear’ (Loop, ‘Arabic Poetry’, 247). It includes the original, accessible sections on grammar—from orthography to syllabation, phonetics, verbs, nouns, pronouns, etc.—and, as reading exercises with a Latin translation, the fables of Luqman and 200 proverbs (from the 1636 edition). Golius, who had succeeded Erpenius as professor at Leiden and published a revolutionary Arabic-Latin dictionary in 1653, added further reading exercises, some without translation. In particular, a brief history of the Qur’an and its structure, three ‘suras’ (Luqman, al-Ṣaf and al-Sajda), texts by al-Ḥarīrī and al-Maʿarrī, and a sermon by Eliya III. Reprinted dozens of times, Erpenius’s grammar was superseded only in the C19.

 Brunet II, 1050; Graesse II, 499. The Teaching and Learning of Arabic in Early Modern Europe, ed. J. Loop et al. (Leiden, 2017).


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