Relation du Grand et Espouvantable Tremblement de Terre, Arrive au Royaume de Naples, le plus grand qui se soit veu de cinq cens ans en la Province de la Pouille, le trentiesme de Jullet 1627 … traduit d’ Italien en Francois. 

N. pl., “Iouxte la Coppie Imprimee a S. Omer, Par George Seutin,” 1627. 


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. 16. A-B4. Roman and Italic letter. Small typographical ornament on title, labels of J.-A.-H. Dupre and Giannalisa Feltrinelli on pastedown, manuscript note on the text on front free end-paper. Age yellowing. A very good copy in modern carta rustica, title inked on spine. 

Exceptionally rare pamphlet, possibly unique; we have found no other copies recorded of this edition or of this text. There is another French pamphlet on subject of the same earthquake “Récit véritable et espouventable du tremblement de terre arrivé à la Pouille province du royaume de Naples, .. Arrivé le 30 de Juillet de la présente année 1627” by a certain ‘C. Armand, dit Alphonse’ published at both Lyon and Paris the same year, but the text of this present edition is quite different, and more detailed in its account. Moreover this edition includes another most interesting and controversial text, which perhaps goes someway to explain its extreme rarity. It is entitled “Le recit véritable de la condamnation et exécution à la mort de Mr de Boute-Ville et Compte des Chapelles”. It concerns the fate of François de Montmorency, lord of Bouteville, who had acquired a great reputation at court as a duelist (he had figured in twenty-two duels). As a result of one of these fights, he was forced to take refuge at Brussels. On his return, having quarrelled with the Marquis de Beuvron, he organised a duel with him on the Place Royale in Paris. The fight took place on the 12th of May, Ascension day. Bouteville was seconded by Francois de Rosmadec, Count of Chapelles, who killed his opponent, the Marquis de Bussy d’Amboise. When the fight was over, they fled; but Bouteville and Chapelles were arrested at Vitry, conducted to Paris, condemned to death, and executed. The work here discusses their conduct in a favourable light, intimating at the harshness of the sentence given, and gives a detailed account of their execution and their conduct just prior to the exection, including letters they purportedly wrote asking for clemency, withheld by Louis XIII, and extracts from their testaments. 

The account of the earthquake of 1627 that struck the then province of Capitanata and the north-western reaches of the Gargano and Puglia, with its epicentre located near San Severo, (former capital of Capitanata), within the Kingdom of Naples, is also of great interest. It takes the form of a first hand account of the disaster written as a report or a letter. It is of great interest for all the details given, the number of dead, the towns hardest hit, and for extraordinary details such as a forest that was completely absorbed into the ground by the quake, etc. It also particularly focuses on stories of miraculous survivals. One of these concerns a baby that was found alive at the breast of its mother who had been killed in the ruins; another of a child who had survived when a Church bell fell on him without harming him, but later protecting him from the building falling around him. 

A most interesting and exceptionally rare pamphlet. 

Apparently unrecorded. 


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