ERASMUS. [with] ERASMUS. [with] SOLINUS. [and] WILDENBERG, Hyeronimus.


ERASMUS. [with] ERASMUS. [with] SOLINUS. [and] WILDENBERG, Hyeronimus. De duplici copia verborum. [with] In hoc libello continentur Querela Pacis […] De morte declamatio […] Encomium matrimonii […] Encomium artis medicae. [with] De memoralibus [i.e., memorabilibus] mundi. [and] Synonymorum collectanea.

[Basel]. [with] [Basel]. [with] [Venice] [and] Leipzig., [J. Froben]. [with] [J. Froben]. [with] [Guilelmus Anima Mia] [and] Valentinus Schuman., [1519.]. [with] 1518]. [with] [13 Jan. 1493/94] [and] 1515.


4to. 4 works in 1, second in 4 parts, half-title to each. I: pp. 294, [10]; II: pp. 50, [2], 55-70, [2], 55, [1]; III: ff. [46]; IV: ff. [40]. I-III: Roman letter, occasional Greek; IV: Gothic letter, triple column. Numerous early bookmarks to fore-edges. Early ms ‘Emptus 18 fl(?)’ and ms ‘Hannibal Schmid à Wellenstein’ (1601-73) to first title, numerous C16 Latin and (fewer) German annotations in black-brown or red ink, in several Germanic hands to first 3 works. I: charming woodcut border with grotesques, Holy Shroud, and Lucretia imploring Tarquinius, woodcut printer’s device to last verso, decorated initials (few in period colouring) and ornaments, occasionally rubricated. Light age yellowing, scattered ink stains to b2-3, faint water stain to gutter of first half. II: charming woodcut border with putti and Froben’s device to title and one half-title, woodcut printer’s device to last verso, decorated initials and ornaments. Tiny loss to title fore-edge, light age yellowing, few ink spots to second half-title, small light water stain to outer blank margin of last 2 ll. III: all pages single ruled in red ink, traces of blind impression at blank foot of title, water stain along fore-edge of last two gatherings, and very light stain to gutter. IV: title in red and black within woodcut border of grotesques, vine branches and shields of Saxony and Leipzig, decorated initials. Light age yellowing, light water stain along fore-edge of last few ll. Very good, thick-paper copies in contemporary quarter pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, one remaining clasp, double blind ruled, outer roll with geometrical motif, rounded lozeneges in blind to central panel, raised bands, contemporary paper label with ms titles at head of spine, later label at foot, couple of tiny worm holes. C19 stamp ‘Bibliothek P.P. Franz Bamberg’ (Franciscan library) to front pastedown, first title and couple more.

Very good, unsophisticated copies of four works, in three scarce and one incunabular edition, extensively annotated by students from the time of the Reformation and for a few decades. The binding decoration points to southern Germany, and the latest recorded owner, Hannibal Schmid von Wellenstein (1601-73) was Prince of Füssen, in Bavaria, the state where this sammelband appears to have remained at least until the C19. A marginal gloss says ‘1528 post pascha’, i.e., 1528 Second Sunday after Easter.  

‘Pupils in early modern Germany were under no formal obligation to stay at one school and follow a particular programme of study through from beginning to end, […] pupils picked and chose from the offer of early modern schools. […] Apart from the differences in tuition apparent from curricula, the textbooks used also differed widely from one school to the next, allowing teachers to employ quite different teaching methods […]. This was even more so the case as far as private tuition was concerned (often taught by the schoolteachers themselves and without which it was very difficult at some institutions to pass the end-of-year exam)’ (Ross, pp. 316, 328). The present copy may have been a ‘Latin’ (or grammar) school library’s copy, used by different students in the course of several decades; or it may have been in the library of the Princes of Füssen – which would explain the sudden presence of a Venetian incunable among cheap student editions – and used by generations of Wellenstein boys under the supervision of a private tutor. All annotators mostly followed the same programme, including Book I of ‘De copia verborum’, ‘Querela pacis’ and ‘Encomium matrimonii’; a later annotator slaved over Solinus’s work. Erasmus was ‘the most influential textbook writer in the C16’ (Chomarat). This sammelband includes his widely-read ‘De copia verborum’, first published in 1512 and suggesting textual embellishment based on tropes and rhetorical figures, as well as ‘Querela Pacis’, a complaint of personified Peace, and three orations on death, marriage and the medical profession. Sold and printed separately, these last four were here published together probably following the most common school curricula. Solinus’s ‘De mirabilibus mundi’ – a compendium of the ancient wonders of the world – was a favourite for teaching, with a chapter on the peoples of remote countries. Hieronymus Wildenberg’s (fl. C16) dictionary of synonyms was the perfect instrument for schoolboys, providing half a dozen Latin synonyms for each German word.

This copy sheds light on how different C16 students tackled the same passages, in the course of a couple of decades. The earliest annotator provided glosses or short summaries, interlinear Latin paraphrases, as well as reference to Quintilian, Sallust, Ovid and Cicero, which he was likely studying at the time. He noted the occasional Greek word with its Latin meaning. He was especially interested in grammar, syntax and rhetoric, e.g., the four types of ‘consolatio’, the interpretation of Homeric or Virgilian passages (e.g., on Ulysses, Circes’s poisons). He glossed ‘Querela Pacis’, ‘De morte’ and ‘De matrimonium’ extensively, also with what may be a rigmarole on Latin names for animals: ‘Elephanti oves / Boves et granchi’, etc. Two other contemporary annotators, writing in clear cursive, focused on Book I of ‘De copia verborum’, using previous annotations as guidelines, and adding to them, with a focus on grammar and rhetoric (e.g., what is an ‘argumentum’). One added ‘Papista papisticus Lutheranum’ to one margin. A third, who signed a gloss ‘1528’, also wrote in red ink and is probably responsible for the careful rubrication and underlining of previous annotations – an interesting instance of how students interacted with their predecessors’ work. He slaved over Erasmus’s list of names and related adjectives used for ‘comparatio’, with detailed cross-references to Homer, Euripides, Pliny, Plato, and others. The c.mid-C16 hand of the Solinus annotator appears nowhere else. The rubrication and red underlining in the same ink as the notes make us wonder whether this was somehow part of the school exercise, to make the text clearer. He added occasional interlinear paraphrases, and appears to have been as interested in the chapter on the antiquities of Rome as that on menstruation and human birth, and on the history of Italy. A unique sammelband.

I: USTC 635404; VD16 E2651. No copies recorded in the US. II: VD16 E3491. Not in USTC as a collection. Only Harvard copy recorded in the US. III: ISTC is00621000; Goff S621; HC 14881*; BMC V, 412; GW M42827. Several copies in US. IV: USTC 662815; VD16 G3938. No copies in the US. A.S. Ross, ‘Pupils’ Choices and Social Mobility after the Thirty Years War’, Historical Journal, 57 (2014), pp.311-41.
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