HULSIUS, Levinus


HULSIUS, Levinus Chronologia. Hoc est, brevis descriptio rerum memorabilium. (with) Chronologia. Das ist ein kurtze beschreibung

Nürnberg, Lievin Hulsius, Christoph Lochner, 1597


4to. pp. (vi) 89, as usual without the map; FIRST EDITION, ff. 38 unnumbered, A-M4 [X4], 2A-H4, I2. Two works in one, separate t-p to each. Both t-p with fine engraving of arms of European and Near Eastern nations; engraved arms of Eberhard of Dienheim, Bishop of Speyer within cartouche with cherubs and cornucopiae, to verso of next in both parts; coin engraving in second; decorated initials and headpieces. General light age browning, heavier in a few gatherings, faint water stain to outer lower corner of a few initial ll., t-p a bit thumbed, early repair to one lower corner. Well-margined copies in contemporary German polished vellum, yapp edges, triple blind rule to outer edge, entirely tooled in silver, fleurons to each corner, central panel dated ‘1597’ and ornate rhombus-shaped centrepiece with arms of the Holy Roman Emperor and the Dienheim family to upper and lower cover respectively, surrounded by allegorical figures of Justice and Fortune and large fleurs-de-lis. Spine in five compartments, all silver, somewhat oxidised. Bookplate of Maurice Burrus to front and early annotations to rear pastedown.

The handsome late C16 binding, entirely tooled in silver, was produced for Eberhard of Dienheim (1540-1610). No similar design, especially the exquisite centrepiece with Fortune, Justice and armorial designs, is recorded in Davis, Goldschmidt or the Einbanddatenbank.

Very good, crisp copies of these uncommon and finely illustrated Latin and German editions of Hulsius’s ‘Chronologia’. Born in Belgium, Levinus Hulsius (1546-1606) settled in Nuremberg in the late 1580s, became a notary, one of the earliest traders in mathematical-astronomical instruments, and, from 1596, also a writer and publisher of scientific books, dictionaries and geographical works such as a Latin and German edition of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘Description of Guiana’. His ‘Chronologia’ was a survey of the most interesting historical and topographical information on European, Asian and African cities and nations, from Ferrara to Russia and Anatolia, based on medieval and contemporary sources. Each chapter is devoted to a city or geographical area, presenting a short compendium of key events in their history and their geographical features. It was very successful: of the 1600 copies of the first Latin edition, published in 1596, there remained, according to Hulsius’s dedication in this second, only one. The first and second Latin editions came with a map often referenced in the text, but which is rarely found; the German edition was to accompany a separate map of Austria-Hungary. The ‘Chronologia’ is notable for featuring the first representation of the arms of Transylvania, created by Hulsius himself. The handsome armorial engravings on the t-p and verso of A2 were produced by Johann Siebmacher (1561-1611), an artist and publisher from Nuremberg and author of the influential ‘Wappenbuch’ (‘Book of Arms’) of German heraldry.

Eberhard of Dienheim (1540-1610) was appointed Bishop of Speyer in 1584. Following the Reformation, Eberhard supervised the printing of a new breviary, published a book of hymns and several pamphlets. He was a bibliophile and possessor of a heraldic ‘album amicorum’ now preserved at the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek.

Maurice Burrus (1882-1959) was an industrialist and tobacco magnate with a great interest in philately and rare books and manuscripts, of which he amassed an extraordinary collection.

1) Only Princeton and NYPL copies recorded in the US. [Appears only Mazarine and BNF possess a copy with a map. It is absent from Princeton, NYPL, Casanatese, Centrale di Roma, Madrid Complutense, Sevilla and Mazarine (second copy).]USTC 622545; Brunet III, 370: ‘A en juger par le titre ci-dessus, et ouvrage, peu connu, doit être accompagné d’une carte, laquelle nous semble être encore plus rare que le texte’ [on 1596 edition with same reference to a ‘tabula topographica’]. Not in BM STC Ger. or Graesse.2) Newberry, NYPL and Penn copies recorded in the US.USTC 622540. Not in BM STC Ger., Brunet or Graesse.
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