LLWYD, Humphrey. KROMER, Marcin.
1) Commentarioli Britannicae descriptionis fragmentum.2) Polonia siue De situ, populis, moribus, magistratibus, & republica regn/i Polonici libri duoCologne, Agrippinae : apud Ioannem Birckmannum, apud Maternum Cholinum, 1572, 1578
FIRST EDITIONS. Two works in one. 8vo. 1) ff. [viii], 79 [i.e. 78].[A-L8] last two leaves blank. 2) pp. [viii], 234 [i.e. 232]. 3 * , A-O , P . Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut printer’s device on first t-p, floriated initial in the second. Light age yellowing some minor light browning and spotting in first volume, light water-stain at the end of second volume, second vol cut a little close in outer margin on a couple of leaves just touching a few sidenotes. Good copies in mid C17th speckled English calf, covers bordered with a double blind ruled, blind hatched tool to corners, spine with raised bands, red morocco label gilt lettered.
Rare first edition of Llwyd’s geographical and historical description of Ancient Britain prefixed by his farewell letter to the cartographer Abraham Ortelius dated from Denbigh 30 August 1568, ending with a short Welsh vocabulary. An English translation by Thomas Twyne, ‘The Breuiary of Britayne,’ was published in the following year. “in August 1568, the Welsh scholar Humphrey Lloyd of Demby lay dying. Writing for the last time to his friend Abraham Ortelius in Antwerp, he reported that ‘a very perilous fever hath so torn this body of mine these ten continual days that I [have been] brought to despair of my life.’ Along with the letter Llwyd enclosed a pair of maps, one of Wales and one of England and Wales, destined for inclusion in Ortelius’s atlas. Llwyd further enclosed ‘certain fragments written with mine own hand which … (if God had spared me life) you should have received in better order,… These ‘fragments’ belonged to an unfinished topographical description of Britain, more than half of which was devoted to the history and description of Wales… Humphrey Llwyd was among the most gifted and provocative scholars of his generation. As MP for Denbigh he was instrumental in the passage of legislation for the translation of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer into the Welsh language. … Llwyd’s work left a lasting mark on the literatures of both England and Wales. It is unlikely that Camden’s great work would have taken quite the same form – or even borne the same title – without the prior example and influence of the Breviary” Philip Schwyzer ‘The breviary of Britain’. Introduction. “[Llwyd] wrote the Commentarioli Britannicae descriptionis fragmentum, a short historical and geographical description of Britain. .. It was the first attempt to compile a chorographia of Britain as a whole. Central themes of Llwyd’s work are his defence of Geoffrey of Monmouth (particularly countering the attacks of Polydore Vergil), and his belief in the integrity of the early British church.” DNB.
Llwyd’s important work is bound here with the first edition of another most interesting geographical work by Marcin Kromer on Poland. “Polish diplomat, bishop of of Warmia, historian, and polemicist on behalf of the counter Reformation. Was born in Biecz and served as secretary to Archbishop Piotr Gamrat … When working in the Royal Chancellery he ordered and listed the most important royal archives in Cracow. .. Kromer was active in political and diplomatic life (numerous legations) He was one of the most important figures in the Polish Counter Reformation .. . His major work, intended for foreign readership is his history of Poland from legendary times to 1506 De Origine et rebus gestis Polonorum…. In addition to De origine, he contributed a geographical and political description of Poland: Polonia (1577).” D.R. Woolf ‘A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing.’ The work is full of interesting details on the politics of early Poland: “1) Shaaber, L335. Libri Walliae no. 3313. 2) BM STC Ger. C16th. p.478