MARULI , Marko Maruli Spalatensis Sechs Bücher Von gedächtnuß würdigen Reden und Thatten.

Dilingen, Mayer, 1583


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. (lxvi) 964. Gothic letter, in red and black. T-p in red and black, printer’s device, decorated initials. Intermittent light age browning, inner margin of t-p strengthened, first few gatherings a bit thumbed, a few small ink or water splashes, mostly marginal, worm trails to inner margin of final gatherings. A good, well-margined copy in contemporary German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, lacking clasps, lower corner rubbed and slightly cracked. Double rule to outer edge, outer border with interlacing foliage, second with double ruled border and leafy curls, central panel with three rolls, two with male heads in roundels. Spine in four compartments, raised bands, early ms title. Occasional early annotations, early ex-libris ‘Sum Ecclie Rapp’ [Rappoltskirchen?] at head of t-p.

First edition of this very uncommon, complete German translation of Marko Maruli ’s ‘De institutione bene vivendi per exempla sanctorum’ (1498). One of the ‘fathers’ of Croatian literature, Maruli (1450-1524) was an aristocrat from Split who probably studied law at Padua, and, except for occasional travelling to Venice and Rome, spent most of his life in Dalmatia. He was a prolific, polyglot author and translator—his production spanning sonnets in Italian and a partial translation of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ into akavian. Whilst he shared the contemporary humanist interest in classical antiquity, Maruli ’s religious and moral ideals were deeply rooted in the medieval exegetic and hagiographic tradition, as epitomised by his most successful and much translated ‘De institutione’. Divided into six books, it teaches the tenets of the good Christian life through accounts of those of exemplary holy figures, using as sources the works of theologians like Jerome, Saint Gregory, and Eusebius. ‘De inventione’ suggests that humankind can defy the flaws imposed by the original sin and be rescued by Christ through faith and profoundly Christian conduct. The ‘Sechs Bücher’ rectified the incomplete German translation of ‘De institutione’ published in Cologne in 1563. In the preface, Herman Baumgartern explains how he was urged by the Bishop of Augsburg to re-translate Maruli ’s work into German so that Catholic priests, nuns and monks might read it during meals or in solitude to meditate on the exemplary life of Christ, the Virgin Mary, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and worthy religious, to comfort laymen and parishioners at a moment in which the German Church was under threat. Among the subjects for meditation is a section on suffering and how the lives of the martyrs can teach us how to endure pain, resist the devil and face death. A long table of contents lists all the holy figures mentioned in the book and each of their exemplary actions, so that readers may look up specific ‘loci’ for meditation. Maruli ’s work attracted the interest of Jesuits like Francis Xavier for its structural similarities to Ignatius of Loyola’s contemplation exercises, including meditations on the life of Christ.

No copies recorded in the US.VD16 M 1291. Not in BM STC Ger., Brunet or Graesse. M. Breyer, Prilozi k starijoj književnoj i kulturnoj povjesti hrvatskoj, Zagreb, 1904.
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