PONTIFICAL, Use of Rome Pontificale Romanum.

Venice, apud Iuntas, 1572.


Folio. ff. [4] 243, lacking final blank. Double column red and black Gothic letter, little roman to final leaf, typeset music, printed marginalia. Title woodcut of Pope Pius V enthroned with six bishops above legend ‘EGO SUM PASTOR OVIUM’, Giunta lily device in red to below, repeated on final leaf. Mss to t-p recording provenance from the monastery of Santa Marta in Florence and entry of archpriest Simon Fortuna. Full page woodcut of the Crucifixion, 162 smaller illustrations of ceremonies such as the consecration of a church or altar, the blessing of cemeteries, the consecration of prelates and coronations, historiated initials throughout. Two small woodblocks, one of the Entry into Jerusalem, woodcut Greek and Latin alphabets to O5. Bookplate of Whig MP George Venables-Vernon, 2nd Baron Vernon (1735-1813) and armorial blue leather bookplate to front pastedown. A very little, light water staining mainly to first ll. lower margin. An extremely good, clean, large copy in double panelled early morocco, boards just a bit scuffed, later title and date gilt to spine, small repair to foot and to 3 corners, edges gauffered in lozenge pattern, a.e.g.

A crisp, beautifully illustrated early edition of a lovely pontifical from the papacy of Pope Pius V (1504-1572), known for his austere piety. It is a ‘liturgical book which contains the rites for the performance of episcopal functions (e.g. the conferring of the Holy Orders), with the exception of Mass and Divine Office. It is practically an episcopal ritual, containing formularies and rubrics which existed in the Old Sacramentaries and ‘Ordines Romani’, and were gradually collected together to form one volume for the greater convenience’ (Catholic encyclopaedia XII p.233). This edition reproduces the 1561 version page for page and is an example of the standard version of the text, first published under Clement VII (1478-1534) with the title Pontificale Romanum, intended for the use of the entire Roman Rite.

The book is divided into two parts: the first concerns the blessing of people, with appropriate readings, prayers and songs, together with miniature woodcuts illustrating the high point of the ceremony. The pontiff is usually standing or sitting opposite an individual, often kneeling, or a small group, his hands are brought together in prayer, gesture for the appropriate blessing, or placing a headpiece or crown on the recipient, for instance in the act of coronation. The second part concerns the consecration of churches. The page with the Greek and Latin alphabets is paired with directions for the ceremony of marking the alphabets on the floor, an important part of the consecration rite.

 The inscription on the title page indicates that it belonged to a member of the Monastery of Santa Marta, situated on the Montughi Hill in Northern Florence. The monastery dates back to the 14th C and is closely connected with the wealthy Davanzati merchant family, as well as the Acciaioli, one of the leading noble Florentine families and founders of one of its banks.

USTC:820684, Mortimer (Italy) II: 383, Catholic Encyclopedia XII.
Stock Number: L4353 Categories: ,