RIBADENEIRA, Petro Illustrium Scriptorum Religionis Societatis Iesu Catalogus

Lyon, Jo. Pillehotte, 1609


8vo, pp (ii) 3-303 (viii). Roman and Italic letter, woodcut headpieces and initials, beautiful woodcut title page with architectural frame device, scattered marginal ms annotations in two near contemp. hands, autograph at foot of t-p (inked over), early C19th bookplate of Colonel S Lyn of Berkeley Square to front pastedown, some light water staining to outer margins of first three gatherings, scorch mark (affecting 3 or 4 letters) to I5, very occasional wormholes, general age yellowing. A good copy in contemp. limp vellum, slight wear on spine, title inked on spine and lower edge.

Second, enlarged edition of the first bibliography of members of the Society of Jesus, first published at Antwerp in 1608. The work is split into several parts: the first and by far the most substantial lists alphabetically all known Jesuit authors, giving a short biography and then a list of their works, both printed and manuscript. Among them is Robert Sotwell, of Suffolk, martyred 1595. The small second part, ordered chronologically, provides biographical details of members of the Society who were martyred ‘ab Ethnicis, Mahumetanis, Haereticis, aliisque impiis’ on missions as far afield as Japan, Mexico, Florida and the Indies.

Next comes an index of the writers contained in the catalogue arranged by nationality (eleven are listed under ‘Angli, Scoti, Hiberni’, including Robert Persons and Joseph Creswell), and then a long and detailed list of works by Jesuits ordered by subject matter. Those printed at Lyon also include the printer’s name and date.

The final part of the work is a list of the provinces, colleges, houses and societies set up by the Society of Jesus, which provides valuable evidence of how they opened up the rest of the world to European influence: by the time this was published, permanent Jesuit establishments had been founded at Panama, Manila, Lima, Nagasaki, Goa, Santa Fe, Peking and Ethiopia. Japan had 13 alone and 154 priests, China and Africa 5 and 60 respectively, and the Americas played host to many hundreds.

Pedro Ribaneira (1526-1611), born in Toledo, entered the Society of Jesus aged fourteen. A Professor of Rhetoric at Palermo, he was ordained in 1553 and dedicated his time to preaching and promulgating the the cause of the Society, especially in the Low Countries. He is perhaps best known for his Life of Loyola, published in 1572.

Graesse VI 106. Sabin 70778a ("ouvrage infinement precieux" Leclerc). De Backer VI 1754. JCB 609/105. Besterman 1592. Alden 83. Palau 266559. Not in JFB.
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