SAUERMANN, Georg [with] HIEROCLES OF ALEXANDRIA Proc. Caes. Ad Principes Christianos de Religione ac Communi Concordia. [with] In Aureos versus Pythagorae Opusculum.

Rome, Ludovico degli Arrighi [with] Johann Besicken and Sigismundus Mayer, 1524, 1493


4to. 84 unnumbered leaves, A4-T4 V6. Elegant Italic letter; 4to. 64 unnumbered leaves, a8-h8. Roman letter. Title of second work in contemp. hand on first blank. Slight age yellowing, marginal oil splash to A4, minor spots and marks, mostly marginal. A good, clean copy in contemporary vellum, slightly soiled.

Interesting combination of works, the first by the German jurist Georg Sauermann (1497-1527). Sauermann was born in Breslau and studied jurisprudence at Wittenerg, Leipzig and Bologna. He became rector of the University of Bologna in 1513, later moving to Rome and Spain. Upon his return to Rome he took up office as imperial procurator at the Curia but died shortly after of plague. In 1518 he published a manifesto ‘Maximilian an die Fürsten und Völler Italiens’, in 1519 a panegyric addressed to Karl and Ferdinand on the death of Maximilian I, and in 1524 this speech to the German princes on religion and unity. The work sought to guide princes not only in military matters but also in diplomacy, eloquence, piety and dignity. It emphasizes the legacy of one’s forefather’s and follows a common narrative of moral decline, which he is attempting to halt with the publication of this guide. It uses the examples of Roman emperors like Hadrian and Julius Caesar in order to demonstrate good leadership practices. Sauermann became acquainted with Leo X, Adrian VI and Clemens VII and was a personal friend of the Spanish Renaissance humanist Joan Lluis Vives. In recognition of his talents as a Latinist, Clemens granted him Roman citizenship. Both Paulus Jovius and Pierius Valerianus immortalised him in their writings.

The second work is the only extant publication by Hierocles of Alexandria, the Neoplatonist Roman author. It contains a commentary on the ‘golden verses’ of Pythagoras, a collection of moral exhortations. Hierocles studied under the celebrated Neoplatonist Plutarch at Athens, and this work is important for preserving some of the lost writings of Pythagoras. This work was widely published in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with numerous translations in European languages. Hierocles argued against astrological fatalism on the basis that it is supported by an irrational necessity rather than the divine, rational Providence of God. For the same reason, he opposed theurgic and magic practices as he perceived then as attempts to supersede the divine providential order. Although he never mentions Christianity in his surviving works, his writings have been taken as an attempt at reconciliation between Greek religious traditions and the Christian beliefs he may have encountered during his time living in Constantinople.

Ludovico Vecentino degli Arrighi (c. 1475-1527) was a papal scribe and renowned type designer who published the influential pamphlet on handwriting, La Operina, in 1522. This work was published in the year that Arrighi first turned to printing and designing his own Italic typefaces.

1: Adams II S453; Not in Brunet or BM STC It. 2: GKW 12411; Goff H-153; ISTC ih00153000; IGI 4728.