TORSELLINO, Orazio; AURELI, Ludovico, trans.


TORSELLINO, Orazio; AURELI, Ludovico, trans. Ristretto delle historie del mondo.

Rome, per il Mascardi, 1637.


12mo. pp. [24], 719, [20]. Roman letter, little Italic. All pages within typographical ruling. Engraved vignette with Barberini arms to title, woodcut printer’s device to last, nearly 100 woodcut medallion portraits of biblical, medieval and early modern figures, decorated initials and ornaments. Old repaired tear to outer margin of C9 (touching typographical border) and repaired hole to lower blank margin of R11. A fine, clean copy in contemporary vellum, remains of ties, C20 bookplate AMPH to front pastedown, early autograph ‘G. Maule’ to ffep.

A fine copy of this popular, illustrated early textbook by the Jesuit historian Orazio Torsellino (or Torsellini, 1545-99), professor at the Roman College. In 1761, it was prohibited by the Inquisition and condemned to burning (Chiocchetti, p.77). This enlarged ed., with a preface by Pompilio Totti, was dedicated to Carlo and Maffeo Barberini, nephews of Pope Urban VIII, then young students. This world history is organized as a collection of lives of major biblical, classical, medieval and early modern figures spanning the Creation (Adam) to (in the first ed.) the year 1598, with additions by later authors. Most sections begin with a medallion portrait – the likeness becoming more faithful as time progresses – followed by key biographical information. After Adam come the Old Testament patriarchs and kings, followed by a variety of classical figures including Homer (of whom we are told he was born 168 years after the fall of Troy), Romulus and Remus, the Roman Emperors, Plato, Xerxes, Alexander the Great, Aristotle, and Scipio. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the narrative proceeds with the Visigoth and Holy Roman Emperors, the Kings of France, and of other parts of Europe (e.g., Sigismund), interspersing the biographies of literary or political figures such as Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Scanderbeg Prince of Albania, Christopher Columbus, Ariosto, Guicciardini, Alessandro Farnese, and Tasso. The translator, Ludovico Aureli, provided an illustrated supplement, with additional Holy Roman Emperors, the Maltese Great Masters, and Vladislaus King of Poland. Appended are a list of popes and emperors, with dates, organized by place. An interesting early textbook.

No copies recorded in the US. USTC 4011440; Alden 620/180 (later ed.): ‘In bk. 10 chapt. 4 mentions discovery of America as well as Vespucci, Mexico and Brazil’; Backer VIII, 151. Not in Brunet. F. Chiocchetti, La scuola classica e l’insegnamento della storia (2013).