ZURITA, Jeronimo

ZURITA, Jeronimo Indices rerum ab Aragonese regibus gestarum… ad annum MCDX

Zaragoza, Dominicus a Portonariis de Cursinis, 1578


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp (iv) 407 (v); (iv) 5-155. Roman letter, two parts in one, three crowned shields woodcut on first and and one large one on second, printers full page armorial device on last leaf of both parts. First t-p foxed with a few oil splashes towards slightly frayed fore-edge, intermittent and inoffensive light browning and spotting. A good, clean, very wide margined copy in contemporary Spanish vellum, fleurons gilts at each corner and multi part ornament in centres, all gilt, now rather oxidised. Remains of ties, loose red silk marker, ex libris ‘Oxford 1943’ on fly, pencil marginalia to first few pages of text.

First edition of one of the major historical works of Zurita, the father of modern historical scholarship in Spain. He was the preeminent chronicler of the Kingdom of Aragon, in the present case of its Kings up to the reign off Martin I in the early C15th, to which is appended a history of the Spanish Kingdom of Sicily, the work of Godofredo Malaterra, Fray Alejandro, Abolorio de Roberto Guiscardo and others. In 1548 Zurita was appointed the first official chronicler of the Kingdom of Aragon to which he later added the important offices of secretary to the Council of the Inquisition, secretary to the Royal Council, and of the Royal Household – all matters requiring the royal signature passed through him. Having resigned his offices in 1571, he completed over a period of thirty years his great ‘Annals of Aragon’, its history from the time of the Islamic conquest up to the reign of Ferdinand the Catholic. It was published in 6 large volumes between 1562 and1580. The present text is not part of that great work but can be said to follow on from it. What is important about both was Zurita’s impeccable historical method, which earned him the title of the first modern Spanish chronicler. Despite the ample resources available to him Spain, he personally sought out sources in the Netherlands, Rome, Naples, and Sicily, in order to obtain documents containing first hand information and other most reliable materials.

Zurita died the year his last volume was published. Subsequently his works have been criticised for a partiality towards Aragon (and not much affection for Castille) but they remain the preeminent source for the history of that part of the Spanish peninsula during its golden age.

BM.STC.Sp. p222; Adams Z204; Palau XXVIII 381759 ‘Algunos bibliófilos añaden el siguiente que aunque es un compendio de la grande obra de Zurita, contiene algunos nuevos detalles y amplía ciertos pasajes’.
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