[MÜNSTER, Sebastian.]

ARAMAIC GRAMMAR AND DICTIONARY

Chaldaica Grammatica. [with] Dictionarium Chaldaicum.

Basel, J. Frobenius, 1527.

£3,750

FIRST EDITIONS. Small 4to, 2 works in 1, pp. (viii) 212 (iv); (viii) 434 (ii). Roman and Hebrew letter, little Ge’ez. Woodcut architectural t-p with putti and grotesques to second, woodcut printer’s device to verso of last of both, decorated initials (a handful hand-coloured). Slight browning, light water stain to upper and outer blank margin of first and last few gatherings, I: fore-edge a bit chewed, small worm hole to upper outer blank corner of first few gatherings. Good copies in contemporary Swiss or German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, rebacked, remains of spine replaced, brass clasps, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll with Jacob’s ladder, Abraham and Isaac, and Christ trampling the Devil, second border blind-stamped rosettes and ivy leaves, centre panel with blind rolls with female figures of Lucretia, Prudencia. Rubbed, minor loss to lower outer corners. C16 faded Italian autograph and Hebrew inscriptions to front pastedown, small armorial stamp and inscription mostly erased from t-p, occasional C16 Latin or Aramaic annotations.

An Augsburg binding from the workshop of Caspar Horneffer (Haebler, I, 168-168), who signed the figure of Lucretia with C.H. (EBDB r003142). The outer border shows handsomely portrayed scenes of Christ trampling the Devil, Abraham and Isaac, and the unusual subject of Jacob’s ladder.

First editions of the first Aramaic grammar and dictionary by a Christian scholar (with references to Ethiopic). By Sebastian Münster—‘the founder of the field of study of Aramaic in Germany’ (McLean, ‘Cosmographia’, 18)—they were superbly produced by one of the most intellectual early printers, the Swiss Johann Froben (1460-1527). The initials and the handsome woodcut t-p of ‘Dictionarium’ were designed by Hans Holbein the Younger, employed by Froben. Most renowned for his ‘Cosmographia’ (1544), Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a cartographer and Hebraist at Basle, being the first Christian scholar to produce an edition of the Hebrew Bible. He conceived his ‘Grammatica’ after learning Aramaic as a language that could shed greater light on Hebrew as well as on the interpretation of biblical texts, like the books of Daniel and Ezra, which had largely survived in Aramaic. He proceeded by making the reader familiar with Aramaic by degrees, highlighting the number of words of Greek origin, Aramaic words in the Scriptures, and comparisons between the ‘lingua Saracenica’, ‘lingua Indiana’ (Ethiopic, in Ge’ez type), Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin. After discussing Aramaic letters, numbers, nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc., it provides a few Targum texts, ‘Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic […] used […] primarily as a means to teach Aramaic in the Jewish education system’ (van Staalduine-Sulman, ‘Introduction’, 1). The ‘Dictionarium’ was dedicated to St John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, a great promoter of Hebrew studies at Cambridge, later executed by Henry VIII and canonised. It includes words encountered by Münster in the course of his studies, and considered important for the study of this sacred language, from verbs to the word for ‘dates that are still unripe’, with additional explanations. The learned annotator of this ‘Grammatica’ was acquainted with Ethiopic, as he mentioned Johannes Potken’s misidentification of Ethiopian as Chaldean in his ‘Alphabetus’; he also provided the Aramaic transcription of a few Latin words.

I: Panzer, VI, 258, n.654; Steinschneider, Bibl. Hand., 1377; BM STC Ger., p.632; Burmeister, Sebastian Münster, 3.
II: Burmeister, Sebastian Münster, pp. 92-93, n.4.4; Burmeister, Sebastian Münster Bibl., n. 23 Fürst, Bibliotheca Judaica, II:408; BM STC Ger., p.633; BM Hebrew, p.598; Panzer, VI, 258, n.653; Steinschneider, Bibl. Hand., 1385. M. McLean, The Cosmographia of Sebastian Münster (Aldershot, 2007); E. van Staalduine-Sulman, Justifying Christian Aramaism (Leiden, 2017).

L2948

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HOMER.

ANNOTATED BY A C16 STUDENT AT JENA

Ποιησεις Ομηρου […] Opus utrumque Homeri Iliados et Odysseae.

Basel, per Ioan. Hervagium, 1551.

£2,650

Small folio. 2 parts in 1, separate t-ps, pp. (xx) 394 [i.e., 410] (ii), 314 (ii). Greek letter, occasional Roman, mostly double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps and versos of last, additional engraved portrait of J. Camerarius by P. Galle (late C16) mounted on ffep decorated initials. A handful of gatherings lightly browned, slight marginal foxing, light water stain to upper outer blank corner, another to lower outer blank corner of second half, small ink splash to outer blank margin of e 6 , edges slightly trimmed touching a few marginalia. A good copy in C18 sheep, modern reback, boards worn with some loss. C19 booklabel of John McAllister, C18 bookplate of Bell’s Circulating Library and modern auction record to front pastedown, intermittent C16 Greek and Latin marginalia in red or black ink, ex-libris of Jacob Feilitscher, Jenensis, 1554, and C16 inscription on Greek language to second t-p.

Annotated copy, extra-illustrated with a handsome author’s portrait by P. Galle, of the Greek text of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’. It sought to improve on the Hervagius edition of 1535, which had a critical apparatus based on the ‘scholia’ of Didymus of Alexandria (now believed to date much later). The German humanists Joachim Camerarius (1500-74) and Jakob Micyllus (1503-58), also the authors of Homeric commentaries, revised the 1541 edition and added further material to the Greek-only ‘scholia’ surrounding the text.

This copy sheds light on the teaching of Greek at Jena in the mid-C16. The annotator was Jacob Feilitzscher, registered as a student at the Protestant Academy of Jena (from 1558, a university) in 1548, the year of its foundation (‘Matrikel’, 99). In 1554, he was studying Greek under the Lutheran humanist and former student of Melanchthon, Michael Neander (1529-81), who, after moving from Wittenberg, taught Greek and mathematics at Jena in 1551-72. Neander compiled a ‘Gnomologia Graecolatina’, a collection of ‘sententiae’ in Latin and Greek by major classical authors. Feilitzscher noted a quotation by Neander on the ‘Odyssey’ t-p, on Homer’s use of the Ionic dialect. In the notes, philology is preeminent, with attention to variants, some not listed in the surrounding commentary, as well as Greek synonyms or Latin translations. Feilitzscher noted rhetorical figures (e.g., ‘hysteron proteron’), classical quotations by Ovid, Virgil and Quintilian. In Book 2 of the ‘Iliad’, he glossed ‘the same with the civil wars in Germany’. He also highlighted and annotated scenes with ‘THERSITES’, as well as references to Aristotle’s discussion of Homer in his ‘Poetics’, and to Virgil. In Book 3, he highlighted Hector’s berating of Paris as ‘mad after women’, a ‘beguiler’ who ‘should never have been born’, and added numerous glosses to the subsequent section on the preparation for the battle, Priam’s dialogue with Helen and her dialogue with Paris after his return from the battle. On the passage describing Helen’s appearance on the walls of Troy, he glossed ‘fair among women’ with ‘Maria’, a reference to the Virgin Mary. In Book 4, he highlighted, with an observation on the Homeric relation between human faults and the gods’ will, Athena’s trick on the Trojan Pandarus, as she convinces him to shoot an arrow against Menelaus and thus undo the truce. Feilitzscher added one gloss to the ‘Odyssey’, underlining what Homer presented as the best treatment of guests and strangers, in Book 15.

In the C18, this copy was among the books available at Bell’s Circulating Library, near St Paul’s Church, one of several which rented out books to readers who could not afford to purchase them or to subscribe to a normal library. Whilst most circulating libraries were devoted to fiction and sensationalist novels, some also sold more scientific and scholarly books. Bell advertised that he ‘gives ready money for new and old books’.

In the early C19, this copy was in Philadelphia, in the library of John McAllister Jr. (1786-1877), owner of a renowned firm of optical equipment, and married to Eliza Young, the daughter of the noted printer and bookseller William Young. After his retirement in 1835, McAllister turned into a keen collector of books and mss., assembling a library ‘rich in works of all kinds’ (Watson’s ‘Annals’, 1905 ed.). The library was divided among his children; his son, John Allister, left his portion, increased with further purchases, to the Library Company. ‘The John A. McAllister Collection held by the Library Company has many thousands of items encompassing some of the same classifications as his father’s collection, but few with a provenance to connect them to John McAllister Jr. and his famous library’ (‘The John A. McAllister Collection’, The Library Company). This copy bears John Jr’s bookplate.

Hoffman II, 316; Brunet III, 271; Dibdin II, 50 (footnote). Die Matrikel der Universität Jena. Band I (1944); ‘Michael Neander’, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie 23 (1886), S.340.

L3285

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ERASMUS. [with] PLUTARCH.

C16 ANNOTATIONS – ERASMUS CENSORED

ERASMUS. Apophthegmatum opus.

Paris, apud Ioannem Roigny, 1533. [with]

PLUTARCH. Regum & Imperatorum Apophthegmata.

[Paris], Iehan Petit, [after 1507].

£3,350

Small 4to. 2 works in 1, pp. (x), 496, (xxx); ff. 28, (i). Printer’s device to t-p of both, and last leaf of first, decorated initials. A few lower or outer margins uncut, I: first four ll. a little finger-soiled, slight mainly marginal foxing, II: intermittent browning, light marginal water stain to e 3-7 . Good copies in C19 tree sheep, marbled eps, raised bands, spine double gilt ruled, gilt-lettered morocco label, a.e.r., a little rubbed. I: c,1800 price (?) to ffep, ‘Vidania mal’ (?) on title in C16 hand, 6-line censorship note c.1600, and C19 ‘418’ to t-p, C16 marginalia to first 10 ll., occasional underlinings elsewhere, Letter from Brigitte Moreau of the BNF describing the Plutarch as ‘fort rare’ and known in only one another copy.

Interesting, annotated, very scarce Parisian editions of Erasmus’s and Plutarch’s collections of maxims—the second unrecorded in major bibliographies. Erasmus (1466-1536), the greatest humanist and philologist of the northern Renaissance, wrote some of the most important ‘mirrors for princes’ (‘Institutio principis Christianis’, 1516) and educational works for the elites (‘Adagia’, 1500). Like the latter, ‘Apophthegmata’ was a collection of sayings gathered from Greek and Latin lives of great personalities including Plutarch, Suetonius and Xenophon, grouped according to the virtue they epitomise. First published in 1531, it is here in a new, revised and enlarged edition. This copy was also marked by a near contemporary censor, as shown by his note on the t-p, stating that ‘Erasmus’s works should be read with caution’ and expunged due to his ‘corruption’. Several passages (e.g., one called ‘Deus insepultus’) were highlighted by the censor, and one was erased with the gloss ‘vox Erasmi’ (‘the voice of Erasmus’). From the Index of 1564, Erasmus was included as an author permitted but in need of expurgation; however, this work and the similar ‘Adagia’ were never mentioned specifically or especially targeted (Pabel, 146). The C16 annotator of this copy glossed extensively the dedicatory epistle and the first sections on Agasicles and Agesilaus, kings of Sparta. He was especially interested in material derived from Plutarch’s ‘Apophthegmata Regum et Imperatorum’ (of kings and emperors) and ‘Apophthegmata Laconica’ (of Spartans), a very scarce Parisian edition of which, printed in 1507 by Jehan Petit, was bound together with Erasmus’s work by an early owner. Plutarch (46-120AD) was a Roman magistrate and ambassador, and one of the most influential authors in the Renaissance for his biographies of the lives of the emperors and great ancient personalities, and wise maxims derived from them. Each is contextualised within a short anecdote from the lives of personalities including Silla, Diogenes, Lycurgus and Periander. ‘Apophthegmata regum’, in the Latin translations by Francesco Filelfo and Raffaele Regio, and ‘Apophthegmata Laconica’, together with ‘Moralia’ in Greek, were Erasmus’s models.

I: No copies recorded in the US.
Moreau-Renouard 668; BM STC Fr., p.153. Not in Brunet.
II: No copies recorded in the US.
Not in BM STC Fr., Moreau-Renouard, Hoffmann, Pettigree or Brunet. H.M. Pabel, ‘Praise and Blame: Peter Canisius’s Ambivalent Assessment of Erasmus’, in The Reception of Erasmus in the Early Modern Period, ed. K. Enenkel (Leiden, 2013), 129-62.

L3415

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TERTULLIAN

REMARKABLE C16 BINDING WITH C16 MARGINAL DRAWINGS

Opera.

Basel, [Froben], 1528.

£11,500

Folio. pp. (xx) 692 (xxiv). Roman letter, little Italic, occasional Greek. Large woodcut printer’s device to t-p and verso of last, woodcut initials and ornaments. Slight toning, scattered worming generally at gutter, occasionally touching letters, light water stain at upper gutter of some ll. and to fore-edge of last gathering. A very good, well-margined copy, on thick paper, in near contemporary Swiss calf over wooden boards, remains of clasps, eight brass cornerpieces, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with roll of heads within roundels with decorative pendants, inner border with blind-stamped antique urns, tendrils and small figures of standing soldiers, centre panels with roll of heads within roundels and fleurons, each panel flanked by two small gilt acorns and two gilt rosettes, small gilt mudejar design to centre, author and title gilt to upper margin of upper cover, author inked to fore-edge, raised bands, double blind ruled, ancient title label at head, upper joint and spine a bit cracked, sympathetic repair at foot, lower edge a little worn. Ownership inscription ‘Wolfg. Engelb. S.R.J. Com: ab Auersperg Sup. Cap. Cam. Cat. Inser: Anno 1655’ to head of title, several C16 marginal annotations with small sketched drawing reprising text, C19 bookplate of the Auersperg Palace library to front and small label of K.J. Hewett to rear pastedown.

A very handsomely and unusually bound Froben imprint, with fascinating textual and visual annotations, of Tertullian’s complete works. The contemporary binding resembles in style, though we have not found exact matches, those produced at the Franciscan monastery of Freiburg (Horodisch, ‘Buchbinderei’). In particular, it is reminiscent of the work of the bookbinder Peter Gay (fl.1560-1592), mixing solid blind-tooling with sparse gilt single tools and a gilt title, as in BL IA38479. In 1655, it was added to the library of Wolfgang Engelbert von Ausperger, a Lutheran aristocrat from Carniola, Slovenia, whose extremely rich family library stayed more or less intact until the second half of the C20.

Based on two mss from the monasteries of Peterlingen and Hirschau, edited by the German humanist and reformer Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547), due to numerous errors in the sources, this edition was revised using a third ms. (Graesse VII, 69). Tertullian (155-240AD), of whom little is known, was born in Carthage and was probably a lawyer and priest. He became one of the earliest defenders of Christianity against pagan cults like Gnosticism; he was also the first writer in Latin to use the word ‘trinity’. This edition includes his sermons on patience, Christ’s flesh, its resurrection, martyrs, penitence, wives and monogamy. It also features his ‘adversus’ against the Jews and the Valentinians, as well as his most famous ‘Apologeticus’, which discusses key theological questions like the nature of Christ and the devil, the kingdom of God, the Roman religion, and why pagan deities should not be considered ‘gods’.

One early annotator of this copy was especially interested in heretics (with numerous references to St Augustine’s work on the subject), and in the ‘Adversus Marcionem’, against the errors of the Marcionites, a middle eastern movement often identified with a strand of the Gnostics. The annotator also had a strong visual imagination. Where Tertullian quoted from Cicero the phrase ‘naso agere’ to address the ‘fools’ who rate the same wisdom divine and human, he drew a face with a long nose. In ‘Ad Martyres’, he drew the portrait of Lucretia stabbing herself after being raped by an Etruscan king’s son. He was also interested in the sections on confession and ‘ecclesia’ in ‘De Poenitentia’, as he portrayed passages from the text: a priest confessing a crying man and a deer pierced by an arrow seeking to heal himself by eating chelidonium, an allegory of the repentant sinner (an image repeated in the index). He also annotated the two sermons on ‘the cult of women’ (esp. sections on ‘pudicitia’ and even the style of hair), and ‘the wife’ (esp. bigamy and trigamy). In ‘Apologeticus’, he illustrated with the words ‘blasphemia cornelii taciti’ the famous statement by Tacitus, reprised by Tertullian, that Christians were said by pagans to worship ‘the head of an ass’.

Graesse VII, 69 (mentioned); BM STC Ger., p. 853; Dibdin I, 207-8 (mentioned). A. Horodisch, ‘Die Buchbinderei des Franziskanerklosters zu Freiburg (Schweiz) im 16. Jahrhundert’, Rivista svizzera d’arte e d’archeologia 9 (1947), 157-80.

L3406

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LANDI, Ortensio

WOMEN’S WRITING WITH SEX EDUCATION –

CONTEMPORARY ANNOTATION

Lettere di molte valorose donne

Venice, Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1548

£2,500

FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. 161 (iii). Italic letter, little Roman. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p and verso of last, woodcut initials. Slight yellowing, light water stain to some lower outer corners. A very good copy in c.1800 half vellum over marbled boards, gilt-lettered morocco label to spine, c.1800 casemarks to front pastedown, C19 purchase note and Italian ownership inscription to ffep and t-p, C16 underlining and marginalia.

A fresh copy of the first edition of this fictional collection of letters sent to and from important women—‘varying polemic, reproving, instructive, playful and even comic’ (Ray, ‘Writing Gender’, 45), and an important, ahead of its time, stepping stone in the success of women’s writing in early modern Italy. Published anonymously, it concludes with several sonnets by Sansovino, Dolce and Aretino which attributed the work to Ortensio Landi (or Lando, 1510-58), an Italian humanist who, after travelling through Europe, settled in Venice. There he became a ‘polygraph’ involved in editorial and translation work and the authorship of texts from different genres, aimed at the vernacular market. Accused of sympathising with heterodox religious views—including the personal understanding of the Bible and justification by faith alone—Lando saw his works added to the Index of Prohibited Books in 1544 and had to write under pseudonyms. The ‘Lettere’ gathers fictional epistles written by dozens of ‘wise women’, which the editor purported to have collected during his peregrinations. Some of the correspondents were indeed contemporary to Landi, often his patrons—e.g., Isabella Sforza and Isabella Gonzaga—but also invented figures like the Jewish lady of Mantua. Fascinating is the letter by Clara de’ Nobili, the wife of a physician, addressing in unusually physiological language the problems of fecundity and sterility—whether due to the woman’s body or her husband’s semen—and the specifics of conception. She also proposes to her friend and her husband a leisurely visit to their villa to favour conception, with the possibility of aphrodisiac medicaments. In her letter, Mamma Riminalda discusses pregnancy, giving advice and suggesting recipes to women struggling with side effects like swollen feet. In the context of learned debates on female authorship, Lando’s treatise generated a great interest in a book market increasingly keen on women’s writing. The careful early Italian annotator of this copy was studying it for its literary value. He or she was interested in the numerous classical references and mythological episodes, often involving women and gory acts (e.g., King Camble who ate his wife for gluttony one night), as well as in the use of similes, allegories of virtue and vice, and even recipes for medical concoctions. The sections on conception and pregnancy are also marked, especially the physiological descriptions. Was the annotator a young, educated woman?

BM STC It., p. 376; Annali di Giolito, p. 237; Fontanini II, 121; Melzi, Opere anonime e pseudonime, II, 115. Not in Gay. M.K. Ray, Writing Gender in Women’s Letter (Toronto, 2009).

L3310

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GREGORY I.

Moralia sive expositio in Job.

Venice, Andreas Torresanus, de Asula, 11 Apr. 1496.

£4,250

Folio. ff. (xv) 327, lacking a1 (blank except title ‘Moralia Sancti Gregorii Pape Super Job’) and I8 (blank). Gothic letter, double column. Outer margin of a2-3 and lower blank margin of I7 repaired, light water stain to upper blank margin of early ll., a few small, scattered, mainly marginal worm holes, intermittent marginal foxing in places, occasional ms. marginalia and image, few scattered ink spots, upper margin of I7 strengthened, early ms note on lower. A very good, generally clean copy, on thick paper, in polished C17 calf, C18 reback in straight-grained morocco, marbled eps, raised bands, spine double gilt ruled, gilt-lettered morocco labels, scattered worm holes at head and foot of spine, extremities a bit rubbed. Bookplate of George Fletcher to ffep, occasional early marginalia.

This edition—‘rigorous […] with a handsome Gothic typeface’—is included among those ‘of priceless value according to the unanimous opinion of bibliographers’ produced by the Torresani two years after Manutius had left, on amicable terms, to set up his own press  (Bernoni, ‘Dei Torresani’, 79, n.89). This was also the penultimate edition of the C15. From a Patrician Roman family, Gregory (504-604AD) served as prefect, the highest office in Rome, before deciding to devote his life to the Christian church. Albeit keen on monastic meditation, he was, for his talents in diplomacy and administration, elected pope. He famously organised the first systematic mission to Britain, including Augustine of Canterbury, to convert the Anglo-Saxons. ‘Moralia’ was written during his diplomatic stay at the court of Tiberius II in Constantinople, and it was completed after his papal appointment. His major work, ‘Moralia’ is also one of the longest Western theological texts. It is a monumental commentary on moral questions raised in the book of Job—addressed in their historical, moral, allegorical and typological sense—Job being interpreted as a prefiguration of Christ and of the persecuted Church. ‘Encyclopaedic and synoptic, it is a cornucopia brimming with odd bits of information about the natural world, medicine, human nature, and society mixed unpredictably with sober analyses of guilt and sin, disquisitions on Christology, and reflections on the Church’s place in the world, along with the unfolding of Job’s story’—a manual for Christian life (Straw, ‘Job’s Sin’, 72-73). The sparse annotator of this copy glossed two sections as ‘allegoria’ and ‘moralitas’. Handsome, fresh copy of one of the most influential theological works.

BMC V 312; Goff G433; HC 7933*; GW 11435; Bernoni 89; Renouard 19:1. C. Straw, ‘Job’s Sin in the Moralia of Gregory the Great’, in A Companion to Job in the Middle Ages, ed. T.F. Harkins (Leiden, 2016), 71-100.

L3283

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[AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO.]

ANNOTATED INCUNABULA

De civitate Dei. [wit] De Trinitate.

[Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1490.]

£9,750

Folio, 2 works in 1. 108 unnumbered ll., a10 b-p8 q6 r-x6/8 y6 A-K8/6 L-O6/8 + 86 unnumbered ll., a-f8 g-k6/8 l-m6. Gothic letter, two to four columns. 3/4-page woodcut to verso of first t-p, of St Augustine at his desk and view of City of God and Earthly City with a fight between angels and demons. 9-line (first) and 6-line (second) initials at head of chapters supplied in red with blue penwork, both works with capital letters supplied in alternating red and blue, titles and chapter headings heightened in red. T-ps and verso of last leaves dusty, upper edge a bit trimmed, occasionally just touching running title, few finger marks, 1) marginalia a bit smudged on first G6, a few lines crossed over on first I7, 2) light waterstaining to upper margin, a little heavier on last three gatherings, smallish stain to last dozen ll. Very good copies, on thick paper, in C17 Netherlandish sprinkled sheep, rebacked, with original spine onlaid, raised bands, spine in seven compartments, large gilt fleuron and cornerpieces to each, gilt-lettered morocco label, some loss to outer edges, corners and head and foot of spine repaired. C16 inscription ‘Martinus Tuleman. AGSMW In Deo Volu[n]tas Mea’ and C17 inscriptions ‘Bibliothecae ord. Erem. S. Augustini Trajecti ad mosam’ and ‘Ex lib. P. de lochin Augustin. Trajectius’ to first t-p, verse from Virgili’s Bucolics and Aeneid in a C16 hand to verso of last, extensive contemporary and C16 Latin annotations, cropped in places.

‘De civitate Dei contra paganos’ is one of the milestones of Western thought, composed by St Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century. The work criticised the idea that Christians were to be held responsible for the decline and fall of Rome, upholding instead that this was due to the Romans’ reliance on pagan gods; he also presented Providential history as a constant fight between the City of God and the Earthly City, as immortalised by the handsome initial woodcut in this copy showing a fight between angels and demons. ‘De Trinitate’ examined the concept of the divinity and co-equality of the persons of the Trinity against critics of the Nicaean Council. This edition of ‘De civitate Dei’ was accompanied by a commentary by the C13 English theologians Thomas Waleys and Nicholas Trevet. Their approach and methodology towards Roman history and pagan antiquity resonated with early Renaissance thought. They had ‘none of the dogmatic tone or moralising exegesis of contemporary classicising biblical commentaries and preaching aids’ and were ‘pre-dominantly literal in their exposition’; they also showed ‘a sensitivity to historical difference and the periodisation of Roman history’ and took ‘an even-handed approach to Christian and pagan authors’ (Thorn, ‘Nicholas Trevet’).

 In this copy, the C16 annotator’s marginalia focus on the commentary rather than the Augustinian text, lingering on the commentators’ expanded accounts of the theologian’s concise references to classical deities and events like the fall of Troy. In particular, the earliest annotator concentrated on the first part, wholly concerned with the criticism of pagan gods and Roman history. He noted passages on the stories of Aeneas, Cybele, Pallas, Apollo, on the poetic ‘fables’ of antiquity, the sybils, as well as the Goths’ invasions of Rome, Anthony and Cleopatra, and exotic subjects like the Cynocaephali, prodigies and portents, and the Antipodes. Some of these he listed with page numbers in the index, when they were not included. Below the initial woodcut he noted that ‘the Elysian fields are close to Hell’s gates’. On the verso of the final leaf, he copied lines from the ‘Bucolics’ and the ‘Aeneid’. He glossed the famous passage on Aeneas’s tears for the death of Dido with an amusing note: ‘It is reported that St Augustine, whenever he read these sweet passages, could not refrain from bursting into tears’—a reference to the ‘Confessions’, where Augustine castigates himself for this weakness.

 This volume was in the possession of Martinus Tuleman, ‘claustrarius’ at the monastery of St Servatius in Maastricht in 1532-58 (‘Verzameling’, 195; 202, 203). He owned several incunabula, some of which he received as a bequest from Petrus Tuleman, perhaps a relative, ‘canonicus’ at St Servatius (‘Bibliotheek’, 43; ‘Annales’, 185-86). The early annotations were probably made by Tuleman himself or by a previous owner acquainted with theology and ‘literae humaniores’. St Servatius had indeed become the centre for humanism in Maastricht and one of the leading cultural hubs in northern Europe, with a prestigious Latin school (‘Encyclopaedia’, 934). Matthaus Herbenus (1451-1538), an early Flemish humanist with ten years in Italy under his belt, was at St Servatius between 1482 and c.1506. A poet and musicologist, he was also rector of the school. In the early C17, the copy was in the library of the Augustinian monastery of Maastricht. It belonged to the friar Pierre(?) de Lonchin, from a local, armigerous family in the province of Limbourg. The later annotations ignore the commentary and focus on the Augustinian text. Among the glosses is one highlighting the ‘fascination with the nonsense of foolish idols’ and, most interestingly, a crossing out of Augustine’s exposition of the theory of free will, criticised by Reformers. A direct reference to the Reformation is present in a gloss in ‘De Trinitate’, on theological mistakes, associating with Reformers ‘those who want to know what they don’t know…boldly affirm the presumption of their opinions’.

Very good copies of these theological milestones, with fascinating history and annotations.

1) BMC XV, p. 752; Hain 2066*; GW 2888.

2) BMC XV, p. 753; Hain 2039*; GW 2928.

A. Oosthoek, Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht (Utrecht, 1922); Encyclopaedia of Monasticism (Oxford, 2000); E.M. Thorn, ‘Nicholas Trevet’s and Thomas Waleys’s Commentaries on Augustine’s De civitate Dei’ (unpublished PhD diss., Bristol, 2013); Verzameling van charters…van St. Servaas, in Soc. Hist. et Arch. de Limbourg (1930, 1933).

L3296

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NICOLAUS DE PLOVE [with] FERNÁNDEZ DE SANTAELLA, Rodrigo

NICOLAUS DE PLOVE. Tractatus sacerdotalis de sacramentis. [with]

FERNÁNDEZ DE SANTAELLA, Rodrigo. Sacerdotalis instructio circa missam.

Logroño, Arnao Guillén de Brocar, 1503.

£7,500

4to. Two works in one, I) ff. 106 [92], II) 12 unnumbered ll., a8 b4. Woodcut vignettes of the crucifixion within typographic border to first t-p and without border to second and third, printer’s device to last of both, decorated initials. Slight marginal dust-soiling or very light waterstaining, a good copy, on thick paper, in contemporary vellum, traces of ties. Inscription ‘Permiss[us] anno 1634 F Philippe de Castro’ to t-p and early inscription inked to last of first, occasional early Latin annotation, 7 line ms. to verso of last of second part, marca de fuego of the Augustinians of New Spain.

The provenance of this copy can be traced to the library of an Augustinian monastery in Mexico, the marca de fuego of which remains unidentified. The intriguing C16 annotation inked to the last leaf of ‘Tractatus’ is a pseudo-medical ‘receta para lonbrices’ (recipe against worms), with Latin verse from Psalms 25 and 35 and Leviticus 23 which mentions ‘eating flesh’, ‘expulsion’ and the ‘cleansing of blood’. It concludes with the words ‘sator arepo tenet opera rotas’—an enigmatic charm dating back to late antiquity.

Augustinian friars were keen on the evangelisation of Hispanic and native missionaries, which included the knowledge of devotional and liturgical practice. Theological manuals like ‘Tractatus’ and ‘Sacerdotalis instructio’ were fundamental to educate clerics from such diverse backgrounds. Nicolaus de Plove (or de Blony or de Plowe, fl. 1434-38) was a preacher in Plock at the service of the bishop of Posen. Printed ten times before 1499 and widely circulated in ms. form, his ‘Tractatus’, commissioned by the Bishop Stanislaus I, was one of the most successful C15 manuals for clerics (‘Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie’). Rodrigo Fernández de Santaella (1444-1509) was doctor in theology, professor at colleges in Sevilla and Bologna and sometime at the service of cardinal Francesco Gonzaga. ‘Sacerdotalis instructio’ was one of several works he wrote for the instruction of clerics.

In addition to customary topics like the meaning of sacraments, the recitation of the mass or the procedure for exorcism, these manuals included detailed instruction on basic devotional practice. For instance, the annotator of this copy highlighted passages on how to recite ‘horae canonicae’ (matins and vespers). Priests should pray for their community in ‘honest places’, not whilst minding pigs and cows in the fields, or lying in bed or sitting on the toilet; as far as singing techniques were concerned, they should remember that ‘a voice without modulation is like that of a pig; one without devotion is like the voice of an ox’.

In 1634, this copy was examined by the renowned Mexican Augustinian Inquisitor Fray Felipe de Castro and marked with a ‘permissus’ to certify its suitability.

I) Only Illinois and UPenn copies recorded in the US.

Palau 229113. Not in BL STC Sp.

II) No copies recorded in the US.

BL STC Sp., p. 78; Palau 89735 (mentioned as a second edition).

L2903

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LACTANTIUS. [with] OROSIUS.

EXTENSIVE HUMANIST ANNOTATIONS –

WITH C15 BINDING INSTRUCTIONS

LACTANTIUS. De divinis institutionibus libri septem…Item Tertulliani Apologeticus adversus gentes

[with]

OROSIUS. Historiae adversus paganos.

Venice, Octavianus Scotus, 1494 and 1483.

£11,500

Folio. 2 works in 1, ff. 90, 78 unnumbered ll., a8 b-m6 n4. Roman letter. Orosius, illuminated first initial in gold, blue, red and green, and others rubricated in red and blue, Lactantius with woodcut decorated initials and printer’s device to last leaf of first. Edges dusty, a little mainly marginal finger soiling or spotting, 1: scattered worm holes to lower outer corner of first 3 ll. affecting couple of letters, slight age yellowing, 2: few ll. slightly browned, small worm holes to outer blank margin of last gathering. Very good, well-margined copies in contemporary south German calf over wooden boards, traces of two clasps, lacking centre- and cornerpieces, double blind ruled to a panel design, upper cover: outer border with blind stamped hearts pierced by arrow within lozenges, centre panel with rolls of tendrils, and thistles within lozenges, lower cover: outer border with blind stamped floral tendrils, Virgin and Child within roundel (EBDB w000090, K019) stamped to corners, centre panel with cross-hatching in blind and same stamp of Virgin with Child, raised bands, covers and spine worn, small loss at head and foot, traces of later paper label, ‘Lactantius’ tooled in blind to upper cover, spine lined with C15 (Italian?) ms. (Jacobus à Varazze’s Legenda aurea). C19 bookplates and library stamp to front pastedown and C19 bibliographical information to rear, extensive contemporary Latin marginalia in red in German hands c.1500, authors’ names inked to upper edge.

Extensively annotated copies of Lactantius’s ‘Opera’ (with Tertullian’s ‘Apologeticus’) and Orosius’s ‘Historiae’—three milestones of early Christian theology and historiography. On the first leaf of the second work is a contemporary inscription with instructions to the binder, that the books by Orosius should be bound in half leather for plain reading, without ornaments. Half leather was requested by owners with budget constraints; that Orosius is now bound with a later work, in full leather formerly with brass decorations (and with a lavishly gilt initial), indicates it was shortly acquired by a wealthier owner. It was actually bound at the Augustinian monastery in Nuremberg (as shown by the Mary-with-Child stamp, EBDB w000090, K019), which boasted the most active bindery in the city in 1464-1526 as well as its own printing press.

At the turn of the C16, the Augustinian monastery was a thriving humanist hub, hosting personalities like Regiomontanus, Beheim, Schedel, Pickheimer and Scheurl (Kunzelmann, ‘Geschichte’, III, 275), none of whose hands appear to correspond to that of the annotator in this copy, although Schedel also annotated in red. This was likely part of the monastic library, nearly a quarter of whose books had been printed in Venice (Kyriss, ‘Nürnberger Klostereinbände’, 57); or it may have belonged to a scholar with links to the monastery, even to one of the higher-ranking monks or priors—e.g., Lupf, Pesler or Mantel—who, since the turn of the C16, had been chosen among former university students or lecturers in humanistic studies (Machilek, ‘Klosterhumanismus’, 40-41). 

The annotations were made by a scholar, probably for lectures, as suggested by the ‘ars memoriae’ diagrams on the last leaf of the Lactantius—a table with cells marked alphabetically, each with keywords and leaf number (e.g., ‘P’ has ‘prophets’ and ‘poets’, ‘I’ has ‘Iove and others [deities]’ and ‘idola’). The scholar had a remarkable interest in ‘Christian humanist’ readings and a critique of pagan cults. He was especially keen on the first three books of Lactantius’s (c.250-325AD) ‘Institutiones divinae’ which discussed the typological wisdom of the ancients and their insights or errors concerning the Christian god before the coming of Christ. He glossed passages on theological interpretations of prophets (e.g., sybils), poets (e.g., Ovid, Virgil, Orpheus, Hesiodus), deities (e.g., Apollo, Jove, Juno) or semi-divine figures (e.g., Hercules, Romulus). He annotated passages concerning ancient theories on the philosophical value of poetic invention (‘figmenta poetarum’) and history, e.g., Plato’s interpretation of myth and Euhemerus’s view of classical gods as worthy humans who achieved posthumous veneration. Further glosses were made to passages on the theological and moral wisdom of the ancients in relation to Christian theology. Similarly, the annotations to Tertullian’s (155-240AD) ‘Apologeticus’, a defence of Christianity against pagan cults like Gnosticism, focus on sacrifices, the worship of ‘idola’, ‘simulacra’, the nature of Christ and the devil, the kingdom of God, the Roman religion, and the ‘[mythical] fables and horrendous filthiness of the [ancient] gods’. Orosius’s (375-418AD) ‘Historiae adversus paganos’ was a providentialist world history showing the beneficial effects of Christianity on civilisation. The annotator was interested in the famous initial geographical description of the world, as well as in the development of world history from the ‘vengeance of the Deluge’ (glossed as ‘iusta’) down to the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, the Christian persecutions, ending with Constantine’s reign, with excursion into mythical history (e.g., the Amazons) and symbolic events like plagues and earthquakes.

A remarkable, fascinating witness to the circulation of humanist scholarship in late medieval northern Europe, on the eve of the Reformation.

  1. I) Not in BMC XV.
  2. II) BMC XV, p. 278. Brunet IV, 237 (mentioned); Graesse VI, 51: ‘the second counterfeit’ of Hermann Levilapis’s 1475 edition, with revised verse before the registrum. E. Kyriss, Nürnberg Kloistereinbände der Jahre 1433 bis 1525 (Erlagen, 1940); A. Kunzelmann, Geschichte der Deutschen Augustiner-Eremiten (Wurzburg, 1972), vol. 3; F. Machilek, ‘Klosterhumanismus in Nürnberg um 1500’, Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnberg 64 (1977), 10-45; J.H. Overfield, Humanism and Scholasticism in Late Medieval Germany (Princeton, 1984).

L3203b

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BUSBECQ, Ogier Ghislain de.

A VERY EARLY ACCOUNT OF THE OTTOMAN WORLD

Legationis turcicae Epistolae quatuor.

Frankfurt, apud A. Wechel (heirs of), C. de Marne and J. Aubry, 1595.

£1,500

8vo. pp. 360 (xxiv). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p and last, decorated initials and ornaments. Blank margins somewhat wormed, intermittent faint water stain to upper outer corners, paper flaw to upper outer corner of F2 and outer lower of T4, outer and lower edges of last gathering softened and little frayed, couple of holes to outer blank margin of last two ll. A good clean copy in contemporary limp vellum, traces of ties, title and shelfmark inked to spine, lower edges of rear cover chewed. Latin verse in contemporary hand inked to fly, inscriptions ‘Moyle Breton Univ. Coll. Oxon. 1768’, ‘Amasia natus est Strabo’ (late C17, a scholarly gloss), ‘one and thirtieth booke third shelf from the top of the South East Box’, ‘meo remigio rem gero’ (motto) and ‘R Leedes’ (c.1600) inked to t-p, occasional annotations in contemporary hands, casemark inked to outer and lower fore-edge.

Second edition of these remarkably important letters on Turkey, written in the 1550s, with the only surviving glossary of a long-extinct Germanic language. Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq (1522-92) was a scholar, keen herbalist and diplomat in the service of the Austrian monarchy; he spent several years in Constantinople where he negotiated the boundaries of disputed territories and was involved in politics at the court of Suleyman the Magnificent. First published without authorial licence in Paris in 1589 as ‘Itinerarium Constantinopolitanum’, ‘Epistolae’ is his most famous work and one of the earliest Western testimonies on the Ottoman world. It gathers letters which Busbecq sent to the Hungarian diplomat Nicholas Michault. In addition to observations on the natural environment, he included in his work the first and only recorded glossary (80 words), as well as the excerpt of a song, in a Crimean dialect. Having heard of a Germanic language being spoken in Turkey, he managed to have an interview with a native speaker noting words close to Dutch (e.g., ‘tag’ ‘day’, ‘plut’ ‘blood’), others which differed, and cardinal numbers (Considine, ‘Dictionaries’, 140-41). Busbecq also expresses strong opinions on the conquest of the New World, as colonisers ‘seek the Indies and the Antipodes through the vastity of the ocean because there the booty is easy to take from naïve and gullible natives, without bloodshed’. One of the English annotators of this copy, who wrote in English, Greek, Latin and Arabic, was a scholar at University College, Oxford, as per ex-libris on t-p. He wrote in Arabic the word ‘sherbet’ to gloss a sentence on ‘sorbet’, a cooling fruit drink typical of Eastern territories; according to the OED, the word was first recorded in English in 1603. He was also interested in Busbecq’s observations on Turkish flora and fauna, as he glossed ‘glycyrrhiza’ as ‘liquorish’ and ‘sicedula’ as ‘nightingale’ and ‘beccafico’. The Latin verse on the fly reprises some of the epigraphs which Busbecq used to conclude his accounts, e.g., the Tacitean ‘religion is the pretext, the object is gold’ in his discussion of the conquest of the New World. A very influential work in the history of Western perceptions of the Ottoman world.

A jeweller named William Leedes took part in expeditions of the Turkey Company in 1579 and 1584, with other merchant adventurers, arriving as far as Baghdad.

Göllner 2026; Graesse I, 580 (1605 ed.); Blackmer 249. Not in BM STC Ger. or Alden. J. Considine, Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2008); The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, ed. E. Seymour Forster (Baton Rouge, 2005).

L3181b

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