LANDI, Ortensio



Lettere di molte valorose donne

Venice, Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1548


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).


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Sergius vel capitis caput.

[Leipzig, in aedibus Valentin Schumann, 1520].


Small 4to. 12 unnumbered ll., A-B6. Roman letter, little Greek. Woodcut ornament with Leipzig arms to t-p. Slight age browning, minor tear to upper edge of t-p and small hole just touching two letters, light water stain and minor fraying to first outer blank margin, verso of couple of ll. dust-soiled, outer blank margin of last seven ll. trimmed. Disbound with traces of sewing, first five ll. with extensive contemporary annotations.

Interesting annotated copy of this famous anti-Catholic satirical play. Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522) was a German humanist, and one of the earliest scholars of Greek in Germany, trained at Paris and Basel; he was known for his theories of Greek pronunciation. Having fled to Heidelberg after the death of his patron, Count Eberhard of Württenberg, he gained the position of tutor to the children of Philip, Count Palatine of the Rhine. His sister’s grandson was the Protestant Philip Melanchthon, with whom he fell out after the Reformation. Despite his Catholicism, Reuchlin was critical of aspects of the Roman Church like the frequently debatable behaviour of monks and the commerce of false relics—the subject of this play. First published in 1504 and much reprinted, ‘Sergius’ marked ‘the beginning of Neo-Latin comedy in Germany’ (Dall’Asta, ‘Lateinische Drama’, 14). Its title refers to Sergius/Bahira, a Nestorian monk of the 6th century—and the narrative persona of Reuchlin’s adversary, the Augustinian Conrad Holzinger—who prophesized to Muhammad his glorious future. Considered a heretical monk and the inspiration to the Christian content of the Qur’an, he was a frequent presence in Renaissance anti-Islamic writings. In the play, Sergius stands as the heretical monk par excellence—’the chief of the chiefs’ of ‘all lechery […], the head without soul or reason’. The other characters take on the role of social critics following the ancient Roman comic tradition. The contemporary annotator was especially interested in Act I. He studiously noted information on Reuchlin on the t-p, and appears to have been studying the text as a fine example of Neo-Latin prose. He glossed it with interlinear and marginal notes on metrics (linked to debates on Neo-Latin poetry), figures of speech, synonyms and references to Quintilian and the work of contemporary scholars like Jacob Spiegel, close to Protestant humanist circles.

No copies recorded in the US.

USTC 669227; BM STC Ger., p. 733 (not this edition). Not in Graesse. M. Dall’Asta, ‘“Histrionum exercitus et scommata”’, in Das lateinische Drama der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. R.F. Glei and R. Seidel (Tubingen, 2008), 13-30.


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Moralia sive expositio in Job.

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


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.


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De civitate Dei. [wit] De Trinitate.

[Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1490.]


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).


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

FERNÁNDEZ DE SANTAELLA, Rodrigo. Sacerdotalis instructio circa missam.

Logroño, Arnao Guillén de Brocar, 1503.


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).


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


OROSIUS. Historiae adversus paganos.

Venice, Octavianus Scotus, 1494 and 1483.


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).


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BUSBECQ, Ogier Ghislain de.


Legationis turcicae Epistolae quatuor.

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


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).


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SANTO, Mariano, VIGO, Johannes de


Opera domini Joannis de Vigo in chyrurgia. Additur Chyrurgia Mariani Sancti Barolitani.

Lyon, [Antonius du Ry for J. And F. Giunta], 1525.


8vo. 3 parts in one, separate t-ps, ff. 179 (v), (iii) 86 (iii). Large Gothic letter, double column, first t-p in red and black. T-ps within woodcut frame with urns, putti, vegetable decorations and arms of France, woodcut portrait of Santo to third, woodcut printer’s device to verso of last, decorated initials and ornaments. Light marginal waterstaining, ancient minor repair to few outer blank corners or outer edges, fore-edge of F-J ink-splashed, small oil stain and worm trail to lower blank margin of M-N. A very good copy in contemporary northern Italian sheep (?), traces of ties, double and triple blind ruled to a panel design, inner border with blind-stamped leafy tendrils, centre panel with large blind-stamped floral centre- and cornerpieces, raised bands, spine triple blind ruled in four cross-hatched compartments, spine a bit cracked, very minor loss at head, expert repair to foot and lower joint. Extensive contemporary annotations, slightly later inscription ‘Johannes de Vigo’ on verso of last.

An interesting copy—in a handsome, remarkably fresh contemporary Tuscan or Umbrian binding—of this extremely successful surgical manual. Johannes de Vigo (1450-1525) was a renowned Italian surgeon from Genoa who, becoming acquainted with Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, was appointed his personal surgeon when he was elected Pope Julius II. In Rome, Vigo wrote two very influential surgical manuals—‘Pratica chirurgica’ (1514) and ‘Pratica compendiosa’ (1516)—which were published in more than 50 editions (‘Heirs of Hippocrates’ 87). ‘Opera’ is the fourth, enlarged edition of ‘Pratica’, first published in this form in 1521, integrated by additional material: a shorter surgical manual composed by Mariano Santo (1488-1550), a Neapolitan surgeon, professor at Bologna, and former student of Vigo. The work sheds light on the most pressing theoretical (‘in universale’) and practical (‘in particulare’) concerns of an early C16 surgeon. After reminding the reader of the notions of anatomy, both Vigo and Santo discuss abscesses, firearm wounds, ulcers, ‘morbus gallicus’ (syphilis), fractures, as well as the characteristics of natural medicaments and antidotes. The surgeon who annotated this copy underlined and glossed dozens of passages on anatomy (e.g., the smaller internal ‘testicles’ women have to host sperm), conditions (e.g., ‘formica corrosiva’ or herpes, scrofula, ‘hernia ventosa’ or orchitis in infants), pharmacopoeia (e.g., the use of a ‘collirium nobile’ or eye drops for the treatment of eye conditions) and surgery (e.g., incision of the ‘membrana spermatica’, phlebotomy). The annotations shed light on his own personal experience in provincial Umbria and Tuscany. He identifies ‘panaritium’ (whitlow) as ‘mal del pino’, according ‘to the Florentine vernacular’, an expression which Falloppio contributed to advertise in print. The annotator also mentioned three cases he attended, all ending tragically. Antonello from Bevagna died from a badly treated abscess on his foot; Francesco from Cortona fell ill and passed away swiftly due to damage to the internal organs; a lady from Bevagna, a peasant, ‘went back to the father who created her’ after a long fever, without lumps or bruises, but only great pain to her arm, which was entirely ‘corrupted’ (gangrene). A handsome, carefully used copy with fascinating insights into the life of a C16 Italian surgeon.

Brunet V, 1220 (mentioned); Durling 4610; Bib. Osler. 4173 (1534 ed.); Wellcome I, 6614 (1531 ed.), Heirs of Hippocrates 87. Not in BM STC Fr.


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ATTAVANTI, Paolus, Florentinus.


Breviarium totius iuris canonici.

Memmingen, Albrecht Kunne, 1486


Folio. ff. (v) 2-129 (*4 a10 b-n8 o10 p8 q5), lacking q6 blank. Gothic letter, double column, ms. initials in red, rubrication throughout, attractive contemporary woodcut portrait of author in his library to recto of first fol. Scattered worm holes, light water stain towards gutter of first few gatherings, minor marginal spotting, red ink marks from initials in a few places, lower outer blank corner of fol. 89 torn, recto of first and verso of last a bit soiled, second leaf strengthened at gutter. A very good, large copy in contemporary south German calf, rebacked with overlaid original spine, lacking centre- and cornerpieces, traces of one clasp and chain holder, blind-stamped to a triple blind ruled cross-hatched design with fleurons and lozenges framing double-headed eagles and four-tailed creatures, raised bands, vellum label with title and casemark heightened in red to upper cover, also (rubbed) to spine, a bit wormed and worn. Early circular armorial paper bookplate (‘Bib: Nor’) of City of Nuremberg Library, with small abrasion, to blank section of portrait leaf.

The woodcut image of Paolo Attavanti in his library on the first fol., bearing the acronym ‘M[agister] P[aulus] F[lorentinus] o[rdinis] S[ancti] S[piritus]’ is the first author portrait ever to appear in a printed book. It first appeared in the 1479 edition of this text, published by Leonardus Pachel and Ulrich Scinzenzeler. ‘The head of the Magister with the expressive neckline in his austere plainness is reminiscent of the simplicity of [the Lombard painters] Foppas and Zenales…the character of Lombard art is clearly visible in the design’ (Kristeller, ‘Die Lombardische Graphik der Renaissance’, 28).

Excellent, well-margined copy of this masterful manual of canon law. Paolo Attavanti (1445-99) was a Florentine preacher, theologian and ‘doctor in utroque iuris’ (canon and civil law). He was a valued member of the humanist circle of Lorenzo de’ Medici, which included the philosopher Marsilio Ficino. A prolific writer of hagiographic and historical works, and a commentary to Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’. This legal manual for practitioners was designed to make the consultation of canon law ‘easier, speedier and pleasanter’. Canon law was the legal system of the Roman Catholic Church, regulating the rights and duties of individuals, property, crime, trials, etc. The thorough index of the ‘Breviarium’ refers the reader to hundreds of subjects, from purgatory, penance and the images of saints to practical questions like procedures for the election of bishops and the duration of a father’s punishment across generations. Fundamental in canon law was the code of behaviour for religious, including whether they were allowed to bear weapons and their duty to avoid all kinds of theatrical spectacles. Judicial regulations covered all phases of trials and explained, for instance, that no criminal accusations could be accepted from excommunicates, actors, heretics, heathens and Jews. Strict regulations on marriage were crucial as aristocrats and princes often infringed them by marrying a close relative or having illegitimate children. The ‘arbor consanguinitatis’, which occupies an entire page, illustrated the degrees of kinship whereby individuals were too closely related to be granted leave to marry. The annotator of this copy was interested in these issues as he highlighted sections on the illegitimate offspring of priests, bishops and popes.

BMC II, 604; GW M30141; Goff P180; H 7161*; Kristeller, Die Lombardische Graphik der Renaissance, 38 (1479 ed.).


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Stratto de doganieri et passaggieri del contado et distretto di Fiorenza. [with] Sommario della riforma della dogana di Fiorenza.

Florence, G. Marescotti, 1578 and [1580?]


4to. 2 works in 1, 100 unnumbered ff., [*4] Cc2 Bb1, A-Z4, Aa4, 8 unnumbered ll., A4. Roman letter, little Greek. Woodcut Medici arms to both t-ps, decorated initials. Small clean tear to outer margin of t-p, occasional very minor mainly marginal foxing, four gatherings browned (paper not properly dried), ink splash at gutter of first and last few gatherings. A very good copy in C16 quarter goatskin over bevelled wooden boards, raised bands, C17 eps, traces of label to spine, a little loss to leather on upper cover, head and foot a bit rubbed, the odd worm hole, with minor loss to outer edge of upper cover. Extensive annotations by Fortunio de Baroncelli 1610 to ffeps, occasionally elsewhere.

Very scarce works on customs, taxes and duties in C16 Florence. Originally published in 1546 and revised in 1571, the first contains lists of goods of all kinds accompanied by the related customs duties (in ‘lire’, ‘soldi’ and ‘danari’). Each item—from carnations to wood, wrought iron, sugar, chestnuts, hats, the ‘art of wool’ or animal skin—is broken down into customs duties for import or export: e.g., destined to Florence, for exit or entry from and to the territory of Pisa, Florence or Arezzo, or to be carried through the passages of Montecchio and San Miniato. This copy belonged to the customs officer Fortunio, son of Angelo de Baroncelli, who needed to master the sundry regulations. His first ‘office’ was at the customs of Castelfiorentino, a job he took up on 4 August 1610. He added notes concerning the specific custom taxes on animals, caps and furry hats and spun wool; the five customs locations (Santa Croce, Santa Maria in Monte, Montopoli, Castelfanco and Fucecchio); and further notes on sundry types of skin. He also noted the ‘prohibited’ (i.e., untaxable) items, originating in the territory of Florence, which should not be burdened with duties—from leather to oil, wool, silk and straw hats. Straw hats are especially interesting as these were a typical product of the area. The last sections are devoted to the duties of customs officers, items that cannot be taxed, procedures and the individual taxes for each passage in Tuscany. The second work in this sammelband, very similar to but shorter than the first, is a summary of the customs reforms of 1580. A very scarce manual for customs officers and a mine of information on the history of commerce and taxation.

I) Only six copies recorded on WorldCat and OPAC, none in the US.

BM STC It., p. 257; Annali dei Marescotti, 111. Not in Goldsmiths or Kress.

II) Only five copies recorded on WorldCat and OPAC, none in the US.

BM STC It., p. 257. Not in Goldsmiths or Kress.


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