El Pastor de noche buena.

[Mexico, por la viuda de Bernardo Calderon, 1644].


FIRST EDITION? 8vo. ff. (xxv) 139 (iv). Roman letter, little Italic. Very slight marginal foxing to a few ll., clean tear just touching printing along gutter of N3 and at foot of N6. A good, fresh copy in contemporary Mexican limp vellum, yapp edges, two of four ties, title and shelfmark ‘N.2’ inked to spine, a.e.r.

A fresh, clean copy, in a contemporary Mexican binding, of (probably) the first edition of this influential mystical work, produced by the important printing press of Paula de Benavides, widow of Bernardo Calderón. By 1644, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza (1600-58) had been Bishop of Puebla de los Angeles for 4 years, whilst also occupying the offices of Archbishop of Mexico (1640-2) and Viceroy of New Spain (1642). He was keen on promoting scholarly and spiritual education, as he founded monasteries and schools, and, in 1646, the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, the first public library in the Americas. Indeed, ‘El Pastor’ was intended for the use of the nuns in Puebla, as a finely written ‘brief manual on how to practice virtue and how to easily recognise vice’. Written at Christmas 1643—the ‘Noche Buena’—it presents a ‘pastor’ (Palafox) meditating on the mystery of Christ’s birth, suspended between literature, allegory and mysticism. An angel appears to him and leads him through an allegorical journey in the castles of Deceit and Disillusion, during which he encounters theological personifications and reflects on appearance and reality. The manual, Palafox explains, served to enhance the spiritual education of the nuns, so that, ‘inside the cloisters, they may serve God with gentleness, follow him with purity and love him with finesse’. This edition includes a dedication to Queen Isabel of Bourbon, and the ‘imprimatur’ of two bishops of the Americas.

The bibliography of the work’s early editions is foggy. Whilst Palau (n.209.629) mentions only a ‘dubious’ Barcelona edition of 1644, Medina puts the first, and only, 1644 edition in Mexico; however he could not confirm if it was printed in Puebla or Ciudad de México, as the copy did not have a t-p or imprint. The edition he saw was thus not ours, which bears the Viuda’s imprint. Therefore, two editions were probably printed in Mexico in 1644, of which priority has not been established. The layout of the earliest Spanish editions, e.g., Madrid 1645 and Valencia 1646/48, reprised closely that of the Viuda’s, as ‘all [European] editions followed as their model the one approved by the Venerable Bishop’ (Bib. Novohisp., I, 576).

The ‘Viuda’ Paula de Benavides took over the business upon the death of her husband, Bernardo Calderón. Between 1640 and 1684, she ran one of the most successful printing workshops and bookshops in Ciudad de México. In 1640-1, she regained the privilege, once granted to her husband, of printing very remunerative schoolbooks and dictionaries.

Only UCLA, JCB and Illinois copies recorded in the US.

Sabin 58300; Simon 3762; Iberian Books 51680; Medina, México, 586: ‘No podría asegurar si esta edición es de Puebla o si salió de las prensas de México.’ Not in Palau. A.C. Montiel Ontiveros et al., ‘Paula de Benavides: impresora del siglo XVII’, Contrib. d. Coatpec 10 (2006), 103-15;


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De mystica numerorum significatione.

[Paris, Henri I Estienne, 1513.]


FIRST and ONLY early edition. 4to. ff. 41 (iii). Roman letter, white on black decorated initials. T-p and couple of others a bit thumbed, a very good, thick paper copy in contemporary vellum. Bookplate of Erwin Tomash to front pastedown, illegible remains of early inscription on t-p. In modern folding box.

Very good copy of the first and only edition of this numerological treatise. Educated at Leuven, Josse van Clichtove (1472-1543) was a Belgian theologian and philosopher, and librarian at the Sorbonne; many of his works were harsh critiques of Lutheranism. One of his earliest works, ‘De mystica numerorum significatione’ is a pamphlet on the mystical meaning of numbers in the Scriptures using major ancient and medieval numerical theories including those of Pythagoras, Aristotle, Boethius and St Augustine. It associates numbers to their manifestations in the Bible—e.g., one (the gnostic Monad), three (the Trinity), four (the Evangelists)—reflecting on fundamental theological concepts like hypostasis or the existence of one god in the three distinct persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The work looked back to the ancient numerological tradition criticised on the one hand but on the other widely employed and transmitted to medieval theologians by the Church Fathers, and assimilated in the early Renaissance through the lens of Neo-Platonism. The final ‘epilogus’ summarises the chapters listing the main meanings for each number: e.g., 11 as ‘transgression of the Ten Commandments and sin’ and 40 ‘expiation of sin and time of penitence’. A little known and extremely learned product of late medieval exegesis and the numerological tradition.

Tomash & Williams C103; Renouard 14:5; Brunet II, 108; BM STC It., p. 117; Honeyman II, 725. Not in Riccardi or Smith.


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VIO, Tommaso de.


Questiones rare.

Cologne, [Quentell], 1515.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. 4 unnumbered ll., A4. Large Gothic letter. Decorated initial. A few small scattered wormholes touching a couple of letters. A very good copy in modern pasteboards.

A remarkably well-preserved copy of this scarce and unusual theological florilegium. Tommaso de Vio (or Cardinal Caetano or Cajetanus, 1469-1534) was a Dominican theologian. He held important offices as archbishop and diplomat of the Papal states at the Diet of Augusta in 1518, where he argued against Martin Luther and the tenets of the Reformation. In 1534, he officially delivered the Pope’s refusal to acknowledge the divorce between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. A follower of Thomas Aquinas, Vio wrote biblical exegesis and philosophical commentaries on Aristotle and Porphyrius. ‘Questiones’ is a collection of six brief essays, all dated 1513-15, examining specific ‘cases of conscience’ concerning the application of canon law to situations of daily life, with special attention to religious vocations and adultery. Four are personal replies to ‘questiones’ raised by the Dominican theologians Cherubino of Florence, Conradus Roellin, Matthias from Salamanca and Vincenzo of San Gimignano. The Quentell press from Cologne, mentioned in the colophon was responsible for the publication of parts of Tyndale’s Bible in the 1520s.

Only Columbia copy recorded in the US.

ZV19182. Not in BM STC Ger., Brunet or Graesse.


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Dala’il al-Khayrat, illuminated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Ottoman Turkey, first half of nineteenth century


Sm. 8vo, 175 by 120mm., 97 leaves plus two later flyleaves at each end, complete, text-block in single column throughout, 11 lines scribal black naskh per page, illuminated head-piece opening the text with gilt and polychrome decorations, opening two leaves with gilt borders and interlinear colouring of pounced gilt decorations, polychrome headings opening sections of the text throughout, two full-page coloured illustrations of Mecca and Medina, verses marked throughout by gilt roundels, leaves ruled in gilt, red and blue, some very small smudges, one blank upper outer corner repaired, erroneous inscription dating the manuscript to 1050 AH at the end of the text, twentieth-century bookplate of “Pamela and Raymond Lister” to upper pastedown. In fine red morocco boards with flap, covers decorated with three-piece central medallion of inlaid green leather, embossed with spiralling gilt decorations, covers ruled and tooled in gilt, spine and crease of flap repaired, lightly rubbed in places, housed in custom red cloth drop-box.

A popular collection of Sunni prayers and blessings dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad for the purposes of daily recitation. The text was compiled by the Moroccan Sufi leader al-Jazuli in the fifteenth century and is commonly considered the earliest collection of liturgies in Islamic history dedicated entirely to the Prophet. Manuscript copies of the text often feature the double-page illustrations of Mecca and Medina which sometimes depict the tombs of Prophet Muhammad and the Caliphs. The inclusion of illustrations is unusual for Islamic manuscripts as the Muslim tradition generally condemns iconography, and the illustrations in this text are a break from that common principle. The 99 names of Allah and 100 names of the Prophet are also common additions, the latter present in this copy. Since al-Jazuli’s death in 1465, this prayerbook has become one of the most popular collection of daily prayers among Sunni muslim communities worldwide, and particularly throughout North Africa, the Levant, Turkey, and some areas of South Asia. 

This copy of the Dala’il al-Khayrat is a fine example of Ottoman manuscript production, skillfully illuminated and copied by the copyist named in the colophon. Hafiz Ahmed Aziz bin al-Zahidi was likely a court calligrapher, specialising in Qur’anic texts, whose neat and scribal naskh calligraphy are exemplified to a high standard in this manuscript. This particular copy was likely commissioned by a noble patron and produced in a skilled Ottoman workshop, for private use by the consignor. 

Manuscript from the collection of the late Pamela and Raymond Lister. Dr Raymond Lister founded the Golden Head Press and was notably the governor of the Federation of the British Artists during his lifetime.


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copied by scribe Ali bin Shahab al-Din, decorated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Safavid Persia, dated Jumada II 973 AH (December 1565 – January 1566 AD)


185 by 120mm., 216 leaves, complete, text in single column throughout, 14 lines of black naskh, headings and key word in red, catch-words throughout, marginal annotations throughout copied in both contemporary and later hands, early twentieth-century Persian export stamps to preliminary and penultimate leaves, large paper label to upper pastedown, in contemporary blind-stamped morocco, perhaps missing a flap, spine and outer extremities repaired in later morocco, paper label to spine, wear to covers.

One of the founding pillars of Islamic Fiqh – Islamic jurispudence based on divine law – is the ritual of purity and cleanliness. The faith determines that if impurities exist on the human body, the negative impacts of this on their health and mental state will pollute the soul. Therefore one of the methods of purification for the soul lies in the hygiene and cleanliness of the human body. This work outlines the methods by which muslims can practice ritual purity in their daily lives as outlines by the Shi’a understanding of Islamic jurisprudence. This Kitab al-Taharah (literally meaning the book of purification) is divided into multiple sections covering a wide range of topics including: ablution, tayammum (the Islamic ritual of dry purification using purified sand or dust), death washing rituals, and performing wudu (cleaning parts of the body in preparation for prayer).

The wide margins and informal annotations throughout this volume indicate that it was probably copied for practice in an Islamic school, likely connected to a mosque, during the reign of Shah Tahmasp I of the Safavid dynasty. The hand is not consistent with the formal scribal practices at the time, but has clearly been copied by a trained hand suggesting that the scribe here, Ali bin Shahab al-Din, was likely either a scholar himself or an educated student copying the text for personal use.

This volume was formerly part of the both the Hagop Kevorkian and Mohamed Makiya private libraries, these important twentieth-century collections of Islamic books and manuscripts.


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Illuminated manuscript in Arabic on paper

Mamluk territories, probably Egypt, mid-fourteenth century


4to, 237 x 170mm., 53 leaves, the complete Juz’ Qala ‘alam (XVI), containing text from surah al-Kahf (18) verse 57 to surah Ta Ha (20) verse 135. Text in single column throughout, 7 lines fine scribal muhaqqaq script in black, some vocalisation in red, opening two pages with text-blocks framed within gold borders, each containing rectangular panels at the top with headings in white muhaqqaq against blue, green and orange arabesque designs, three circular medallions extending into the margins on each side, recto of first leaf with large circular device, heightened in gold with decorative rays extending outwards, two illuminated surah headings in the text, each with heading in white thuluth text against gold polychrome banners with circular device extending into the outer margins, verses marked throughout with gold roundels, each of these decorated with red and blue. Very scattered faint spotting, some blank outer corners repaired and a few small worm-holes to lower margins (not affecting text), overall very clean and attractive example, in eighteenth-century dark brown morocco, with three-medallion design to covers displaying floral pattern (a little rubbed), remains of hand-painted gilt decorations to medallions, borders ruled in gilt, covers a little scuffed, rebacked, corners repaired.

The Qur’an is divisible into 30 equal sections, sometimes copied into independent volumes, to facilitate readers to complete the entire text in one calendar month. Each of these sections is called a Juz’, a popular division of the Qur’an in North African territories, and considered a complete section of the Qur’an in itself. The text here was likely part of a wider set, in which all the 30 Juz’ were copied in the same hand and illuminated in a consistent style with one another. 

This manuscript contains Juz’ XVI of the Qur’an, known as Qala ‘alam, which is formed of three separate chapters: surah al-Kahf (from verse 57), the entirety of surah al-Maryam and surah Ta Ha (up to verse 135). These three chapters of the Qur’an include passages relating to Mryam and Isa (the Virgin Mary and Jesus in the Christian faith), God’s call to Moses, the Exodus of the Isralites and the crossing of the Red Sea. 

This is an early example of a Mamluk Qur’anic Juz’ dating back to the first period of the Mamluk Sultanate, known as the Bahri era (1250 – 1382), and is a notably fine example of its kind. The lavish illumination and quality of calligraphy exemplified in this manuscript indicate that it was copied for a member of the Mamluk courts, whose patronage of Islamic manuscripts was well established by this period. The border designs of the opening two leaves together with the style of script are distinctive in their styles and highly comparable to manuscripts produced in Egypt during the final decades of the fourteenth century. The script is spaciously laid out using only 7 lines to the page, which further indicates courtly or royal patronage, and the fine scribal muhaqqaq script is consistent and symmetrical throughout. 


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Dominican Use, illuminated manuscript on vellum

[southern Germany, 1476]


Sm 4to, 160 by 120mm, 197 leaves (plus 3 paper at each end), complete. Collation: i-xvii10, xviii9 (viii a cancelled blank), xix10, xx8, single column of 18 lines in a professional late gothic German bookhand, extensive music in square notation on 4-line red staves, a few capitals touched in red. Simple red or dark blue initials throughout, larger initials often with human faces skilfully picked out in penwork, one very large ornately decorated initial in blue heightened with white penwork on burnished gold grounds opening the first Psalm, borders of delicately scrolling coloured foliage terminating in pointed flowerheads. The remaining Psalms with similar sized initials in red or blue with contrasting geometric penwork, some with drollery animals (often with dog-like faces) left in blank parchment within their bodies, or in blue or pink on burnished gold with pink tessellated squares or coloured foliage within their bodies and acanthus leaf sprays in margin. Occasionally annotated by a sixteenth-century hand giving German names for festivals and holidays, markers at numerous leaf edges in form of simple folded tags to allow easy finding of certain readings, occasional flaking, in robust and good condition, on good and heavy vellum. In sixteenth-century German binding of ornately tooled calf over wooden boards, probably by Thomas Drechsler of Frankfurt, scuffed and bumps in places, a few small holes to boards and losses to spine, wanting one brass clasp, in folding box.


  1. 1.Most probably written for use by a Dominican from southern Germany, with SS. Dominic and Catherine of Siena repeated in the Litany, and Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Cunigunde pointing towards Bamberg, Sebald towards Nuremburg and Elizabeth of Hungary or of Thuringia towards Marburg. The volume is dated boldly in red medieval Arabic numerals “1476” at foot of text on last leaf.
  2. 2. As with many portable-sized Dominican books the volume seems to have travelled with an itinerant preacher, and by the mid-sixteenth century was in Frankfurt, where it was rebound with toolmarks of repeating rolls of saints above cartouches holding the text “Tu es Petrus et” (Matthew 16:18), “Apparuit benignitas” (Titus, 3:4), “Ecce Agnus Dei” (John 1:29) and “Data est mihi o[mnis]” (Matthew 28:18) identical to those on an Avicenna owned by Adam Lonicer bound by the Frankfurt master-binder Thomas Drechsler in or after 1560 (now Sibbald Library, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh; see also article on this binding in Journal of the Royal College of Physicians, 41, 2011, pp. 278-80) and a Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum published in Frankfurt by the heirs of Christian Egenhoff in 1582 (Princeton, RA775 .xR4 1582). It was likely in the possession of a Dominican of that city, and part of the library of the Dominikanerkloster there. That house was founded in 1233, and by the fourteenth century was the largest ecclesiastical presence in the city, serving as the site for royal coronations in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It was significantly expanded in the fifteenth century with the construction of an enclosed cloister. It was suppressed in 1803, and its goods and library dispersed by the city authorities over the next decade or so. The remaining medieval structures were destroyed by bombing in 1944.
  3. 3.The present volume seems to have remained in ecclesiastical use until at least the eighteenth century (when a small slip with a liturgical reading in a hand of that date was inserted, and with contemporary ex libris marks of “101” and “H” added to its front endleaves). It was in English-speaking private hands by the early twentienth century (it includes a typed description in English on a slipped in card of that date).

Text and decoration:

The volume comprises: Prayers, including the Our Father, Hail Mary and Credo, and doxologies and invitatories (fols. 1r-4r); a Psalter (fols. 4r-167v), with noted responses, verses and antiphons, ff. 4-167v; the Ferial canticles (including Benedicite, Te Deum and Benedictus) and a Litany (fols. 167v-186r); a set of 9 oration prayers (fols. 186r-187r); and hymns and antiphons (fols. 184v-197r).

The wealth and variety of decoration here, as well as the charming motif of leaving grotesque drolleries suspended in blank vellum within the bodies of the initials are Germanic monastic features of the fourteenth and fifteenth century, seen also in a dispersed Austrian antiphoner once in the collection of Jakob Heinrich von Hefner-Alteneck (1811-1903; see Semenzato auction, 25 April 2003, lot 197, and more recently Bloomsbury Auctions, 2 July 2019, lot 57) and another Dominican Psalter probably from Nuremberg (sold in Bloomsbury Auctions, 8 July 2015, lot 87, £28,000 hammer).

A handsome and particularly charmingly decorated monastic choir book of the later Middle Ages.


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Musical bifolium from an early noted Missal, decorated manuscript on vellum

[Italy, or perhaps southern France, early 13th-century]


Folio, each leaf 380 by 268 mm, recovered from reuse in a later binding, with most of single column of 9 remaining lines of text in a good angular liturgical hand, with pronounced fishtailing to ascenders and descenders, many extending these with hairline penstrokes for ornate visual effect, with accompanying music in neumes arranged around a red clef line, red rubrics, capitals in ornate penstrokes and touched in red, one large blue initial enclosed within red penwork, reused folded around boards of later binding, with staining and scuffs on outside, one large tear to edge of one leaf, overall fair and legible.

Containing readings for Palm Sunday, a prayer for the preservation of the Pope and a hymn, all to be chanted, with full musical notation for doing so.


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Book of Hours, Use of Autun, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum

France (probably Besançon), c. 1430


8vo, 165 by 105mm,152 leaves (plus original singleton at front, and original endleaf formed from final leaf of last gathering), wanting a leaf from end of Compline, the Office of the Dead, and the opening leaf of the Hours of the Cross. Catchwords, collation: i-iii6, iv-x8, xi7 (wants last), xii-xviii8, xix3 (wants at least one), xx8, xxi2, single column of 13 lines per page in late gothic bookhand, rubrics in red, line fillers in red and blue designs, capitals touched in pale yellow wash, small initials in red or dark blue (some with contrasting penwork), larger initials in same colours with elaborate scrolling penwork, initials opening major text breaks in blue or faded pink with white penwork, on burnished gold grounds and enclosing coloured twists of foliage. SEVEN THREE-QUARTER PAGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES edged with thin gold frames, with full borders of single-line foliage with gold and coloured foliage and flowerbuds enclosing sprays of coloured acanthus leaves, some spaces left for miniatures in suffrages, a few near-contemporary additions in Latin and French. Small spots and marks, a little flaking from a few miniatures or decorated borders, on fine vellum with wide and clean margins. In contemporary panel-stamped dark brown leather with flower-heads and fleur-de-lys set within frames of chevrons and foliage, some small scuffs, bumps and a few wormholes, loss at head of spine, eighteenth-century paper label “heures” on spine, leaves from later fifteenth-century Book of Hours reused as pastedowns, overall solid and in good condition.


  1. Most probably written and illuminated in Besançon for a male patron: the liturgical usage is either Autun or Besançon, while the Calendar is firmly the latter, with the local saint, Pierre de Bellevaux (also known as St. Peter of Tarentaise, 8 May), founder of the Cistercian abbey of Bellevaux where his relics were kept throughout the Middle Ages, as well as saint-bishops of Besançon: Claudius (early sixth century; 5 June) and Antidus the martyr (d. c. 407; 17 June). That said, St. Symphorianus, patron of Autun, appears in the Litany and so there may be some liturgical crossover between these two regions in the commission of this volume for an individual patron. The prayer, Obsecro te, appears on fol. 94 in the male form.
  2. C16 ms inscription on fly “Orants. Oudot La Verne”. La Verne is a village about 30 km from Besançon. “Oudot” was a popular medieval Christian name in the region and later also a surname. Oudot La Verne, a merchant tanner, married in 1582 and a little later Alexandre Oudot was curé of Verne.
  3. Almost certainly lost or disposed of following the suppression of religious life during the Revolution.
  4. Re-emerged recently in France


Principally Latin with some French. The volume comprises: a Calendar (fol. 1r); Readings from the Gospels (fol. 14r); the Hours of the Virgin, with Matins (fol. 20r), Lauds (fol. 34r), Prime (fol. 48r), Terce (fol. 55r), Sext (fol. 60r), Nones (fol. 64r), Vespers (fol. 68r), and Compline (fol. 76r); Hours of the Cross (fol. 83r); Hours of the Holy Spirit (fol. 87v); the Obsecro te and O intemerata (fol. 91v), followed by the Sept joies de la Vierge, Dulcissime domine and the Sept joies again in Latin; Penitential Psalms (fol. 103v) followed by a Litany; the Office of the Dead (fol. 127v); and Suffrages to the Saints (fol. 144r).


The miniatures here with their distinctively stout bodied figures and split eyes identify this as the work of a Besançon artist working in the second quarter of the fifteenth century (cf. F. Avril and Reynaux, Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520, 1993, no. 109). Our artist has been attributed to the painter of another Book of Hours, Use of Autun, now BnF., NAL. 3118, a follower of the artist of BnF., lat. 1186 (Book of Hours, Use of Langres) and New York, Morgan Library, M. 293 (Book of Hours, Use of Besançon).

The miniatures are: (i) fol. 20r, the Annunciation to the Virgin within a richly decorated interior with a burnished gold background; (ii) fol. 87v, Pentecost, with a gold and coloured tessellated background; (iii) fol. 103v, Judgement Day with Christ seated on a rainbow resting his feet on an orb, all before a dark blue night sky; (iv) fol. 127v, a funeral with hooded and tonsured monks standing before a covered coffin, all before a gold and coloured tessellated background; (v) fol. 144r, Archangel Michael striking a demon, before a gold and coloured tessellated background; (vi) fol. 146r, St. Anne and the Virgin Mary at the Golden Gate; (vii), fol. 151v, St. Nicholas.

An attractive and unusually early bourgeois Book of Hours, remarkably preserving its original decorative binding.


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MANDERSTON, William. [with] ALMAIN, Jacques.


MANDERSTON, William. Bipartitum in morali philosophia opusculum.

Paris, [Guillaume Le Bret], 1526. [with]

ALMAIN, Jacques. Moralia […] & libellus De auctoritate Ecclesie.

Paris, [Jehan Petit], 1526.


8vo. 2 works in 1, ff. (iv) clxxxiii; (iv) clix, lacking final blank. Roman letter; Gothic letter. Large woodcut printer’s devices to t-ps, first with 2 folding plates showing philosophical diagrams as genealogical trees, decorated initials. Outer edge of first and last gatherings a bit frayed, I: t-p a little dusty, faint water stain to lower outer blank corner of Y-Z 8 , couple of tiny tears along plate folds, II: lower outer blank corner of Ii 2 torn, a few lower or outer edges untrimmed. Good, clean copies in contemporary French calf, spine repaired at head and foot, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll of tendrils, centre panel with grille de St Laurent rolls of tendrils surrounded by border with rosettes in blind, raised bands, couple of scratches to boards, small repair to corners. I: C16 inscriptions ‘Su[m] (?)llet hunc librum’ (partly erased) and ‘Joannes Chytrius Bonauallensis’ to t-p, occasional contemporary annotations, four to second plate, II: contemporary inscription, smudged, to t-p, slightly later inscriptions and ‘Joannes Chytrius Bonauallensis’ (contemporary) to verso of last.

Good copies of these scarce Parisian editions of important works of moral philosophy, produced in small format for the use of university students. This copy belonged to Joannes Chytrius (Kochhafe?), monk at the abbey of Bonneval, near Chartres. Both authors were educated in the Parisian circle of the Scottish nominalist philosopher John Mair (1467-1550). A major figure in Scottish philosophy, William Manderston (c.1485-1552) was a student at Glasgow and Paris. This edition of ‘Bipartitum’, originally published in 1518, was printed the year after he was appointed rector at Paris. A compendium on moral philosophy based on classical and medieval authorities, it focuses on the role of virtue in general and the cardinal virtues in particular. The folding diagrams summarise the structure of the work, heavily influenced by Aristotelianism tempered by Christian doctrines. The first represents the tree of disciplines rooted in positive moral philosophy on one side (‘leges’ and ‘iura’) and non-positive philosophy on the other (‘ethica’, ‘economica’, ‘politica’, ‘poetica’ and ‘rhetorica’). The second shows the ramifications of the Aristotelian soul into its vegetative, sensitive and rational qualities, the third kind including virtues. The work discusses a variety of topics including the passions of the soul, innocence and the state of fallen nature, natural appetites, causality, the moral basis of human actions, and whether God can be wrong. The second work, ‘Moralia’, became a standard textbook of moral theology. Jacques Almain (d.1515) was a prominent theologian and rector at Paris 1507-8. Imbued with Aristotelianism, ‘Moralia’ was first published by Estienne in 1510, and revised posthumously by John Mair in 1516, after the premature death of his star student. It focuses on the acquisition of human virtues, assigning theological virtues solely to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, touching on issues like human will, whether ignorance is sin, faith, moral actions and corruption. Despite its popularity, it was criticised by Juan Luis Vives who said that ‘reading a single page of Seneca or Plutarch would instil a stronger desire to be virtuous than would digesting the whole of Almain’s “Moralia”’ (‘Encyclopaedia’, 580).

I: No copies recorded in the US or UK. Not BM STC Fr. or Pettigree & Walsby, French Books.
II: Only Bowdoin and Chicago copies recorded in the US.
BM STC Fr., p.11; Pettigree & Walsby, French Books, 52721. A. Broadie, History of Scottish Philosophy (Edinburgh, 2009); Encyclopaedia of Medieval Philosophy, ed. H. Lagerlund (London, 2011).


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