1. EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA De evangelica praeparatione. Venice, [Bartholomaeus de Zanis], 10 November 1500. Translated from the Greek by Georgius Trapezuntius. Folio (31,3 x 20,7 cm). Modern vellum, flyleaves renewed, last blank missing. Bookplate of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica. 65 leaves. With large and small woodcut initials, of which the first has been colored. With owner’s mark on the title page, many contemporary marginalia, pointing fingers and underlining in various hands and colors, and on the colophon some page owner’s marks and the handwritten date 1515. Some creasing.
* A charming incunable, one of the last that was published. Funny small woodcut initials decorated with rabbits, winged mice, flowers and birds, but also renaissance men and monsters. Sometimes an inverted A has been used as a V! Goff E 123.
2. FERRARIENSIS, Johannes De Coelesti vita. Venice, Matteo Capcasa (di Codeca), per Hieronymus Blondus, 19 December, 1494. 30,6 x 22,1 cm. Bound in morocco-backed boards around 1800-1850, with title label, a bit worn at the sides. Bookplate of Thomas South and of the BPhH. 72 leaves. Title printed in RED, with printer’s mark and decorated woodcut initials. Handwritten notes on title page and flyleaves.
* Broad-margined theological work. With a large metalcut initial ‘N’ and 3 large woodcut initials (C, M and B) plus numerous smaller woodcut or metalcut initials. Title page printed in red with a list of the essays contained in this book and a phoenix. Goff J313.
3. MARCHESINUS, Johannes Mamotrectus super bibliam. Venice, Simon Bevilaqua, 12 July 1492. 8vo (16,2 x 12,2 cm.) Old vellum with written spine title. 273 leaves. Title page (with just the word ‘Mamotrectus’) in photocopy. At the end, part of a benediction leaflet was used to fasten the book block to its binding. Three more identical leaflets plus four strips of a woodcut decoration were used to fill up the binding. Some inscriptions at the beginning and the end (a.o. a drawing of a flower vase on one of the last pages).
* Although soiled and a bit damaged, this is an unpolished, authentic incunable. This is the 21st of the 23 incunable editions of this text, usually called ‘Mammotrectus super bibliam’, however, in this book consistently spelled with one M: Mamotrectus, without ‘super Bibliam’. The meaning of this curious title is ‘nourisher on the Bible’, strongly suggesting ‘the Bible’s Breast Milk’. It’s a handbook explaining words and notions of the Bible and other important texts, such as the letters of Saint Jerome to Paulinus and Desiderius, but also about clothes of priests, Latin accents and other practical subjects. The Mammotrectus would be useful if you were preparing a sermon or some other priestly act. In the colophon another version of the title is used: Mamotrectus tam bibliae quam aliorum plurimorum librorum, ‘Mamotrectus from the Bible as well as from many other books’. Goff M252; BSB M-167. Extensive description on request (and in our catalogue 64). = Inkunabel Venedig 1492.
4. PSEUDO-BONAVENTURA Meditationes vitae Christi, (or in full:) Meditationes devotissime totius vite domini nostri Jesu Christi. Venice, Manfredus de Bonellis, de Monteferrato, December 14, 1497. With at the end two poems: Bonaventura, Lignum vitae; and Johannes Peckham, Canticum de sanctissimo nomine Jesu Christi. 15,1 x 10,8 cm. Overlapping vellum. 66 leaves, the last blank (with mistakes in the page numbering). Title page with a woodcut of the Pietà on recto and another of the Crucifixion on verso. Text printed in two columns. One 5-line woodcut capital and numerous 2-line capitals. Reprint of a very popular book written by an unknown Franciscan. Large bookplate of Manfred Mehl, elegant bookplate (embossed, gilt, in colors) of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica. A little soiling and browning, vague light brown stain on title page, marginal inkstain at the end.
* Meditations about the life of Christ. Long attributed to St. Bonaventura. Second edition with illustrations. Goff B 899. 42 complete copies in libraries, but not in Belgium or the Netherlands (only BPH is mentioned, which is this copy).
5. SENECA, Lucius Annaeus Opera philosophica. Epistolae. Venice, Bernardinus de Choris, de Cremona and Simon the Luere, 1490. Folio (33 x 23 cm). 19th-century vellum-backed boards with 4 ribs and 2 title labels. 216 leaves. 62-63 lines plus header. Roman font. Space for capitals, with guide letters. Binding in good condition. Inscription on the side of the book block (‘Opera Seneci’, sic). 20th-century bookplate of Georg Bachem. Name (16th century, hard to read) on title page. Marginal notes in Latin (some of these partly cut off). A few worm holes at the end. Good copy with large margins.
Early collected edition of the philosophical works and letters, as usual with the writings of the older and the younger Seneca mixed up indiscriminately. Notes on first endpaper about a previous owner, the lawyer Conrad Cohn (1901-1942), who died in Oranienburg (or Mauthausen, according to Wikipedia), with commentary on Breslauer, Venator and other incunabl e sellers. Goff S-370. 135 complete copies in libraries, one in Belgium (Brussels KB) and one in the Netherlands (Leiden). Attractive book in decorative binding, excellent condition.
6. SILIUS ITALICUS Punica. Cum commentariis Petri Marsi. Venice, Bonetus Locatellus for Octavianus Scotus, May 18, 1492. 31,5 x 20,5 cm. Flexible vellum, probably from the 17th century. 156 leaves. Watermark cross, snake and oxhead. With introductory letter by Marsus to Virginio Orsini and a Life of Silius Italicus. Text with commentary on each page. With several nice larger woodcut initials and a large woodcut printer’s mark ‘OSM’ at the end. Second Venetian edition. All edges gilt. With double (old) spine inscription. A bit soiled and worn, title in ballpoint on upper cover. Some text pages browned. Two old inscriptions in brown ink on the first two unprinted leaves, one crossed out, the other reads: ‘Vi sono monete di Smirne, che ricordano questo poeto consolare’.
* Punica, the largest epic poem that survived from Roman antiquity, was written in dactylic hexameters by poet and politician Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus (about 28-103 AD). In seventeen Books containing more than twelve thousand verse the Second Punic War is painted, from the moment Hannibal Barcas laid siege to Saguntum in 219 BC to the victory of Scipio the Younger at Zama (near Carthage, 202 BC).
The epos contains many classical heroic accounts of large battles in Spain, Italy and Carthago, but also praise for Silius’ contemporary employers, the emperors Vespasian and Domitian. Silius admired Cicero and Vergil so much that he acquired Cicero’s property at Tusculum and set Vergil’s birthday above his own. The inscription on the inside upper cover points to a coin occasioned by Silius when he was proconsul in Asia (minted in 77-79) honoring Titus and Domitian as caesars. Petrus Marsus (Pietro Marso, 1442-1512) was a student and close friend of Pomponius Laetus, who also wrote a commentary on Silius Italicus. A masterwork of austere Venetian book art, printed in firm text blocks from an attractive antiqua, awash in a sea of commentary in a harmonic smaller type. Simple title page stating only ‘Syllius Italicus. Cum com-/ mentariis Petri Marsi’. Goff S-508. BSB S-386.