Chronicon

EUSEBIUS

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Item#: 123910 price:$23,000.00

Chronicon
Chronicon
Chronicon
Chronicon

ONLY THE THIRD MENTION OF GUTENBERG AS THE INVENTOR OF PRINTING: 1483 SECOND EDITION OF EUSEBIUS' CHRONICON, "THE ANCIENT WORLD'S FIRST SYSTEMATIC UNIVERSAL HISTORY," AN EXCELLENT COPY WITH FINE EARLY RUBRICATION AND COLORING THROUGHOUT

EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA. Chronicon, id est temporum breviarium. (Venice: Erhart Ratdolt, 1483). Small folio, rebound in full old calf with contemporary blind-tooled calf front cover and later spine and spine label neatly laid down, evidence of clasps; ll. [181] of 182, without final blank only. $23,000.

Expanded second edition of "the ancient world's first systematic history," first published circa 1475-76, here enlarged to cover the years 1449-81, which includes a mention of Gutenberg as the inventor of printing for only the third time in print. A desirable copy of this scarce and finely printed incunable, with excellent early rubrication in blue and red throughout, two large and 14 smaller woodcut initials of varying sizes, all finely hand-colored, and a lovely freehand "Laus Deo" in red and blue ink on the colophon.

This tabular chronicle of ancient history by the historian and theologian Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339) and is regarded as "the ancient world's first systematic universal history" (Bedrosian). Translated into Latin by Saint Jerome, the Chronicon sought to show the intersection of Roman, Jewish, and ecclesiastical histories, making its tables "the primary available source of information on dates and events from the time of its composition until the end of the middle ages. Jerome's work, though itself a translation into Latin of the Chronicle of Eusebius of Caesaria, was brought up to date. It was through Jerome that the work came to be so influential" (Pearse). This printed edition of the Chronicon is based on Jerome's Latin translation and contains the continuations of Prosper Aquitanus (until 448), Mattheus Palmerius Florentinus (until 1448) and finally those of Matthias Palmerius Pisanus with the news up to 1481.

It is in the latter expansion—not included in the Milan first edition of circa 1475—where the mention of the invention of printing by Johann Gutenberg can be found, in the entry for the year 1457 on u3v (folio 155v). This is only the third published reference to Gutenberg as the inventor of printing, after those in the 1474 Chronica of Riccobaldus Ferrariensis and the 1483 Supplementum chronicarum of Jacobus Philippus de Bergamo. Additionally, in 1478 epidemics and swarms of locusts are reported from Italy, while the following years, which are treated in great detail, contain news of the advance of the Turks into Europe. Eusebius' Chronicon is one of the first books to be set almost entirely in tabular form. "The tabular form in which the greater part of the book is printed, and the careful registration of the red and black, are themselves excellent examples of Ratdolt's own craftsmanship" (Pollard). Each sheet would have to be passed through the press twice, once for the black and a second time for the red ink, a painstaking process requiring very careful alignment of each sheet. (There are remarkably few instances of slippage: however, a misalignment can be seen in this copy on i8r, or folio 72 recto.). With 181 of 182 leaves including the first two blank leaves (pi12 and a1), without only the final blank, x10. The first twelve leaves containing the Tabula bound at the front of this copy. Roman and gothic lettering. Printed in 34 and 41 lines, double columns, in red and black, with red and blue rubrication throughout, with a fine freehand "Laus Deo" executed on the colophon in blue and red ink, all done at a contemporary or early date. Two large and 14 smaller woodcut floriated initials, all finely hand-colored in green, blue, red and yellow, also at a contemporary or early date. Hain-Copinger 6717. GW 9433. Goff E-117. Proctor 4390.

Only occasional marginal smudging, text generally clean and fine. A nicely refurbished copy of this very scarce rubricated incunable.

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