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OPERA
Rome: Sweynheym and Pannartz, [Jan. or Feb.], 1471. EDITIO PRINCEPS y. This is the first edition of the writings of Saint Cyprian, which fortuitously came to press because the prototypographers of Rome needed to fill a gap in their printing schedule and to avoid having their workshop sit unprofitably idle. According to Hall, the printers were at work on their Latin Bible when they ran out of the royal folio paper required. Desperate to keep the presses productive, they turned to their friend and editor Bussi, urgently requesting "a text suitable to a smaller format." Bussi searched through his impressive personal library and found a manuscript of Cyprianus he had copied from an ancient codex during his student days at the University of Paris. The editor said he "ran rather than walked through the book," rapidly readying it for publication. Aside from Gutenberg and his immediate associates, there are no figures more important in the early history of printing than Sweynheym and Pannartz, the earliest printers outside Germany. First at Subiaco and later in Rome, they produced an imposing catalogue of first editions of ancient authors, which for the first time systematically exploited the potential of the new printing technology as a means for disseminating humanistic texts to a large audience. From a wealthy and educated pagan background, Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus (ca. 200-58) was a lawyer, orator, and teacher who converted to Christianity as an adult and gave away his fortune to the poor. He was eventually made bishop of Carthage, the place of his birth, from which position he exerted a very considerable influence far beyond his own region. He spent much time and effort mediating between the church and pagan authorities and among rival factions within the church itself; he eventually became a victim of the strife, losing his head during a period of government persecution. His writings refer to issues he had to deal with as a churchman as well as to principles of Christian conduct and points of doctrine. The most valuable of Cyprian's works today are the 81 letters that remain from his official correspondence, material that gives a view of the state of the Christian community and of the character of Cyprian himself, both of enormous value to historical research. The present item was once held by the Bibliotheca Corsinia Nova, founded by Cardinal Corsini (later Pope Clement XII), which is still in existence as Biblioteca dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana; librarians there have confirmed that this copy was a duplicate that was legitimately removed from the library, probably in the 18th century. Like all Sweynheym and Pannartz imprints, the Cyprianus is rare, with just three other copies recorded at auction since 1975. Even though our printers produced more than 50 different editions, their press runs were normally only 275 copies. Consequently, their books are now hard to find and generally command extravagant prices.. 310 x 215 mm. (12 1/4 x 8 1/2"). [183] leaves (of 186, lacking the three blanks). Single column, 38 lines, roman type. Edited by Giovanni Andrea Bussi, bishop of Aleria. EDITIO PRINCEPS. Later antique-style tan blind-stamped pigskin, covers with blind-ruled frames accented with small tools, upper cover with central panel containing rows of rosettes with arms of Cardinal Corsini at center, lower cover with large central panel decorated with a saltire of decorative rolls, raised bands, panels with rows of small tools. Lower margin of first page with small oval ecclesiastical stamp in red ink, and stamp of the Bibliotheca Corsinia Nova in black ink. Goff C-1010; BMC IV, 12; Hall "Sweynheym & Pannartz and the Origins of Printing in Italy," p. 65. Some rubbing along bottom edges and corners, a hint of soil to the pigskin, but generally the binding in extremely agreeable condition, the joints with no significant wear and the blind-stamping very sharp. A few leaves with faint discoloration in the margins (because of washing?), first and last leaf with slight overall browning (from acidic endleaf, now removed), but the text consistently fresh and clean, with ample margins. An excellent copy. This is the first edition of the writings of Saint Cyprian, which fortuitously came to press because the prototypographers of Rome needed to fill a gap in their printing schedule and to avoid having their workshop sit unprofitably idle. According to Hall, the printers were at work on their Latin Bible when they ran out of the royal folio paper required. Desperate to keep the presses productive, they turned to their friend and editor Bussi, urgently requesting "a text suitable to a smaller format." Bussi searched through his impressive personal library and found a manuscript of Cyprianus he had copied from an ancient codex during his student days at the University of Paris. The editor said he "ran rather than walked through the book," rapidly readying it for publication. Aside from Gutenberg and his immediate associates, there are no figures more important in the early history of printing than Sweynheym and Pannartz, the earliest printers outside Germany. First at Subiaco and later in Rome, they produced an imposing catalogue of first editions of ancient authors, which for the first time systematically exploited the potential of the new printing technology as a means for disseminating humanistic texts to a large audience. From a wealthy and educated pagan background, Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus (ca. 200-58) was a lawyer, orator, and teacher who converted to Christianity as an adult and gave away his fortune to the poor. He was eventually made bishop of Carthage, the place of his birth, from which position he exerted a very considerable influence far beyond his own region. He spent much time and effort mediating between the church and pagan authorities and among rival factions within the church itself; he eventually became a victim of the strife, losing his head during a period of government persecution. His writings refer to issues he had to deal with as a churchman as well as to principles of Christian conduct and points of doctrine. The most valuable of Cyprian's works today are the 81 letters that remain from his official correspondence, material that gives a view of the state of the Christian community and of the character of Cyprian himself, both of enormous value to historical research. The present item was once held by the Bibliotheca Corsinia Nova, founded by Cardinal Corsini (later Pope Clement XII), which is still in existence as Biblioteca dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana; librarians there have confirmed that this copy was a duplicate that was legitimately removed from the library, probably in the 18th century. Like all Sweynheym and Pannartz imprints, the Cyprianus is rare, with just three other copies recorded at auction since 1975. Even though our printers produced more than 50 different editions, their press runs were normally only 275 copies. Consequently, their books are now hard to find and generally command extravagant prices.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2016-05-23           Check availability:      Biblio    

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