Collectanea Adagiorum

ERASMUS  (1515.)


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[Bound with:]  CATO (Marcus Porcius)

Contenta in hoc opere sunt haec. Catonis praecepta moralia recognita atque interpretata ab Erasmo Roterdamo. Mimi Publiani. Septem sapientum illustres sententie. Institutio hominis Christiani versibus hexametris. Per Erasmum Roterodamum. Isocratis Parenesis ad Demoniacum [sic] Rudolpho Agricola interprete, recognita per Martinum Dorpium. Epicteti Stoici Enchiridion [in the Latin translation of Poliziano] Plutarchi libellus de odio & inuidia [in an anonymous Latin version]. [with Horace Ode iii.3 ‘Iustum et tenacem propositi virum’, and Ausonius Ecl. II [=Green 19] ‘Ex Graeco Pythagoricum de ambiguitate eligendae vitae’]. 

Four-piece woodcut borders to titles of both works, printer's device on final leaf of first work. 

2 works in one volume. 4to (202 x 141mm). [4], LVII, [7]ff; [60]ff. Contemporary blind-stamped half leather spine with old wooden boards (recased). 

(Strasbourg, Matthias Schürer, April 1515 & March 1516).  

A charming copy of two scarce Erasmian school books, annotated with notes and drawings by a young contemporary reader from the noble Tannberger family.


Both works were published in close succession by Erasmus' favoured Strasbourg publisher Matthias Schürer. The first is his hugely influential and long lasting work, the Adagia. The textual history is complicated as the collection of proverbs was constantly being expanded from the moment Erasmus had first put down his pen for the original edition, and eventually instead of ‘Adagiorum collectanea’ they became ‘Adagiorum chiliades’, but editions of both continued to be printed for decades to come.


The second work is an interesting grouping of moral school texts, some of them in verse (plus the ‘Ad Demonicum’) here printed to allow interlinear glossing. Assembled as a group the volume was first published by Thierry Martens in Louvain in 1514 and in October 1515 Schürer published a revised edition (of which Erasmus presented a copy to Oecolampadius) which is here reprinted (see Allen’s introductory note to Ep. 298). The preface, dated 1 August 1514, is addressed to John de Neve at Louvain and Erasmus while acknowledging that the ‘dicta’ are probably not by Cato, remarks that they are worthy of him. Elsewhere similarly he rebuts those who accuse him of wasting his time over trifles, and of his poetic ‘Institutio’ tells us that he has recast it in a clear rather than an elaborate set of verses from a prose work in English by John Colet (of which the earliest edition in English is STC5547 of 1534). 


A very early owner, likely the young schoolboy Burchard von Tannberger (see below) has left many notes in the margins of the Adagia as far as f. xxvii, and in the second work, in brown and red ink. A personal motto "Fors Fiat" (‘fuat’; Let there be luck) has been filled in the blank cartouches on the titles of both works, as well as drawn into a banderole on the pastedown. As befits a juvenile reader, other doodles include numerous armorial designs, animals, birds, a serpent, faces, a spear, sword, goblets, chalice, lyre, a boot, hat, shears, an organ, a beetle, a fish, a backgammon or similar game board, dice, scales, and manicules which adorn the page edges, alongside notes. 


Provenance: [Burchard von Tannberger?] (inscription dated 23 May 1517 with Tannberger arms (a pine tree) drawn in various margins throughout and on verso of final leaf, there found with proverb ‘Non nasci aut natum cito morte potiri optimum.’ This well-known trope is possibly a reference to the death in early 1517 of his father Heinrich Freiherr von Tannberger. We don’t know the year of his birth, but Burchard died in about 1560. Interestingly, another sammelband of school texts once belonging to Burchard, also annotated, is now in the John Rylands Library (previously EP Goldschmidt cat. 138, no. 2), including a work by Georg Hauer Puerilia Grammatices, Augsburg, 1514 (JRL R129609.1) which is dedicated to Wolfgang Tannberger (1471-1531), canon of Freising and Passau, and from 1499 councilor of Duke George the Rich of Bavaria-Landshut. He must surely have been an uncle or other relation of Burchard.  

There is a later very faded name on the first title-page, "Ex libris Jacob ??" . 

VD16 E 1916. Bezzel, 54. II: VD16 C 1595. Bezzel, 312.

Stock Code: 247438

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