Alexandri Magni regis Macedonum vita. Strasbourg: Reinhard Beck, 1513.



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Title within fine one-piece chiaroscuro border in red and black by Hans Wechtlin (c. 1480/85-1526), ornamental initials from several sets (last leaf with marginal and neat internal tear). [106]ff. 

Strasbourg: Reinhard Beck, 1513.

VD16 G3848. Schmidt, Repertoire bibliographique Strasburgensis, Beck no. 11. OCLC (US: Chicago, LoC, Harvard, Yale only).

[Bound fifth with 7 other works listed below.] 

GRESEMUND (Dietrich). Carmen de Historia Violate Crucis, with commentary by Hieronymus Grebwiler. Strasbourg, Reinhard Beck, 1514. Large title woodcut of the Crucifixion, criblé initials [32]ff (final blank). VD16 ZV27678. OCLC: no copies located in US libraries. 

GERSON (Johannes). Sermo de passione Domini nuper e Gallico in Latinum traductus. Basel, Michael Furter, 1515. Large title woodcut of the Crucifixion, 11 small Passion cuts, initials and tailpiece. XXII, [2] (last blank)ff. Translated and with a preface by Jacob Otther (1485-1547). VD16 B4710. OCLC (US: Notre Dame only).

CONSTANTINUS I.  Constantinus Magnus Romanorum Imperator. Translated by Johannes Reuchlin. Tübingen, Thomas Anselm, August 1513. Greek and roman type, one symbol printed in text. [12]ff. VD16 C4938. OCLC (US: Emory, Harvard, Newberry, Yale).

JACOBUS DE GRUYTRODE. Lavacrum conscientiae. Metz, Kaspar Hochfeder, 1514. [1], LXVII, [2]ff. Adams J40. OCLC: no copies located in US libraries.

PLINIUS SECUNDUS (Gaius Caecilius). Epistolae. Edited by Philippus Beroaldus. Venice, Albertinus Vercellensis, 10 April 1501. Some Greek type, historiated woodcut initial. Outer sheet of quire k [4 leaves) are replaced with 8 leaves of contemporary manuscript, (light stains in last leaf). Adams P1534. EDIT 16, CNCE 24227. OCLC (US: Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Morgan, NYPL, Penn).

SYMMACHUS (Quintus Aurelius). Epistolae familiares. MAHOMET II [attributed to, Laudivius ZACCHIA]. In epistolas Turci magni. Historiated and Lombard initials. Strasbourg, Knobloch, 1511. [56]ff (last blank). Small ink stain on title. VD16 S10391 and Z18; Göllner, Turcica 47.  The letters of the Great Turk, Mehmed II (1432-81), sultan of the Turks, were written by Laudivio himself cf Cf. F.C.H. Babinger. Laudivus Zacchia, Erdichter der Epistolae magni Turci. 1960. 

OCLC (US: Michigan, Yale only).

BARTOLOMAEUS Coloniensis. Dialogus mythologicus. [N.p.: n.d but possibly Tübingen: Thomas Anselm, 1511]. [20]ff. It is virtually, but not exactly, identical to VD16 B541, which additionally has a final quire E4 with the index. Adams B268 may or may not be this edition; it calls for a final quire E6.  OCLC (US: Huntington only).

8 works in one volume, 4to (209 x 150mm). Contemporary German half pigskin over wooden boards, tooled in blind with various flower-head tools, spine lettered in ink, label at foot (lightly wormed, mostly affecting upper cover, clasp missing); modern cloth case.

A fascinating, early 16th-century collection of rare editions of largely literary and secular texts, including the 12th-century epic on Alexander the Great, the Alexandreis by Walter of Châtillon, illustrated with an early chiaroscuro title-border by Hans Wechtlin.


No doubt originally collected together and bound for a humanist scholar, who wrote ‘Lepidissima hystoria’ [‘a most witty story/history’] on the title of the Alexandreis, in 1789 the sammelband was bought by the noted German antiquary and bibliophile Joseph von Lassberg. At this time he was completing his studies at Strasbourg and Freiburg before entering into the life-long service of the Fürstenberg family; he sold his library of over 12,000 books and manuscripts to the Court Library at Donaueschingen shortly before his death.


The first edition of the Alexandreis (Rouen c. 1487-90, ISTC ig00048300) is extremely rare and known in only eight copies; this second edition is also very rare with VD16 recording only eight copies while OCLC records only four copies in US libraries. Walter of Châtillon's poem drew principally on the biography of Curtius Rufus and influenced subsequent Alexander romances of Ulrich von Eschenbach and Rudolf von Ems, it was also referenced by Chaucer in the Wife of Bath. ‘One of the high achievements of twelfth-century literature. … In artistry and intelligence it loses nothing by comparison to the first flowerings of European vernacular literature’ (Townsend, The Alexandreis 1996).  "The triumph of rhythmic verse must not be interpreted as an eclipse of traditional poetry. The latter. on the contrary, was more abundant than ever and became more varied. A master of the rhythmic strophe such as Walter of Chatillon was equally as good as versifier of the hexameters of the Alexandreis for which the romantic history of Quintus Curtius furnished him with the essentials." (Hélin, Medieval Latin Literature). This great poem of the 12th century found the immediate approval of the poet's contemporaries, and it established his reputation as "one of the most important figures among the secular poets of the Middle Ages" (Raby Medieval Latin Verse) 


Also included are Gresemund’s poem on the mutilation of a crucifix by an actor; the life of Constantine the Great, translated from the Greek by the great German humanist, Johannes Reuchlin, letters by classical authors Symmachus and Pliny the Younger (with four leaves replaced by contemporary manuscript), and the literary forgery of letters attributed to Sultan Mehmed II by Laudivius Zacchia.


Provenance: contents written in an early hand inside front-cover, repeated in an 18th-century hand (Lassberg's?); inscription deleted from first title. Inscribed on fly-leaf "Lasperg Filius. Die 25 Januarii 1789", i.e. Baron Joseph Maria Christoph von Lassberg (1770-1855) with each work numbered (101-108) on title-pages in his hand and his shelf-marks at foot of spine and inside front cover; shortly before his death sold to the Fürstenberg Court Library at Donaueschingen, which was only dispersed in recent decades.


A few wormholes, occasional light damp stain, more prominent at upper corners of final two works..

Stock Code: 246209

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