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    Raffaele Maffei [Raphaelis Volterranus] Association Copy: Commentariorum Urbanorum Lieber Primus. (Rome: Johannes Besicken, [XIII.CAL.Martii (March 13)] 1506), first edition, well over 1000 pages, woodcut capitals, carved thick wooden boards with "1525" embossed on the front, brass catches, and tooled vellum spine with four raised spine bands, morocco spine label with gilt titles, folio (9.5" x 13.5"), small portion of the corner of the front board missing, one brass closure piece and corresponding leather strap missing, external hinges have small tears at the head and tail of spine, a few non-intrusive worm holes in the first few pages not affecting text, unknown old inked ownership markings on page edges, various OLD (and interesting) book plates on the inside cover and ffep, split at first gathering, internal contents remarkably tight and sound, without foxing typical of books of this age, a very good copy of an early and important work.

    Raffaelo Maffei (1451-1522) was a humanist, historian and theologian from Volterra, Italy (hence Raphael Volaterranus). His Commentaria Urbana were well known to many Renaissance scholars, including Erasmus. The Commentaria was essentially an encyclopedia of all subjects known at that time and consisted of three parts: "Geography" in which he writes extensively of Spanish and Portuguese expeditions, "Anthropology" is an assessment of ancient history and the third part is devoted to "Philology" which outlines scientific knowledge. One particularly interesting passage concerns Christopher Columbus and reads in part "...emulous of his praise the Spanish sailors with the favor of King Ferdinand, set sail under Christopher Columbus from Cadiz in 1496 and at 800 miles between south and west found Canaria...".

    This copy is especially noteworthy because it is presumed to be Philipp Melanchthon's personal copy. Melanchthon (1497-1560) was a German professor and theologian, a key leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and a friend and associate of Martin Luther. The inside front cover bears Melanchthon's book plate. The plate measures 5" x 6.5" and bears Melanchthon's hand-colored coat of arms. The caption below the plate appears to be excised from an old antiquarian book catalog with the book citation and "Melancthon's [sic] Copy, with marginal notes." A rare and important book with an equally important association in uncommonly good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,830

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