4to (203 x 153mm), ff. 236, ; woodcut printer’s device on title, woodcut initials, and woodcut Japanese characters in the text (vide infra); some faint dampstaining towards end of volume; contemporary limp vellum with remains of ties, later manuscript title on spine; slightly discoloured and cockled; provenance: inked-out early ownership inscription and unidentified armorial blindstamp on title.
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Rerum a societate Jesu in oriente gestarum volume. In quo hæc ferme continentur. De rebus Indicis ad annum usque ... MDLXVIII, commentaries ... Acostæ ... recognitus, et Latinitate donatus. De rebus Indicis ad annum usque MDLXX, epistolarum liber I. De Japonicis rebus ad annum usque MDLXV, epistolarum libri V. Omnes ... recogniti, et in Latinum ex Hispanico sermone conversi. Ad calcem operis, epistolæ duæ ... additæ sunt, de LII, e Societate Jesu, pro fide Catholica nuper occisis. Accessit etiam specimen quoddam literarum vocumq[ue] Japonicarum.
Third and best edition of the earliest detailed history of the Jesuit missions in the East, especially Japan. Included for the first time in this edition are five pages of Japanese characters in printed facsimile, ‘Specimen quoddam litterarum vocumque Japonicarum; desumptum e regis Bungi diplomate’ (ff. 225–8), which reproduce a letter by the daimyo of Bungo (Kyushu), Otomo Sorin, permitting the Jesuits to build a church on his land in 1552; this letter was not included in the two previous editions (Dillingen, 1571; Paris, 1572). As Alden notes, the present 1573 Naples edition also includes material on the martyrdom of Inácio de Azevedo and other Jesuits en route to Brazil (ff. 229–236). Some copies of this edition have a variant title-page with the imprint ‘in ædibus Decii Lachæi’.
Acosta, a Portuguese Jesuit, taught at Coimbra, where he had unrivalled access to the letters from the Jesuits in the East that form the basis of his history. His manuscript, written in Portuguese, was sent to Rome and translated into Latin by Giovanni Pietro Maffei, a Jesuit novice and skilled Latinist, who had been selected by the Jesuits to prepare an official history of their eastern mission. Maffei added to Acosta’s work what is in fact the overwhelming bulk of the present book, devoted entirely to Japan and entitled ‘De Japonicis rebus epistolarum libri quinque’ (ff. 73–224), which was based on letters sent from the Jesuits working in the region. Among the letters used by Maffei are Xavier’s celebrated report of November 1549 from Kagoshima and two from the Japanese convert Paul (who accompanied Xavier), one from Goa in 1548, the other from Kagoshima in 1549.
Alden 573/27; Cordier, Japonica, 59 (listing the contents); Laures 138 (imprint not specified; two copies: Sophia, Ueno); Sommervogel V 294–5; Streit IV 958. OCLC records five copies in the US (Cleveland, Columbia, Folger, Minnesota and Rutgers). COPAC records the British Library copy only.
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