Preparing Christ’s Knights for the Duel with Death

Il padrino Christiano … per formare i cavallieri di Christo nel duello della morte.  Diviso in tre parti … 

Ferrara, Vittorio Baldini, 1592. 

4to, pp. [16], 254, [10]; woodcut device to title, initials, head- and tail-pieces; small repairs to blank lower outer corners of Bb4 and Kk1, a few small marks; very good in seventeenth-century stiff vellum, yapp edges; some marks to spine and covers; initials ‘N.B.’ stamped in gilt to upper cover.

£950

Approximately:
US $1233€1129

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Rare first edition of a meditational work on this world and the next by Celso Mancini (1542–1612), canon regular of the Lateran, philosopher, and bishop of Alessano.  Dramatically titled ‘The Christian godfather, for training the knights of Christ in the duel of death’, the work is dedicated to Lucrezia d’Este (1535–1598), duchess of Urbino, one of the most learned women of her age and a patron to scientists and poets. 

Mancini divides his treatise into three parts.  In the first he discusses man’s vain hopes of happiness; the evil effects of wealth; beauty and vanity; the fragility of health; and the imperfections of human knowledge.  In the second he turns to death, explaining why it appears horrible but why one should not fear it, and how old age is not necessarily a good thing.  The final part looks at preparing for death, and how the sinful soul can move from fear and hope towards God, ending with discussion of the conversion of St Paul.  Mancini calls upon a host of authorities, including Aristotle, St Augustine, Bede, St Bridget, Euclid, Hippocrates, Plato, and Thomas Aquinas. 

EDIT16 CNCE 30381; USTC 839943.  No copies traced in the UK; only one copy in the US recorded on OCLC (University of Chicago). 

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