FORMERLY IN THE LIBRARY OF HUMANIST BARTHOLOMAEUS LATOMUS
A GIFT FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF TRIER

Historia mundi, multo quam antehac unquam prodiit emaculatius [...] annotationibus eruditorum hominum praesertim Hermolai Barbari […] additus est index, in quo nihil desideres [– Index in universum naturalis historiae C. Plinii opus, summa diligentia collectus]. 

Basel, Johann Froben, March 1525. 

Two parts in one volume, folio, pp. [xxxvi], 671, [1], [144 (Index)]; large woodcut Froben device to title and part-title and final page of each part, several large historiated white-on-black initials and numerous smaller woodcut initials throughout; some worming (mostly marginal), but a beautiful, wide-margined copy in dark impression; in a contemporary Cologne binding of blind-stamped calf over wooden boards, boards panelled in blind with two rolls (both initialled ‘IW’, one with the arms of Cologne, the Holy Roman Empire, and the binder’s device), remains of clasps to fore-edge, fore-edge lettered ‘Plinius’ in ink, sewn on 5 double cords, spine lined with vellum manuscript waste; skilfully rebacked and recornered, some worming to boards; contemporary inscription ‘Sum Latomi ex dono mecoenatis archidiaconi ab Hagen 1530’ to upper pastedown, inscription to front free endpaper ‘Sum ex libris / Andr. Danquest Mosbacens. / 12th Juli 1767’.

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Historia mundi, multo quam antehac unquam prodiit emaculatius [...] annotationibus eruditorum hominum praesertim Hermolai Barbari […] additus est index, in quo nihil desideres [– Index in universum naturalis historiae C. Plinii opus, summa diligentia collectus]. 

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First Froben edition of Pliny’s encyclopaedia, with a prologue by Erasmus and Hermolaus Barbarus’s commentary, given to Erasmus’s correspondent Bartholomaeus Latomus by his student and future patron, Johann Ludwig von Hagen. 

Known by the Hellenized ‘Latomus’, the humanist classicist and controversialist Bartholomaeus Steinmetz (c. 1498–1570) probably first met Erasmus while studying at Freiburg in 1516 and ’17, later travelling with him through Alsace in 1521 and becoming one of his epistolary correspondents until Erasmus’s death.  Teaching successively at Trier (from 1522), Cologne (1526), Louvain (1530), and the Collège de Sainte-Barbe in Paris (1531), he was a disciple and friend of Conradus Goclenius and counted among his students Calvin, Ignatius of Loyola, François Xavier, François Rabelais, and Pierre Ramus.  He travelled extensively and established a reputation as one of the leading Latin scholars of the time. 

The present volume was given to Latomus in 1530 by his former pupil Johann Ludwig von Hagen (1492–1547), then archdeacon at Trier.  In 1541 Latomus reencountered Hagen as Elector-Archbishop of Trier at the diet of Regensburg, and the following year he resigned his professorship at Paris to enter Hagen’s service.  It was likely his position under Hagen that facilitated his appointment as assessor at the Reichskammergericht in Speyer in 1548 and, after resigning this post to return to Trier in 1555, his role in attending the diet of Speyer in 1556 and representing the Catholic party at Worms in 1557. 

Adams P-1560; Schweiger II, 786; Van der Haeghen II, 45; VD16 P-3533; for the binding, see Haebler, pp. 489-490.  See also L. Roersch, ‘Barthélemy Latomus, le premier professeur d'éloquence latine au Collège royal de France’ in Bulletins de l’Académie royale de Belgique 3rd ser. 14 (1887), pp.132–176. 

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