Our Continental department specialises in incunabula, Greek and Latin classics, early vernacular imprints, and notable texts from the Renaissance, the Reformation and the early modern era, with a specific section devoted to medieval manuscripts, fragments and illuminations.
We regularly issue lists and catalogues, offering a wide variety of literary, historical and philosophical books printed in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Low Countries, Eastern Europe and Russia. Woodcuts, early engravings, notable bindings, notable marginalia, rare manuscript or printed survivals, and books with a remarkable provenance are among our keenest interests, and feature regularly in our stock.
A single folio leaf (389 x 281 mm.), containing Luke XVII:23–XIX:13 (leaf 230 of volume 2), double column, 42...
[Mainz: Printed by Johann Gutenberg & Johann Fust, c. 1450-1455, not after August 1456.]
A fine single paper leaf from the first substantial book printed with movable type in the western world, now known simply as the Gutenberg Bible or the 42-line Bible.
[Venice], Vindelinus de Spira, 1472.
A fine product of the first Venetian press, established in 1469 by Johannes de Spira and continued by his brother Vindelinus from 1470 until 1473. This was the fifth impression of the works of Lactantius, the hugely successful North-African early Christian writer.
AUGUSTINUS TRIUMPHUS [i.e. AUGUSTINUS de Ancona].
Summa de potestate ecclesiastica.
Augsburg, [Johann Schüssler,] 6 March 1473.
First edition of this highly important and influential magnum opus of political theory, a defence of papal supremacy.
De censuris et De sponsalibus et matrimonio.
Venice, Johannes de Colonia and Johannes Manthen, 23 September 1474.
A beautiful copy of the first edition of these two treatises on excommunication and marriage by Antoninus (1389–1459), Dominican friar and Archbishop of Florence (from 1446), taken from book III of his great work, the Summa theologica moralis, which was not printed in its entirety until 1485.
CATULLUS, TIBULLUS, PROPERTIUS.
[Milan, Philippus de Lavagnia] for Johannes de Colonia and Johannes Manthen [in Venice], 1475.
A handsome copy of the second edition of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius, a close reprint of the edition by Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. Statius’s Silvae also formed part of the edition, but it is not present here; the parts are sometimes found separately, as ISTC notes, and almost half...
De fide et legibus.
[Augsburg, Günther Zainer, c. 1475-6].
First and only incunable edition of this work covering reason, faith, love, error, idolatry, superstition, magic, and demonology. William of Auvergne (1180/90 – 1249), Bishop of Paris, was the most important of the pre-Scholastics. ‘He represents the first generation of Paris masters to make...
Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis.
[Venice, printer of Pomponius Mela, 1477].
Second edition, very rare. This is the variant issue without date or place of printing, and is one of only five books known to have produced by the anonymous printer who has been named after the present edition. Mela’s description of the world, also known under the title Chorographia,...
PIUS II (Nicolaus von WYLE, editor).
Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 17 July 1486.
Second Koberger edition of the Epistolae familiares of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405–1464), the great Renaissance humanist who became Pope Pius II in 1458, a handsome copy enhanced with manuscript additions comprising epistolary models, a German-Latin wordlist, and German medical recipes.
ANTONIUS de Vercellis.
Sermones quadragesimales de XII mirabilibus Christianae fidei excellentiis [with additions by Ludovicus...
Venice, Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, de Forlivio [for Alexander Calcedonius], 16 February 1492/93.
A remarkable copy of the first edition of Antonius de Vercellis’s sermons, owned and annotated by three contemporary Franciscans, one of whom, Andrea Alamanni, may be the confessor who administered Machiavelli’s last rites.
Letter of Indulgence (in Catalan), incipit ‘A Honor …’, granted by Cardinal Luis de Milá,...
[Lerida, Heinrich Botel, c. 1498.]
Extremely rare incunable indulgence in Catalan granted by Luis de Milá, Bishop of Lérida, in favour of the living (as opposed to the dead, see below) to gather funds for the repair of the old cathedral of Lérida, printed at Lérida, the second city of Catalonia, about one hundred miles...
URCEO, Antonio [or Codro].
Hoc Codri volumine haec continentur. Orationes, seu sermones ut ipse appellabat. Epistolae. Silvae....
Bologna, Giovanni Antonio Benedetti, 7 March 1502.
First edition of a quintessential piece of Italian humanism, annotated by a sixteenth-century reader particularly interested in the philology of the texts.
JUSTINUS, Marcus Junianius, and Lucius FLORUS.
[Epitome historiarum:] Justini historici clarissimi in Trogi Pompei historias...
[Venice, Bartolomeo Zani, 3 February 1503.]
A thoroughly annotated copy of a greatly influential compendium of Trogus’s monumental forty-four-book Historia of the world from Babylon to the Augustan era.
[JACOBUS DE GRUYTRODE, ascribed author.]
Lavacrum conscientie [omnium sacerdotum].
[Colophon:] Cologne, Heinrich Quentell, 1504.
Rare edition of this popular late medieval treatise widely ascribed to the Carthusian monk Jacobus de Gruytrode (c. 1400–1475). Essentially a handbook for priests, with a significant devotional element, it was first published between 1487 and 1489. According to Theodor Petreius, Bibliotheca Cartusiana...
[CARTHUSIANS.] [GUIGO DE CASTRO, compiler.]
Repertorium statutoru[m] ordinis cartusiensis per ordinem alphabeti.
[Colophon:] Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1510.
First printed edition of the Statutes of the Carthusian Order, printed at the expense of the editor, Gregor Reisch (c. 1467–1525), author of the Margarita philosophica, for distribution to members of the Order only.
[CICERO, Marcus Tullius.]
Commentarii Philippicarum Marci Ciceronis cum annotationibus Georgii Trapezuntii Philippi Beroaldi et...
Paris. Thomas Caseus for Jean Petit, .
Rare edition, attractively printed and with occasional contemporary annotations, of Cicero’s Philippics, comprising Cicero’s text along with the commentaries of the Cretan humanist George of Trebizond (1396–1486), the Bolognese rhetorician Filippo Beroaldo (1453–1505), and the Perugia...
PLUTARCH [and Jodocus BADIUS Ascensius (editor)].
Vitae … novissime … longe diligentius repositae, majoreque...
Venice, Melchiorre Sessa [the elder] & Pietro Ravani, 26 November 1516.
First substantially illustrated edition of Plutarch’s Lives, with signs of early reading. First published in this popular translation in Paris in 1514 by French scholar-printer Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462–1535) in collaboration with Jean Petit, the text is here accompanied by seventy-eight...
PELBARTUS de Themeswar.
Pomerium sermonum de Sanctis per anni circulum tam hyemalium quam estivalium, vulgate per venerabilem...
Nuremberg, Johann Koberger, August 1519.
Handsome early editions of two collections of sermons by Pelbartus of Themeswar, an exceptional volume with an additional manuscript sermon, bound at the monastery of Bronnbach using fragments from three medieval manuscripts.
Richardi Sbrulii equitis Foroiuliani Cesareiq[ue] poete ad magnificu[m] atq[ue] illustrem Maximilianu[m] Seuenbergensem:...
[Colophon:] Augsburg, Hans von Erfurt, 1519.
First, very rare, edition, of Sbruglio’s Latin poems addressed to Maximilianus Transylvanus, published in the year that Charles V became Holy Roman Emperor. A native of Cividale in northern Italy, Sbruglio (c. 1480 – after 1525) studied and taught at Wittenberg (where the rector compared him to Ovid),...
Lucii Flori rerum ab urbe condita liber primus [– quartus].
[Venice, in aedibus Aldi et Andreae Soceri, March 1521.]
Florus’s epitome of Roman history, extracted from the Aldine edition of March 1521 which comprised an epitome of Livy, Florus, and Niccolò Perotti’s translation of Polybius.
Eyn Sendbriff … uber die frage. Ob auch yemandt, on glawben verstorben selig werden müge &c. An Er Hansen von...
[Wittenberg, N. Schirlentz, 1522].
First edition, rare, of a momentous letter on predestination addressed by Luther to his friend Hans von Rechenberg. Luther meditates on the subject of predestination and salvation by faith; while firm in his notion of faith as a necessary requisite for salvation, he outlines the possibility that...