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.
Common of Martyrs; a complete folio leaf.
Italy, Bologna, late 13th century.
A complete leaf from a late thirteenth-century antiphonal from Bologna, with a large historiated initial.
ANTONINUS OF FLORENCE, Saint.
Summa theologica [Pars II].
[Venice, Franciscus Renner de Heilbronn, and Nicolaus de Frankfordia, 1474].
First edition; a large, crisp copy of a rare and important incunable. This was the first appearance of any part of Antoninus’s Summa theologica, or Summa moralis, an ambitious work in four parts exploring the entire field of moral theology; this, the Secunda, is the part which...
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.
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...
PIUS II (and 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...
[PETRUS GERTICZ OF DRESDEN.]
Incipit. Textus parvuli logice una cum brevi et perutili repeticione eiusdem. Laus deo.
[Nuremberg], Friedrich Creussner, [c. 1497].
Rare incunable edition of this popular introduction to logic, known as the Parvulus logicae, by the schoolmaster Petrus Gerticz of Dresden (d. 1421/25), based on the logical writings of Petrus Hispanus and Paulus Venetus. The first edition was printed in Leipzig c. 1486-89.
[INDULGENCE]. MILÁ, Luis de, Cardinal.
Letter of Indulgence (in Catalan), beginning ‘A Honor …’ granted by Luis de Mila,...
Lérida, Heinrich Botel, c. 1498.
Printed at Lérida, the second city of Catalonia, about 100 miles inland from Barcelona: an indulgence granted by Luis de Mila, 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.
(Colophon:) Venice, Aldus, May 1502.
A handsome copy of the first edition of the Greek text of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, printed by the great Aldus Manutius, with an interesting provenance.
[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...
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),...
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...
ALBERTUS de Padua.
Evangeliorum quadragesimalium opus aureum nunquam alias impressum.
Venice, Jacob Pentius de Leucho, May 1523.
First edition, in a contemporary Venetian binding, of the Lenten Gospel exegesis by one of the greatest Augustinian theologians to live on the cusp of the fourteenth century.
Precationes Biblicae sanctoru[m] patrum, illustrium viroru[m] et mulierum utriusq[ue] Testamenti.
Strasbourg, Johannes Schott, 1528.
First edition, rare. The earliest Protestant prayer-books, of which this is perhaps the most notable example, often comprised prayers taken directly from (or adapted from) the Bible. Brunfels’s Precationes Biblicae appeared in the same year in German translation (Biblisch Bettbüchlein...
PROSPERUS AQUITANUS (Prosper of Aquitaine).
Lyon, S. Gryphius, 1539.
First edition of the collected works of the Early Christian author Prosper of Aquitaine (390–465), a disciple of St Augustine and the first continuator of Jerome’s Universal Chronicle.
De rebus a Iudaeoru[m] principibus in obsidione fortiter gestis, deq[ue] excidio Hierosolymorum, aliarumq[ue]...
Cologne, Jaspar Gennepaeus, 1544.
An early edition of this popular Latin account of the Jewish War of 66-73 AD, with a dedication by Philipp Melanchthon. The text borrows heavily from the Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, and is attributed in extant manuscripts either to Hegesippus –...
[SAVONAROLA]. POLITO, Ambrogio Caterino.
Discorso … contra la dottrina, et le profetie di Fra Girolamo Savonarola.
Venice, Giolito, 1548.
First edition, very rare (‘raro e ricercato’, Bongi), of a condemnation of Savonarola’s theology, doctrine and prophecies by a former Savonarola acolyte, ‘one of the most fiery Catholic polemicists of his times’ (ibid., our translation), who four years earlier had published a...
LACTANTIUS, L. Coelius, and Onorato FASCITELLI (editor).
[Opera:] Divinarum institutionum lib. VII, De ira Dei liber...
Lyons, Jean de Tournes and Guillaume Gazeau, 1548.
First edition of Lactantius’ works to be printed by de Tournes and Gazeau, in an attractive contemporary French morocco binding, from the library of André Morellet, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, and translator of Beccaria and Jefferson.
Iacobi Blanchoni ucessiensis adversus Ludovicum beneventanum abbatem selestensem defensionum liber.
Lyon, Jean de Tournes, 1550.
First edition of a very rare work of sixteenth-century Lyonnese Neoplatonism, an elegantly-printed de Tournes edition. Ostensibly a simple series of remarks against the theses of the (presumably sternly Scholastic) abbot of Selestan, this is a tract of Renaissance moral philosophy. The theme of...