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.
De civitate Dei.
Germany, ?Westphalia, c. 1300.
A handsome bifolium from a large folio copy of St. Augustine’s greatest work, a vindication of Christianity against pagan critics.
ODO, Bishop of Cambrai.
Expositio canonis misse a dnomino [sic] odone cameracensi episcopo edita.
(Colophon:) Paris, Guy Marchant, 16 August 1490.
Very rare first edition of Odo’s twelfth-century treatise on the canon of the Mass, printed ‘in domo regalis collegii nauarre in campo gaillardi’ by Guy Marchant. Seven further editions appeared before 1500, including four more by Marchant. This copy has the misprint ‘dnomino’ in the title,...
GREGORY I, Pope (c. 540-604), (Gregory the Great).
Liber cure pastoralis divi Gregorii pape: in sole aureo vici Sorbonici Parrhisiis...
Paris, Ulrich Gering and Berthold Rembolt, 18 July 1498.
The Regula Pastoralis is Gregory’s set of instructions on the office and duties of the bishop, whom he regarded as a shepherd of souls. It is the key to Gregory’s life as pope, for what he preached he also practised. ‘In all likelihood he intended his Regula to be for the secular...
INTITIAL from a manuscript Gradual or Antiphonal; initial 'U' painted in rose red with elaborate white tracery, the...
The stylized decoration and use of bright colours, including the deep blue grape motif, recalls the art of Ferrara at the end of the third quarter of the 15th century. Compare, for example, an initial in a Bible painted for the Este family by Taddeo Crivelli (active from 1451, died 1479) which is now...
DINKELSBÜHL, Nicolaus de.
Tractatus hoc volumine contenti: I. De dilectione dei et proximi. II. De preceptis decalogi. III. De...
Strassburg, J. Schott, 1516.
First edition of the Tractatus octo, comprising Dinkelsbühl’s famous De preceptis decalogi, an influential tract against superstition and diabolic magic; this is one of two variant titles, that in which the word ‘mortalibus’ is not abbreviated.
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...
Sacri sacerdotii defensio contra Lutherum.
Cologne, [Hero Fuchs for] Peter Quentel, 1525.
RUPERT, of Deutz. De divinis officiis libri XII. [Cologne, Frans Birckmann,] 1526.
[MELANCHTHON, Philipp]. LAGUS, Konrad.
Oratio de Platone.
Wittenberg, [J. Klug], 1538.
Only edition, exceedingly rare (one copy only in the US), of the main extant source for Melanchthon’s views on Plato. ‘Melanchthon’s view of Plato is known primarily from a Latin speech, which he asked Conrad Lagus to deliver’ (Hartfelder).
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...
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...
[MAFFEI, Giovanni Pietro, and Emanuel ACOSTA.]
Rerum a societate Jesu in oriente gestarum volumen.
Naples, ‘apud Horatium Salvianum’, 1573.
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’...
Defensiones duae, quibus D. Ioannis Sturmii rectoris Antipappis duobus respondetur, Maiori, & Epitomico. De charitate,...
Tübingen, Georgius Gruppenbachius, 1580.
Rare first edition of Pappus’s most important work in his pamphlet war with Johannes Sturm over the Lutheran Formula of Concord and its imposition in Strasburg. Pappus (1549-1610) studied in Tübingen and Basel before becoming professor of Hebrew and then of history at Strasburg. In 1578 he was appointed...
[CHANDIEU, Antoine de la Roche de.]
De vera peccatorum remissione, adversus humanas satisfactiones et commentitium ecclesiae Romanae...
Morges, D. Bern for Jean le Preux (colophon: Genevae, excudebatur a Gabriele Cartier, sumptibus Ioan. et Franc. le Preux), 1582.
First edition, rare. This work, bearing the imprint of the small Swiss town of Morges, is the third of three treatises by Chandieu (1534–1591) which reiterate Calvinist standpoints on key aspects of theology. Concerned with the remission of sins and the existence of Purgatory, it is divided into six...
EUCHERIUS, Johannes (pseud.).
Gratiarum actio. Wirtembergensibus et Tubingensibus verbi ministris; qui censuris Patriarche Constantinopolitani...
Christopoli [i.e. Poznań, J. Wolrab], 1585.
Very rare early imprint from Poznań, one of the oldest and most important cities in Poland, a Catholic stronghold. There Johann Wolrab, Nikolaus’ eldest son, founded the second city printing press in 1579. Gratiarum actio had first appeared in 1584 in two productions printed in Krakow and Poznań,...
Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus,...
First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against...
Les trois veritez. Seconde edition reveue, corrigée, & de beaucoup augmentée.
Bordeaux, Simon Millanges, 1595.
Second, much enlarged edition of Charron’s first book, which sought to prove the existence of God, man’s need of religion, and – in the main part, with a heavy debt to Montaigne’s Christian scepticism – the truth of Catholicism against Protestantism.
La vérité defendue pour la religion catholique. En la cause des Iesuites, contre le Plaidoyé d’Antoine...
Toulouse, Veuve de Jacques Colomiez, 1595.
First edition of Richeome’s vindication of the Jesuits against the charges made by Antoine Arnaud in his famous defence of the University of Paris in 1594. Richeome (1544-1625), known as the ‘French Cicero’, was one of the leading French Catholic controversialists of his age and played a crucial...
WYCLIF, John. [Thomas JAMES, editor.]
Two short Treatises, against the Orders of the begging Friars … Faithfully printed according...
First editions of both works. Thomas James was the first librarian of the newly-founded Bodleian Library in Oxford, and a formidable Protestant controversialist in his own right, who trawled the Bodliean collections for historical evidence.
LE PELETIER, Laurent.
Breviculum fundationis et series abbatum sancti Nicolai Andegavensis.
Angers, Antoine Hernault, 1616.
Rare first edition. This first appearance in print of documents relating to the foundation, history and abbots of the Abbaye Saint-Nicolas in Angers, in the Loire, is an important record since the original charters were dispersed and disappeared in the eighteenth century. The abbey was founded around...