1558 The Epistles & Revelations, in Italian and Latin. Polyglot. Antonio Brucioli


The epistles of Paul, those labelled "Catholic" (James, Peter, John, Jude) and Revelations, in Italian and Latin (polyglot). With the interesting provenance of a Prague Royal library, the spine still bares the paint and shelf number. Considering the other libraries of note from this period (Admont Abbey and the Klemintinum), one can only guess how beautiful the Prague Royal Academy Library must have been (I found a note that it was raided and taken by Sweden in 1648).

About the Translator and this Bible

Antonio Brucioli was born in Florence at an unknown date. In his youth, Brucioli was a frequent attendee and contributor to the circle of humanists and scholars who met in the Orto Oricellari. Among the distinguished thinkers with whom Brucioli developed relationships there, the names of Francesco Cattani da Diacceto, Luigi Alamanni, and Niccolò Machiavelli stand out. In 1522 Brucioli, along with several other of the members of the Orto Oricellari, was implicated in a plot to assassinate Cardinal Giulio Medici. Fleeing the city, Brucioli took refuge in Lyon, where he began work on a collection of tracts on moral philosophy, a collection published in Venice in 1526. This body of works formed the core of his Dialogi, which he would expand over the course of the next two decades. During his stay in Lyons, he seems to have absorbed many of the religious ideas of the German reformers, adopting moderately Lutheran theology in his translation of the bible, a work which some said relied heavily on Martin Bucer.

In the wake of the sack of Rome and flight of the Medici from Florence in 1527, Brucioli returned to his native city to take part in establishing the Republic. However, as a political moderate and strict believer that the friars of San Marco should keep out of state affairs, he quickly fell afoul of the dominant Savonarolan faction, being exiled from the city in 1528. Brucioli spent much of the rest of his life in Venice, where he was twice tried for heresy. Having been first denounced in 1548 and found guilty of disseminating heretical materials (but not of heresy), he fled to the tolerant court of Ferrara and the protection of Renata d'Este. From this point to the rest of his life, strictures on his ability to publish caused him great poverty. In 1549, we find him directing overtures to Cosimo I de Medici hoping to be granted a stipend in exchange for regular reports on political activities. In 1555 his translation of the bible was placed on the stringent Index of Pope Paul IV, while in Venice he was again tried for heresy, convicted, and forced to recant. He spent most of the remainder of his life under house arrest and in extreme poverty.

Physical Attributes

Measures 12 x 8.5 x 2 cm. Limp vellum. Pages - (1), pages numbered (on one side) 325 to 559, (1), 6 leaves by Tavola, (2)

Condition of the Book

See pictures. Limp vellum of the time, chalk painted back, with inscription and numbering in red ink from the old hand, former closing bands expired, parchment darkened, slight worm-eating in the back and joints, cover slightly loosened. Darkening near page edges and a little toning to paper. With ownership stamp on the title page verso (Biblioth: Acad: Pragen: Regiae) and at various location numbers on the front header, as well as notes of an old hand. Both front and rear paste-downs and endpages have bookseller notes.

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