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TRITHEMIUS, Johannes (1462–1516)

Catalogus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum , sive illustrium virorum, cum appendice eorum qui nostro etiam seculo doctissimi clarvere. Per venerabilem virum, dominum Iohan[n]em à Tritenhem Abbate[m] Spanhemensem, disertissimè conscriptus ... Anno M. D. XXXI. [Colophon:] Coloniae per me Petrum Quentell. Anno domini. M. D. XXXI.

Cologne: Peter Quentel, 1531
4to: A–B4 a–zz4, 192 leaves, ff. [8] 184. Roman letter. Woodcut initials.
Condition: 207 x 152mm. Single round wormhole through text to sig. z; marginal waterstaining at beginning and end.
Binding: Contemporary blind stamped pigskin with brass clasps (replaced?). Somewhat worn.
Provenance: About 100 words of contemporary annotation, underlining and marginal marks near the beginning of the book. ‘Conventus Landishutani ordinis Praedicatorum’, contemporary inscription on title; Munich University Library, release stamp on A1v; Herman Wiese, signature dated Nov. [19]70 and engraved bookplate with portrait of Trithemius.
Third editon, ‘cum multis additionibus’ but in fact reprinting the text of the second edition, De Scriptorib[us] eccl[es]iasticis (1512). (First edition 1494). There were many later editions.
Bibliography: VD16 T1999; Adams T966.

‘Trithemius’ great bibliography, more commonly known as the De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis (On Ecclesiastical Authors) was first printed in 1494 and proved to be one of his most popular works. Based on Saint Jerome’s well-known De viribus illustribus (On Famous Men), Trithemius’ work moves beyond Jerome’s own cautious approach to Classical literature in its enthusiastic recommendation of Hellenistic philosophy, Latin poetry, and rhetoric as essential companions to the study of Christian theology. He even remarked to one correspondent, ‘No one can be called adequately learned in the Holy Scriptures if ignorant in the study of secular literature’.
This copy in a typical German blindstamped pigskin binding of the period comes from the Domincan convent of friar preachers at Landshut in Bavaria, founded in 1271. The annotator only got as far as the mid-fifth-century authors.