Boccaccio (Giovanni) Genealogiae Deorum, additions by Dominicus Silvester and Raphael Zovenzonius, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1472.
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Boccaccio (Giovanni). Genealogiae Deorum, additions by Dominicus Silvester and Raphael Zovenzonius, first edition, collation: [1-1210 1312 14-1810 196 20-2210 23-258 26-2910 3012+2], 295 leaves (of 296, lacking final blank but with fol. 25/8 blank present), text in single column, 41 lines, indices in double column, type: 1:110R, blank spaces for capitals, with guide letters, a few marginalia in two different hands, one datable to 16th century (somewhat trimmed), running number of books probably in the same hand, light foxing, sporadic finger marks, first leaf slightly dust-soiled, repair to lower blank margin, gutter of fol. 30/12 repaired, 16th-century limp vellum with yapp edges, smooth spine, early title inked on spine and front cover, earlier title inked at lower edge, endpapers renewed, folio (298 x 207 mm), Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. ⁂ The first edition of Boccaccio's extraordinary sourcebook on classical mythology and the first scholarly work to quote passages from Homer. The Genealogiae Deorum gentilium is a remarkable encyclopaedic study of pagan mythology, featuring a total of 723 entries. The work was commissioned by Hugo IV, King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, who died in 1359, well before it was completed. This immense treatise is divided into fifteen books further subdivided into chapters, each of which shows the genealogy of various gods and goddesses, with the last two containing Boccaccio's apologia of his work, some interesting biographical information, and a defence of poetry. The Genealogy of the Pagan Gods does not merely list names but reveals Boccaccio's incredible breadth of reading and his ardent scholarly commitment. All entries are supplemented with detailed allegorical, historical, and scientific analyses, and more than 175 Latin and Greek authors are cited as sources. The Genealogy became the first influential work in modern European scholarship to include quotations, translations, and variegated analyses of passages from Greek literature, and it is the first scholarly work to make a significant use of Homer. For at least two centuries the work continued to be of great importance to writers and scholars, and the nine editions printed in the 15th century, including a French translation which appeared in 1498, are a testament to the magnitude and longevity of its popularity. After decades of preparation and study of ancient mythology, Boccaccio produced a manuscript (Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana Plut. lii.9), the so-called Vulgate text of the Genealogy, which contains a series of designs of genealogical trees illustrating the text of the first thirteen chapters and constituting the first elaborated series of genealogical charts. The Venetian edition of 1472 reproduces the Vulgate text on the basis of an unidentified manuscript. The series of genealogical charts (possibly present in the manuscript which served as copy-text) are not reproduced, although Vindelinus left blank spaces for them which vary in size from two thirds to an entire page. There are at least two issues of this edition, distinguished by various misspellings in the title printed on fol. /1r. The present copy belongs to the issue with the title containing the words 'gentilium' and 'prohȩminm'. Provenance: the Milanese historian Giuseppe Girolamo Semenzi (1645-1706; ownership inscription, 'D. Joseph Hieronymus Sementius Reg. Cong. Somaschae'). Literature: HC 3315*; GW 4475; BMC v, 162; IGI 1796; Goff B-749; M. Pade, "The Fragments of Theodontius in Boccaccio's Genealogie Deorum gentilium Libri", Eadem et al. (eds.), Avignon & Naples. Italy in France - France in Italy in the Fourteenth Century, Rome 1997, pp. 149-166; G. Boccaccio, Genealogiae Deorum Gentilium, ed. V. Zaccaria, Milano 1998, esp. pp. 1587-1606; P. R. Schwertsik, Die Erschaffung des heidnischen Götterhimmels durch Boccaccio. Die Quellen der Genealogia Deorum Gentilium in Neapel, Paderborn 2014.
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