[BONIOHANNES DE MESSANA (attributed to)]. Pseudo-CYRILLUS. Speculum sapientiae. [Vienne: Eberhard Frommolt, before 3rd April 1483].
4o (181 x 134mm. Collation: [1-158]. 120 leaves, including the first blank. Gothic type 1:98. 26 lines. Capital spaces, some with printed guide-letters. Initial capitals supplied at beginning of book in red or blue, paragraph marks and marginal chapter incipits in red, but much of the book is without rubrication. Foliation throughout and marginalia at beginning in a clear contemporary hand. (Scattered wormholes, mostly marginal, catching a letter or two on some pages, manuscript marginalia slightly shaved at fore-margin.) Brown levant morocco, edges gilt, by Riviere & Son. Provenance: Pedro Miguel Carbonell (1434-1517), early Catalan poet and historian, author of the Chroniques de Espana, Barcelona, 1546, with marginal notes in the early quires and autograph purchase inscription on final page: "Petrus Michael Carbonellus comparavit pretio exoluto: die tertio Aprilis Anno salutis M.CCCC.Lxxxiij. Ferdinando.ij. foeliciter regnate." Carbonell was named notary of Barcelona in 1448 and in 1476 was appointed archivist to the house of Aragon by Juan I.
A RARE COLLECTION OF FABLES with a particularly interesting early provenance. Divided into four books, the Speculum sapientiae presents 95 moralized stories after the model of Aesopus, using familiar animals and intended to serve as examples of the Christian virtues or to conteract specific vices. Each numbered fable carries a brief incipit indicating the animals it features, for example, "the locust and the ant," "the spider and the fly," "the whale and the fisherman," "the fox and the ape," "the fox and the crow," etc. The collection--now attributed to Boniohannes de Messana--was printed at Strassburg by Eggestein (not after 1475: BSB Ink B-742; GKW 7889; Goff C1016) and at Basel by Wenssler (ca 1475; BSB Ink B-741; GKW 7890; Goff-C1017); a German translation by Ulrich von Pottenstein was issued in Augsburg by Anton Sorg in 1490 (Goff C-1023). Carbonell's dated purchase inscription in the present copy, 3 April 1483, supplies the edition's terminus ante quem; most of Frommolt's publications are undated but two are dated 1481 and he may have begun printing in the Spring of 1479 (see BMC). On the identification of the author see Thomas Kaeppli, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum medii aevi. Vol. 1, no.699. All editions of the text are relatively rare; Goff records only six copies including the present of Frommolt's edition in the U.S. BMC VIII 374; (IA.42742); Not in BSB Ink.; Dal-Droz 20; HC 5906; GW 7892; Pell 4080; Goff C-1019.