MARTYR, Peter (d. 1525). Extraict ou Recueil des Isles nouvellement trouvees en la grand mer Oceane ou [sic] temps du Roy Despaigne Fernand & Elizabeth sa femme … Item trois Narrations: dont la premiere est de Cuba… Paris: Simon de Colines, 1532.
8° (198 x 136 mm). Italic type, 6- and 3-line criblé initials. (Internal repaired wormholes in first eight leaves with several letters supplied in ink, some other mostly marginal repairs occasionally touching letters, larger in the last two gatherings, lacking final blank.) 18th-century calf (rebacked); cloth folding case. Provenance: some annotations in an early hand; Théodore Bauffremont-Courtenay, Prince Duke of Bauffremont (1793-1852), Cavalry Colonel, supporter of the Duchesse de Barry and aide to the Duke de Bordeaux (bookplate); Prince Constantin Radziwill (1850-1920), founder of Monte Carlo and father of Léon Radziwil, Proust’s friend and model for the character Robert de Saint-Loup (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH OF THE FIRST COLLECTION OF VOYAGES PRINTED IN FRENCH. “Peter Martyr [or Pietro Martire d’Anghiera, of Milan], the first historian of America, was a friend and contemporary of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Hernando Cortes, Ferdinand Magellan, Sebastian Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci. Through his friendship with these discoverers, as well as from his official position as a member of the Council for the Indies in Spain, authentic documents were available to him, thereby gaining him much valuable information regarding discoveries made by the early navigators. His works were held in the highest esteem by his contemporaries and are indispensable as a primary source for the history of early American discoveries” (Hill, p. 93).
This edition contains a somewhat abridged translation of Peter Martyr’s first three Decades (from De orbo novo, first published in 1516 in Alcalá), and three “narrations,” the first being a translation of the first edition (Basel 1521) of Martyr’s fourth Decade; the second and third are abridged translations of the second and third Letters of Cortes, first published in 1524 at Nuremberg. RARE: according to online databases, only one other copy of this has appeared at auction since 1955, the DuPont copy sold Christie’s New York, 8 October 1991, lot 162. Alden & Landis 532/1; Borba de Moraes , p. 531; Brunet I, 293; Church 64; Harrisse 167; Sabin 1554 & 16952n.