COLUMNA, Guido de (c. 1210 - after 1280). Historia destructionis Troiae, in German: Hystori wie Troya erstört ward. Translated by Hans Mair (d. 1407/1408) with interpolations from Konrad von Würzburg. Augsburg: Johann Bämler, [shortly] after 24 Apr. 1474.
COLUMNA, Guido de (c. 1210 - after 1280). Historia destructionis Troiae, in German: Hystori wie Troya erstört ward. Translated by Hans Mair (d. 1407/1408) with interpolations from Konrad von Würzburg. Augsburg: Johann Bämler, [shortly] after 24 Apr. 1474.
COLUMNA, Guido de (c. 1210 - after 1280). Historia destructionis Troiae, in German: Hystori wie Troya erstört ward. Translated by Hans Mair (d. 1407/1408) with interpolations from Konrad von Würzburg. Augsburg: Johann Bämler, [shortly] after 24 Apr. 1474.
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COLUMNA, Guido de (c. 1210 - after 1280). Historia destructionis Troiae, in German: Hystori wie Troya erstört ward. Translated by Hans Mair (d. 1407/1408) with interpolations from Konrad von Würzburg. Augsburg: Johann Bämler, [shortly] after 24 Apr. 1474.

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COLUMNA, Guido de (c. 1210 - after 1280). Historia destructionis Troiae, in German: Hystori wie Troya erstört ward. Translated by Hans Mair (d. 1407/1408) with interpolations from Konrad von Würzburg. Augsburg: Johann Bämler, [shortly] after 24 Apr. 1474.

First edition in any language of Columna’s influential retelling of the Trojan War, providing a work of classical, secular history as well as epic literature to subsequent generations. Extremely rare, known in only two other copies, and illustrated with a woodcut series that established the illustrative cycle for the text.

Guido de Columna’s work on the fall of Troy was one of the main sources for the history of Troy from its composition in the 13th century into the Renaissance. Homer, highly praised by Aristotle for poetic genius, also exerted a profound influence on Greek and Roman historians, providing an important source of secular history from antiquity to the modern era; excavations at Troy demonstrate the historical basis, showing a correlation between the site and Homer’s account of Troy. Columna, a troubadour at the courts of Friedrich II and later of Edward I of England, took as his chief source the 12th-century Roman de Troye by Benoît de Saint-Maure, thereby overlaying a model for chivalric romance onto the Homeric saga. The work’s popularity is attested by the 28 editions in 7 languages produced in the first 50 years of printing. In the translation by Hans Mair, the work is ‘probably the oldest and undoubtedly most successful translation into early high German prose’ (VL 6: 1180).

Presumably owing to the extreme rarity of the work and few opportunities to examine it first-hand, the number of woodcuts is variously recorded, but both the present and British Library copies contain 67 cuts. They are assigned to the Bämler Master, active over a 20-year period for the Augsburg’s second printer, and 7 blocks were first used in Bämler’s 1473 edition of Alexander Magnus. Forty-three new blocks were created for the Columna, and the series directly influenced all subsequent editions.

ISTC records only the copy at the British Library (considerably shorter by 36mm) and a single leaf preserved at Berlin; GW additionally records a copy once in the Ermlitz/Apel collection (O. Günther, Wiegendrucke der Leipziger Sammlungen, 16). Cf. H.-J. Dreckmannn, Das Buch von Troja’ von Hans Mair. Kritische Textausgabe und Untersuchung, Munich: 1970. HC 5514; GW 7233; BMC II 332; Schreiber 4131; not in Goff.

Chancery folio (285 x 194mm). 67 woodcuts from 50 blocks by the Bämler Master, including one full-page, 9 of which are fully coloured by an ?18th-century hand, woodcut Lombard initials, several also coloured. The woodblocks appear to have been printed separately from the text, mostly evidenced by bearer type on fo. 30v, with the text printed first, not as stated in BMC. (First quire discreetly reinforced at hinge, upper margin of fo. 2 renewed, occasional repaired neat marginal tear, very occasional small stain, title with a few small marginal repairs and 2 small marginal holes.) Modern brown morocco by H. Pellier, older red speckled edges.


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