BOCCACCIO, Giovanni (1313-1375). Genealogiae deorum gentilium. Additions by Dominicus Silvester and Raphael Zovenzonius. Venice: Vindelinus de Spira, 1472.
Median 2o (332 x 230 mm). Collation: [110 (table of contents); 2-1210 1312 14-1810 196 20-2210 23-258 26-2910 3012(30/11+s2) (2/1r text, 24/8 blank, 27/8r first colophon, 27/8v subject index by Dominicus Silvester, 30/13v laudatory poem by Dominicus Silvester, poem to Jacobus Zeno, Bishop of Padua, by Raphael Zovenzonius, and second colophon, 30/14 blank)]. 294 leaves (of 295, final blank removed). 41 lines, tables in two columns. Type: 1:110R2. 2- and 4-line spaces for initials, most with printed guide letters. Illuminated half-border on first text page (2/1r) by a contemporary Italian artist, the side-border consisting of swirling vines with variously colored flowers and leaves emerging from an elaborate two-tiered vase resting on an exotic water-lily, the whole dotted with gold bezants on hair-line stems, top border of similar flowering vine decoration with gold bezants, illuminated initial on colored ground with white and gold filigree penwork (rubbed); the remainder of the text unrubricated and undecorated. Original manuscript quiring partly preserved. Two pinholes evident. In the heading to first text page and in the colophon on 27/8r the word "certaldo" has been erased and replaced with "Florentia" in a contemporary hand. (First leaf rehinged and with marginal repairs, one touching text, fol. 30/7 rehinged, a few other insignificant small marginal tears or repairs, occasional strengthening to gutters of middle sheets in quires, occasional faint marginal dampstaining or light soiling; lightly washed.) Late-19th-century russet morocco over thick boards, sides tooled and lettered in blind and gold with central coat-of-arms, spine with 5 raised bands, turn-ins ruled in gold, gilt edges, by L. Broca (slight rubbing to corners and extremities, 2 small scratches to covers).
Provenance: a few contemporary marginal study notes -- running-titles in Books 1-2 supplied in a later hand -- Charles Thomas-Stanford (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION of the first printed compendium of mythological lore. The most massive and erudite of Boccaccio's scholarly works, the Genealogia is an encyclopaedia of classical mythology, which traces the genealogy of the pagan gods and elucidates their moral signification. Particularly appreciated by humanist readers was the appendix, in which Boccaccio defended the study of pagan literature and of poetry in general, arguing for the permanent truth of the ancient myths and for the intrinsic moral value of poetic invention. The work is notable for being the first to contain secular genealogical trees; it was also the first humanistic work to contain quotations from Homer, consisting of approximately 50 citations taken from Leonzio Pilato's translation of the Iliad. As the single most accessible source of information on classical mythology, the Genealogia enjoyed great popularity in the Renaissance. In most later incunable editions Boccaccio's geographical dictionary De montibus, sylvis... (first printed by Vindelinus de Spira in January 1473) was joined to the Genealogy for handy reference.
Fully one-half of Vindelinus de Spira's output, like that of his brother Johann, was of classical texts, the remainder being devoted almost entirely to theology and law (all of the Venetian law books printed before 1473 were from de Spira's press). In 1473 de Spira was forced, for reasons unknown and probably unconnected with the crisis in the saturated book market, to sell his printing material to his managers Johannes de Colonia and Johannes Manthen, who for a short time apparently kept him on as foreman (cf. Scholderer, "Printing at Venice to the End of 1481," Fifty Essays, p. 78). He resumed printing under his own name for only a few months in 1476-1477.
This copy has the variant setting of quires 2-6 (cf. GW Anmerkungen, and BMC note).
HC 3315*; BMC V, 162 (IB. 19555); BSB-Ink. B-583; CIBN B-542; GW 4475; Harvard/Walsh 1528-30; IGI 1796; Pr 4045; Goff B-749.