BRUNUS ARETINUS, Leonardus (1369-1444). De bello Italico adversus Gothos gesto. Foligno: Johann Neumeister and Aemilianus de Orfinis, 1470.
Chancery 2° and royal half-sheet 4° [sheets 1/2.11, 1/3.10 and 4/1.10 only] (281 x 200mm). Collation: [1.. 2-610 7..] (1/1 blank, 1/2r text, 7/11r colophon, 7/12 blank). 72 leaves (of 74, without the first and final blanks). 29 lines. Type 1:124R. 3- to 6-line initial spaces. (Stained, several marginal replacements, last leaf cut down and mounted, a few letters strengthened in ink.) Modern citron morocco, spine lettered in gilt. Provenance: Jacob Manzoni (20th-century booklabel).
FIRST EDITION. THE FIRST BOOK PRINTED AT FOLIGNO, AND ONE OF ONLY THREE BOOKS PRINTED THERE IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Johann Neumeister, a native of Mainz, where he was almost certainly apprenticed to either Fust and Schoeffer or Gutenberg, is thought to have been among the "Moguntini calligrafi" recorded as working in Foligno as early as 1463. The other "calligrafi" have been identified with a compositor, a punchcutter, and a calligrapher, the first two of whom may be the "sotii" [i.e., socii] referred to in the colophon of the present work. Neumeister obtained the patronage of the papal mintmaster Aemiliano Orfini, who set up a printing press in his own house and sponsored this and the second of the three Neumeister editions, a reprint of the Sweynheym and Pannartz 1469 edition of Cicero, Epistolae familiares. The third product of Neumeister's press, and the last book to be printed at Foligno until well into the sixteenth century was the great Foligno Dante.
Although Bruni claimed the authorship of this first printed history of the barbaric invasions of Italy and the resulting wars, his role was actually limited to translating and editing the work by the Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea. The colophon of this copy has 'Eulginas' in the first line. HC 1558; BMC VI, 599 (IB. 25403); GW 5600; IGI 2188; Pellechet 1112; Goff B-1234.