CASSIODORUS, Magnus Aurelius (ca. 480-ca. 583). Historia ecclesiastica tripartita. [Augsburg]: Johann Schssler, 'circiter' 5 February 1472.
Super-chancery 2o (318 x 214 mm). Collation: [112 2-910 106 1110(10+1) 12-1910 206] (1/1 blank, 1/2r text, 20/4r colophon, 20/4v, 20/5-6 blank). 194 leaves (of 195, without 20/5 blank). 35 lines. Type: 1:117G. Two- to seven-line initial spaces. Rubricated with large green or red Lombard initials, a few with pen-flourishing, smaller red calligraphic initials. Two pinholes visible, one each in upper and lower margin. Traces of manuscript quiring in lower left corner of rectos. (Faint dampstain to blank margins of first ca. 25 leaves, printer's ink smudge to 11/6v, a few small wormholes.)
Binding: contemporary south-German red-stained alum-tawed skin over wooden boards (some wear, small losses to front cover, the spine painted gray, some worming to pastedowns, old repairs to pastedowns): the covers tooled with broad triple fillets to a double frame enclosing a central panel tooled to saltire pattern; stamps include a rosette in a square frame, a palmette, a gryphon, a banderole lettered "Maria hilf", a fleur-de-lys and an oblong floral tool, an Augsburg binding (Kyriss shop 90: Wundervogel); two clasps; without the ten center- and cornerpiece bosses; original vellum label on front cover; vellum sewing guards to first and last quires cut from a 14th-century manuscript; new cloth folding case.
Provenance: Oswald Tysentaler, vicar in Schärding, 1472: autograph gift inscription on 1/1r (Ego Oswaldus Tysentaler vicarius ex tunc in Scherding presentem librum motus singulari affectu ... donavi ... Anno incarnationis dominice Moccccolxxijo in cuius rei evidenciam ... hic manu me inscripsi prosidente [sic] ... in Christi patre domino Thoma abbate et fratre Friderico Flokch plebano ibidem) -- Bundesdenkmalamt: stamp on front pastedown -- Boies Penrose: bookplate -- Boies Penrose II: bookplate.
FIRST EDITION of the work used in the Middle Ages as a principal guide to the history of the Christian church from the Council of Nicaea (325) to 439, i.e., the period subsequent to that covered by Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History. The text of the Tripartite History consists of extracts from the ecclesiastical histories by Theodoret, Sozomen and Socrates, whose works had previously been translated from Greek into Latin by Epiphanius Scholasticus working under Cassiodorus' supervision. Cassiodorus, one of the most important figures of the sixth century, served as an official in the Ostrogothic kingdom of Theodoric before retiring to the monastery of Vivarium which he founded in southern Italy. At Vivarium he set himself to preserve the tools of Christian learning, and in his Institutiones divinarum et saecularium litterarum proposed a program of secular and religious studies which greatly influenced the educational practice of the Middle Ages.
Johann Schssler, the second printer to establish a press at Augsburg, was a citizen of the city who had worked as a scribe and bookbinder before he learned printing from Johann Mentelin at Strassburg. In his short period of activity as a printer, between 1470 and 1473, he produced only ten books. Afterwards he sold his presses to the Monastery of St. Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg and was subsequently employed only as a bookseller and binder. Kyriss shop 90, which bound this copy of Cassiodorus, was probably Schssler's own bindery. A considerable number of its bindings are found on his editions, and printed waste from his shop is found in at least one of them (cf. Doheny I, lot 39).
A TALL, FRESH COPY. HC 4573*; BMC II, 329 (IB. 5627); BSB-Ink. C-169; GW 6164; Harvard/Walsh 533; Pr 1594; Goff C-237.