JOHANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS (Saint, 345?-407). Sermones XXV magis morales. - Epistola ad monachum Theodorum. Translated from Greek into Latin by Christophorus Persona. [Rome: Georgius Lauer for the Monastery of Saint Eusebius, ca. 1470].
Chancery 2o and royal 4o half sheets printed by folio imposition (262 x 189 mm). Collation: [110 (1/1 blank, 1/2r prologue, 1/3r alphabetical table); 2-410 5-78 8-1010 11-128 (2/1r Sermones, 11/7v Epistola ad monachum Theodorum, 12/7v-12/8 blank)]. 108 leaves (of 110, without the blanks). 27 lines. Types: 1:128R, 128Gk on fol. 45r [5/5r]. 2-, 3- and 7-line initial spaces, a few manuscript guide letters supplied. Paragraph marks and one blue and one red initial supplied in table, the former with simple red penwork decoration, text unrubricated. Manuscript chapter headings supplied in red, chapter numbers and foliation in a different contemporary hand, original vertical manuscript catchwords in gutter margins at ends of quires partly preserved. Two pinholes visible, one in each outer corner, and occasionally a third at top of gutter margin. (Lower blank corner of fol. 1/9 torn away, small dampstain in lower gutter margins, one to two marginal wormholes in last 45 leaves, small holes from erasure of a heading on fol. 44 [7/8], not affecting text.) Eighteenth-century Italian vellum over pasteboard, mottled edges, gilt leather lettering-piece on spine, sewing guards from a 15th-century manuscript on vellum (front flyleaf nearly detached, tear to lower flyleaf); new cloth folding case.
Provenance: Pietro arga... (16th or 17th-century inscription on verso of last leaf).
FIRST EDITION of both texts, one of the first books from the fifth Roman press. Lauer's seven or eight earliest productions, the present edition included, were printed anonymously. Only one, an edition of St. John Chrysostom's Homilies completed at the Monastery of St. Eusebius on 29 October 1470, contains an indication of the place and date of printing. All are printed in the same irregular Roman type, resembling in its general characteristics a slightly smaller fount used for the St. Antoninus, Summa confessionum, dated February 1472, in which Lauer first identified himself. On this typographic basis alone these editions are ascribed to Lauer, a native of Wrzburg, and are dated to ca. 1470; they are assumed to have all been printed at the Monastery of St. Eusebius, although the exact nature of Lauer's association with the monastery is undocumented. At some point after 1470 Lauer set up on his own, possibly when the crisis in the book trade in 1472 made the monks unwilling to pursue the financially risky experiment (cf. Pollard, BMC IV, p. xii). For a time in partnership with Leonhard Pflugel, Lauer's press remained active until 1481.
Copies differ in the distribution of folio and quarto sheets. In the present copy quires 1, 2, 7, 8 and 12 are folio; quires 3-6 and 10 are quarto half sheets imposed as for folio; and quires 9 and 11 are mixed, as follows: sheets 9/1.10 and 9/3.8 are folio, 9/2.9, 9/4.7, and 9/5.6 are quarto half sheets; sheets 11/3.6 and 11/4.5 are folio, while 11/1.8 and 11/2.7 are quarto half sheets. Variant type-settings of 8 sheets are known (1/5.6, all of quire 7, 8/5.6, 9/1.10 and 9/3.8), but their possible relevance as issue-points is unclear.
HR 5039; BMC IV, 36 (IB. 17445 and 17446); CIBN J-198; IGI 5209; Pr 3403; Goff J-300.