MELA, Pomponius (fl. 43 A.D.). Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis. Venice: Franciscus Renner, de Heilbronn, 1478.
Chancery 4o (198 x 139 mm). Collation: a-f8 (a1r author's proemium, text, f8v colophon). 48 leaves. 26 lines, printed marginalia. Headings printed in red. Type: 5:109Rb=Maler and Ratdolt 1:109R. 6-, 5- and 4-line white-on-black woodcut initials. (Offsetting from a later inserted description on a1r, some soiling and damp-spotting in first few leaves, occasional faint marginal dampstaining, small repaired tear in first leaf slightly affecting woodcut initial, single small wormhole in first quire.)
Fourth edition. HC 11017*; BMC V, 195 (IA. 19867); BSB-Ink. P-686; CIBN M-282; Harvard/Walsh 1614-15; Klebs 675.4; Goff M-450.
DIONYSIUS PERIEGETES (fl. 124 A.D.). De situ orbis. Translated from Greek by Antonius Beccaria (ca. 1400-1474). Venice: Franciscus Renner, 1478.
Collation: a-c8 d-e6 (a1r dedicatory letter from the editor to Hieronymus de Leonardis, a3r text, e5r colophon, e5v table, e6v blank). 36 leaves. 26 lines, table in two columns, printed marginalia. Headings red-printed. Type: 5:109Rb. 5-line woodcut initials; the initials lightly colored in brown ink. (Some light staining, light damp-spotting at end, repaired marginal tear to e2.)
Second edition. H 6227*; BMC V, 195 (IA. 19865); BSB-Ink. D-178; GW 8427; Harvard/Walsh 1611-12; Klebs 340.2; Goff D-254.
Binding: contemporary Spanish blind-ruled sheep spine over plain wooden boards, indentations for original pair of fore-edge clasps, a later (16th- or 17th-century) brass and leather clasp at center of fore-edge, remains of contemporary title label on spine written in a Spanish textura hand, later Spanish library inscription on upper cover (recased, restorations to head and tail of spine, endpapers renewed.)
Provenance: a few contemporary marginalia, running titles (place names) in the first work in a 16th-century hand -- 17th- or 18th-century Spanish shelfmark inscription on upper cover (415 al catalago) -- M. Favia del Core: bookplate; sale, Lugano 1995, Guido Craveri, lot 35.
An interesting Sammelband, with early Spanish provenance, of two of the three geographical treatises printed by Franz Renner in 1478 with Ratdolt's material. The earliest surviving Latin work on geography and the only Roman treatise devoted exclusively to that subject, Mela's On geography exerted a considerable influence on later authors, partly through the extensive citations in Pliny. Dionysius Periegetes' didactic verse compendium of descriptions of the known world, possibly intended as a school text, enjoyed great popularity in the Renaissance, both through the prose translation of the Veronese humanist Antonio Beccaria and through Priscian's late classical verse translation.
Along with an edition of Johannes de Sacro Bosco, Sphaera mundi (Goff J-402), these two editions were issued soon after Renner set up his own shop after several years of partnership, having come into possession of the types and ornamental stock of Erhard Ratdolt, whose shop closed early in 1478. The editions reprint Ratdolt's editions of 1478 and 1477, using Ratdolt's type and woodcut ornaments, with the exception of his woodcut border. Renner seems to have sold the material within the year, as none reappears in his later editions. Like Ratdolt's editions, the two were apparently issued together and are occasionally found so bound. The three 1478 editions are the only works of scientific content among the two dozen editions that issued from Renner's press before he ceased printing in 1483.