PETRUS COMESTOR (d. ca. 1179). Historia scholastica. Augsburg: Günther Zainer, 1473.
Royal 2o (404 x 279 mm). Collation: [16; 2-910 106; 11-2310] table, 1/6v blank; Genesis-I Kings; II Kings-Acts, 23/8v colophon, 23/9-10 blank). 222 leaves, 7-220 foliated 1-214. 54 lines and headline, double column. Type: 3:107R. Woodcut initial capitals: 24-line scrolled border initial "I" (BMC Ia), 8-line Maiblumen initials (BMC 2a), 3-line outline Lombards (BMC 3a). Rubricated: initials colored red, paragraph marks and capital strokes in red. Inked bearer type visible on several pages. Blind impression of type from 1/4v col. 2 on 1/6r, as in BMC copy. (First leaf a bit soiled and stained and with a small adhesion covering 3 letters, a very few small marginal tears or paper flaws, occasional very minor worming in gutters, wormhole in last 3 leaves affecting 2 letters in last text leaf; sheet 9/3.8 printed on a sheet of rejected paper, somewhat soiled and defective; faint marginal dampstaining to last few leaves.)
Binding: contemporary blind-stamped South-German or Austrian brown goatskin over wooden boards, upper cover divided into concentric panels with triple thick and thin fillets, the compartments decorated with various arrangements of 10 tools: two different leaf tools, two 4-petalled flowers, a small acorn, leafy branch, Laubstab, fleur-de-lys, star and Greek cross, fillets forming a saltire pattern on lower cover, a single impression of the larger flower tool in each compartment and repeated impressions around border, the smaller flower tool stamped at intersections of fillets, the tools not in Kyriss or Schwenke-Sammlung; evidence of center- and corner-piece bosses and of two fore-edge clasps, plain paper label on upper cover (lettering faded), manuscript quire liners of narrow strips from a 12th-century Latin text with oratorical neumes, possibly a Christmas play, including references to gold and myrrh and the refrain hoi hoi hodie, later front endleaves from an ?18th-century manuscript on paper (text side pasted down, free endleaf blank; lacking clasps and bosses, rubbed, some worming, headbands worn, crack along upper joint.)
Provenance: Ramsau (Bavaria), Augustinian Hermits: 17th- and 18th-century inscriptions on first page (Liber Conventus frat. Erem. S. Augustini in Ramsau, Ad Conventum Ramsavsensem O. Eremit. S. Patris Augustini) -- Munich, Royal Library, duplicate: shelfmark Inc. type. num. 470 -- [Lathrop Harper 1986].
Probable FIRST EDITION of this popular medieval school text. This edition is traditionally given priority over the 1473 Utrecht and Strassburg editions (Goff P-459 and P-460), although the latter undated edition must not have been printed after 6 February 1473, date of a rubricator's inscription in the ex-Stuttgart copy. The Historia Scholastica, a world history based on the Old and New Testament by the French theologian Petrus Comestor, student of Peter Lombard and one of the first commentators on his Sententia, served until well into the sixteenth century as a basic school text for theological study. Essentially an abridgement and commentary on sacred history, the Historia contains much information drawn from rabbinical sources. As the formal model for numerous translations and adaptations in Latin and vernacular languages, it formed a link between Latin scholastic textual practices and vernacular narrative.
This edition is one of a handful of books printed in Zainer's first and purest Roman type, one of the earliest Romans to be cut in Germany. After 1473 Zainer reverted mainly to gothic founts, occasionally in conjunction with a smaller, more condensed Roman typeface.
A FRESH, WIDE-MARGINED COPY. No copies appear to have been sold at auction in the past 50 years. H 5531*; BMC II,319 (IC.5460); BSB-Ink. P-301; CIBN P-223; Goff P-458.