PSALTER, Polyglot -- Psalterium Hebraeum, Graecum, Arabicum, & Chaldaeum, cum tribus latinis interpretationibus & glossis. Edited by Agostino Giustiniani (1470-1536). Genoa: Pietro Paulo Porro in the house of Nicolo Giustiniani Paulo, November 1516.
Imperial 4o (326 x 233 mm). Collation: A10 B-Z &8 \Kd\k6. 200 leaves. Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Roman types. 4 columns to a page, 41 lines. Title printed in red and black, headings to beginning of text printed in red. Title within fine woodcut arabesque border, woodcut printer's device at end, 13 woodcut floriated initials (5 Latin, 4 Hebrew, 2 Greek and 2 Arabic). (Some light dampstaining, gutter margin trimmed very close.) 18th century red goatskin over boards, sides with border of tripple fillet, spine gilt in 7 compartments, gilt lettered in second, rest tooled with a floral design (some light dampstaining, edges of upper cover with small central bump). Provenance: Jean Ballesdens, lawyer and bibliophile (1595-1675, ink signature on title).
FIRST POLYGLOT EDITION OF ANY PART OF THE BIBLE, the second book printed in Arabic, and the only book printed at Genoa in the 16th century. The Milanese printer Pietro Paulo Porro maintained a press at Turin with his brother Galeazzo. At some time between 1512 and 1516 the learned Dominican Agostino Giustiniani, Bishop of Nebbio in Corsica from 1514 and later Professor of Hebrew at Paris, summoned Porro to Genoa expressly for the production of this edition, which Giustiniani supervised and financed and for which he wrote the commentary. This includes a long note to Psalm 19, verse 4, on the life of Christopher Columbus and his discoveries (C7r-C8v), containing previously unpublished information on his second voyage.
The types were designed and cut for this edition under the Porros' direction. The text in eight parallel columns on double pages comprise Hebrew, a literal Latin translation from the Hebrew, the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint, Arabic, Aramaic (Chaldee), a literal Latin translation from the Aramaic, and scholia in the same languages. Giustiniani described his difficulties in selling the edition in his history of Genoa (1537), and recorded an edition size of 2,000 paper copies and 50 copies on vellum. Adams B-1370; Alden and Landis 516/4; Cowley 75; Darlow and Moule 1411; Fumagalli, pp. 170-171; Harrisse BAV 88; Sander 5957; Zedner 126.