SALOMO III (Bishop of Constance [891-920] and Abbot of St. Gall, attributed to). Glossae. [Augsburg: Monastery of SS. Ulrich and Afra, c. 1474].
Royal 2° (390 x 275mm). Collation: 112 210(+-5) 3-1410 158 16-2810 298 (1/1 blank, 1/2 text A-O, 16/1r P-Z, A-Z). 287 (of 288, without first blank) leaves. 55 lines. Type: 1:105R. Woodcut initials, all but the last with contemporary colouring in yellow, red or green wash, two initials supplied in red, a few small initial spaces, red capital strokes. Bearer type on numerous leaves. (Small, unremarkable wormholes in first and final quires.) 18th-century blindstamped pigskin-backed boards covered with vellum MS leaves, title written at head of spine with modern gilt tooling, blue speckled edges. Provenance: Passau, monastery of St Nicholas-without-the-walls (contemporary inscription on first leaf and later bookplate); Munich, Royal Library (duplicate stamps).
FIRST EDITION of an encyclopedic work rivalling the Catholicon of Balbus, and printed at the short-lived press at the Benedictine monastery of SS. Ulrich and Afra. Having been established under its abbot Melchior von Stammheim in 1472, the press ceased operation shortly after his death in Janaury 1474. The Glossae was printed from a now lost manuscript written in 1145 for the monastery, and the remarkable romanesque woodcut initials presumably imitate ones in the manuscript. The size of the book clearly strained the resources of the monastic printing shop, so that the ligature Qu and capital R ran out in the final quire; Qu is supplied in manuscript and K is substituted for R. Its attribution to Salomo, Bishop of Constance, under whose abbacy St. Gall reached its apogee, first arose in later centuries.
A LARGE, FRESH COPY. Rare on the market; only one imperfect copy has been offered at auction in the past 25 years. (Cf. Curt F. Bühler, 'Remarks on the Printing of the Augsburg Edition (c.1474) of Bishop Salomon's Glossae', Homage to a bookman, Essays ... for Hans P. Kraus, Berlin: 1967, 133-136; and Rolf Schmidt, 'Die Klosterdruckerei von St. Ulrich und Afra in Augsburg (1472 bis kurz nach 1474)' Augsburger Buchdruck und Verlagswesen, Wiesbaden: 1997, 141-152.) H *14134; BMC II, 340 (IC. 5767-8); CIBN S-52; Klebs 877.1; Goff S-21.