SOLINUS, Caius Julius (fl. 3rd century). De mirabilibus mundi. Venice: Nicolaus Jenson, 1473.
PRINTED ON VELLUM. Royal half-sheet 4° (260 x 167mm). Collation: [1-78 812] (1/1 blank, 1/2 contents, 1/4 blank, 1/5 text, 8/12 blank). 65 leaves (of 68, the 3 blank leaves replaced, probably at the time of binding by Kalthoeber). 33 lines. Type: 1:115R. First text leaf illuminated by a contemporary artist in the Veneto with 7-line initial in purple-pink, blue and green with lighter penwork decoration, and two-sided border of flowers, leaves and gold discs and concentric penwork tendrils, 2-line initials alternating in red and blue over printed guide-letters. (Section of lower margin on 1/5 replaced [removing an armorial?], small marginal repair to 6/6.) 18TH-CENTURY RED STRAIGHT-GRAINED MOROCCO GILT BY SAMUEL CHARLES KALTHOEBER, WITH HIS TICKET ON FRONT FLYLEAF, BOUND FOR EARL SPENCER, with his arms in concentric panels, the innermost shaped around flower tool, spine richly gilt, gilt turn-ins, leather joints, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, modern burgundy morocco-backed folding box. Provenance: Charles duc de Rohan, Prince de Soubise (sale Paris, January 1789, lot 5850, 830FFr) -- Count Karoly Imre Sandor de Reviczky (catalogue supplement, p.26) -- George John, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1836, binding, red leather label, accession number 3482 on front flyleaf) -- Manchester, John Rylands University Library (deaccession label, sale Sotheby's, 14 April 1988, lot 75).
THE SPENCER COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, PRINTED ON VELLUM. Solinus' compilation on the wonders of the world enjoyed wide circulation throughout the middle ages. Citations from it by authors such as Augustine, Isidore, and Bede attest to its influence from an early date, and the large number of surviving manuscripts from the 9th century and later (153, according to Mommsen, cf. Reynolds, Texts and Transmission) attest to its continued popularity. '[Solinus'] more striking and picturesque narratives are transferred almost in their entirety to medieval maps as late as the Hereford example' (C.R. Beazeley, The Dawn of Modern Geography, I, 1987, pp.247-272). Arranged geographically, it derives largely from Pliny's natural history and Mela's geography.
The present copy is one of only 3 vellum copies known. The other two are in London at the British Library and in Padua at the Biblioteca Capitulare. HC 14877; BMC V, 173 (IB.19670-3); CIBN S-302; Dibdin, Bibliotheca Spenceriana, II, p.359; Klebs 922.1; IGI 9084; Polain(B) 361; Van Praet, Catalogue des livres imprimés sur vélin ... dans des bibliothèques tant publiques que particulières, III, pp.4-5; Goff S-615.