TUDESCHIS, Nicolaus de ("Panormitanus") (d. 1453). Lectura super quinque libris Decretalium, I (i-ii). Venice: Johannes de Colonia and Johannes Manthen, 18 August 1476.
Royal 2o (412 x 282 mm). Collation: a-d10.8 e-i10 k8 l10 m8 n-q10 r8 s6 (a1r blank, a1v quire register, a2r Part i); aa-dd10 ee8 ff-kk10 "llmm"10 nn-qq8 (aa1r Part ii, qq8r colophon, qq8v blank). 306 leaves. 58 lines, double column. Types: 13:94G (text), 5:200G (headings). One 8-line, a few 5- and 6-line, and numerous 2- and 3-line initial spaces with printed guide letters. Opening initial illuminated by a contemporary German artist in green with modelled foliate decoration and geometric infill of parti-colored circles and squares in two shades of sepia, a leafy stem extending from the initial down the middle margin and dividing in the bottom margin into two interlacing vine branches with four finely detailed leaves and buds in various colors, the central stem bearing an armorial shield (blazed per pale indented sable and silver). Lombard initials and paragraph marks in red. Contemporary manuscript headings supplied in upper right corners throughout. (Occasional marginal worming, gutter repair to qq3, qq4-8 rehinged at an early date, last 2 leaves soiled, creased and with a few small marginal tears, occasional marginal foxing, some very minor dampstaining to lower margins, sheet s1.6 browned.) 16th-century German blind roll-tooled alum-tawed pigskin over wooden boards, sides tooled with ornamental medallion rolls including large roll of Luther, Frederick the Wise, Erasmus, Melanchthon and Duke Johann Friedrich, dated 1538 in the Melanchthon medallion (Haebler 1538.3), central panel of upper cover with date 1541, two brass fore-edge clasps, fore-edges lettered "Abb:et Anto Butrio sup:".
Provenance: contemporary marginalia, mainly in first 3 quires -- Milton F. Rúa, collector of early legal printing (sale, Sotheby's, New York, 13 June 1991, lot 140).
The first volume of the first complete edition of Panormitanus' massive commentary on the Decretals of Gregory IX, published by Colonia and Manthen in 6 volumes issued separately from 1475 to 1477. The Benedictine Nicolaus de Tudeschis, called "Panormitanus" following his elevation to the archbishopric of Palermo in 1427, was the foremost legal scholar of his day.
Johann of Cologne and Johannes Manthen of Gerresheim acquired the material of Wendelin of Speier when he ceased printing in 1473, and the partnership that they then formed, with Manthen managing the printing office, and de Colonia in charge of sales and distribution, was in fact a continuation of Wendelin's firm. Although (or because) both were businessmen rather than printers or scholars, their press flourished and came to rival that of Nicolas Jenson, with whom Manthen formed a syndicate shortly after de Colonia's death in the first half of 1480.
In this edition and other early editions a large space was left on the first page for a portrait of Pope Gregory VII, to be supplied by the purchaser. The edition is rare. The British Library has no copies of any volume, and only single volumes are held by America institutions, including three copies of part I. H 12308; CIBN T-348; Oates 1717; Goff P-44.