Incunable leaf from Lumen Animae. “The Light of the Soul”. 1482.

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An excellent example of incunable printing & rubrication from a curious medieval encyclopaedia.

Further images:  Feel free to request images of recto, verso, details.

The leaf is from the Lumen Animae (Light of the Soul), a curious encyclopaedia compiled about 1300 by Berengarius de Landora (see Notes). It gathers together quotations on relevant themes from authors as diverse as Aristotle, Theophrastus, the elder Pliny, Ptolemy, Solinus, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Isidore, Hugh of St Victor, and Avicenna to form a handbook of medieval knowledge of all sorts.  It contains chapters on medicine & natural sciences, the human constitution, psychic and abnormal states of the mind, the choice of food, prescriptions for physicians, animals, herbs, minerals, etc. Berengarius’ intention was to provide material for illustrative sermons by preachers, to explain the natural and moral world in terms of the all-pervading nature of God.  It was immensely popular in the 15th century as a reference work, a late medieval bestseller.

Verso: 43 lines of text in Latin printed in two columns on laid rag paper in two sizes of a Gothic typeface.  Headings, capital letters and paragraph marks hand touched in red. Some hand underlining in red. Four splendid Lombard calligraphic initials at the chapter headings alternating in blue and red.

Chapter 193 is titled De proditione (On betrayal) and Chapter 196 De proximo (On one’s neighbour).

Recto:  As Verso, with one penned initial in red.

Source:  Strasbourg.

Date:   22 March, 1482.

Printer:   Printer of the 1481 “Legenda aurea”,

Condition: This leaf is in very good/excellent condition, printed on quality rag paper with original margins and just very minor age-related spotting & light toning. Light bleed-through of he penned initials from Verso to Recto. The initials retain strong colour.  A few wormholes. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.  Archivaly mounted.

Size: approx. 275x200. mm.

Notes:  Berengarius de Landora was a French Dominican born into a noble family of Southern France.  Later in life he became the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela and is remembered for the building work he initiated on its Cathedral.  One of the cathedral’s towers bears his name.

Item: PSA182

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