Item #11995 Rerum gestarum per Europam ipsius præsertim temporibus Libri Sex [= Antapodosis and Historia Ottonis]. Bp. of Cremona Liutprandus.
Rerum gestarum per Europam ipsius præsertim temporibus Libri Sex [= Antapodosis and Historia Ottonis].
“THE LIVELIEST HISTORY THAT HAS EVER BEEN WRITTEN” — WADDELL

Rerum gestarum per Europam ipsius præsertim temporibus Libri Sex [= Antapodosis and Historia Ottonis].

Paris, J. Bade van Assche (Badius Ascensius) for Jean Petit 1514.

Folio (285 x 202 mm.). [iv], xlii leaves. Three series of fine white-line metalcut criblé initials, title in an elaborate four-block architectural woodcut with armor, grotesques, putti, masks, portrait medallions, fierce dolphins and Neptune, a Bade woodcut title device.

Half brown morocco and cloth (Sangorski & Sutcliffe), flat spine, vertically gilt-lettered title.

            EDITIONES PRINCIPES. Liutprandus is “THE MOST INTERNATIONAL AUTHOR…OF THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES” (Chiesa). Both memoir and chronicle, his idiosyncratic Antapodosis incorporates scurrilous verse and reveals his familiarity with Greek. The Historia Ottonis adopts a more traditional approach. Together the two works remain fundamental sources for the history of Europe and the Middle East in the 10th century.
           Born in Pavia into a wealthy family of merchants and diplomats, Liutprandus served two kings and an emperor, led embassies to Byzantium and witnessed first-hand the dissolution of the Carolingian dynasty. In the 950s, he began writing the Antapodosis as an act of retaliation against his political archenemy, King Berengar II of Italy (c. 900-966). Liutprandus has no shame. He tells of Berengar’s mother-in-law, Willa, stealing a girdle and hiding it inside her vagina, only to be exposed by her servant. Later Liutprandus relays the tale of another Willa, Berengar’s wife, who cheats on her husband with an ugly priest and has him castrated despite his enormous penis. Liutprandus also reports on the Vatican Pornocracy, Pope Formosus’ Cadaver Synod, raids by Hungarians, Normans and Saracens, mass murder, disease, corruption, incest and betrayal. In his final chapter, the author describes marvelous automata, acrobatic spectacles and luxurious banquets at the court of the Byzantine emperor. He dedicated his work to the envoy of a Muslim caliph.
            More traditional in scope and style, the Historia Ottonis has a much narrower focus, treating the Italian politics of Emperor Otto I — the author’s new protector — and his conflict with the papacy from 960 to 964. Guillaume Petit (c. 1470-1536) edited these texts from a French royal manuscript that treated them as a single, seamless narrative. His conjectural emendations appear in the margins.
            This copy belonged to medieval historian Giles Constable (1929-2021; bookplate). Laid in the book, a letter to him from E.P. Goldschmidt, dated September 1948 provides additional information and notes that it figures in his forthcoming catalog (Catalogue 79 151). In good condition (three wormholes touching one or two letters per page, one old marginal repair, final leaf backed on the blank verso with old paper), many lower edges uncut.
¶Waddell, The Wandering Scholars 76; Liutprandus, Antapodosis ed. Chiesa; Goldschmidt, Medieval Texts and their First Appearance in Print 73; Repertorium fontium historiae medii aevi VII: 306; Renouard, Bibliographie des impressions et des œuvres de Josse Badius Ascensius III: 9-10; BP16 102556.

Item #11995

Price: $5,800.00