Maffei, Raffaelo. Commentariorum urbanorum Raphaelis Volaterani, octo & triginta libri [...]. Item Oeconomicus Xenophontis [...].

Basel, Hieronymus Froben & Nicolaus Episcopius, 1544.

Folio (240 x 349 mm). (21) ff., 1 blank f., 468 ff., With woodcut printer's device to title-page (repeated on verso of final leaf) and several optical and geometrical sketches, tables, etc. Contemporary blindstamped full calf over wooden boards. Traces of clasps.


Second Basel edition of this important geographico-historical compendium, published by the famed humanist printers Froben and Episcopius, who had previously printed the work in 1530.

The Italian Humanist Raffael Maffei (1451-1522) served as "scriptor apostolicus" to the court of Pope Paul II but also studied theology and philosophy with the Greek scholar George of Trebizond (1395-1484). Only later did he relocate to Volterra, where he created his most famous works. First published in Rome in 1506, his "Commentaria" offer a veritable encyclopedia of Renaissance knowledge: of the 38 "books", the first twelve treat of geography, the next eleven of famous men in history, with the remainder discussing modern science and scholarship, especially language and philology. Within this framework Maffei touches upon subjects so diverse as plants and animals, metals, gems, architecture, mathematics, geometry, optics, astronomy and astrology, grammar, rhetorics, and the fine arts. Specifically, he mentions the voyages of Christopher Columbus (ff. 139f.) and the geography of Muslim Arabia (f. 131) as well as the discoveries of the Portuguese and Spanish seafarers. The massive work served Conrad Gesner as a source for his "Bibliotheca universalis". The present edition contains a detailed index and includes, at the end, the author's translation of Xenophon's dialogue "Oikonomikos".

Binding a little scuffed with professional repairs, also to spine. An old ownership erased from the title-page; a small wormhole to the blank margin of the final four leaves. A good copy.

VD 16, M 115. Adams M 103. Sabin 43768. Harrisse (BAV) 257 & Add. 146. Alden/Landis 544/13.