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"Editio princeps of the Gospels in Arabic" (Darlow/M.)

[Biblia arabica - NT]. Evangelium Sanctum Domini nostri Iesu Christi conscriptum a quatuor Evangelistis sanctis, id est Matthaeo, Marco, Luca et Iohanne.

Rome, typographia Medicea, 1590(-1591).

Folio. 368 pp. With 149 large woodcuts. Early 19th century auburn morocco with gilt spine, ornamental gilt borders and blindstamped cover ornaments. Marbled endpapers.

Rare first edition of the Gospels in Arabic; the first work to be issued from the Medicean Press, directed by G. B. Raimondi. Printed in Granjon's famous large fount, generally considered the first satisfactory Arabic printing type and appearing here for the first time. Apart from the Latin title and colophon, the book is in Arabic throughout. Also in 1591 an Arabic-Latin edition was issued, more common than the present one and reprinted in 1619 and 1774. Illustrated with 149 large woodcuts from 67 blocks by Leonardo Parasole after Antonio Tempesta.

Some various browning throughout as common; slight waterstaining near end. Old ownership stamps of the "Collegium Missionum Nigritiae" on title page; includes photocopy of ownership transferral by the Biblioteca Seminario Vescovile of Verona. An uncommonly appealingly bound example. The Hauck copy commanded $75,000 at Sotheby's in 2006.

Adams B 1822. Mortimer 64. Darlow/Moule 1636. Fück 54. Schnurrer 318. Smitskamp 374.