With a humanistic manuscript

Pomponius Mela. De situ orbis. Hermolai Barbari fideliter emendatus.

[Venice], Giovanni Battista Sessa, 27. X. 1501.

4to. 32 pp. With printer's woodcut device on the title-page and different device under the colophon; several woodcut initials. Followed by a 49-page manuscript index (beginning with instructions to the "amice lector" on the verso of the colophon) on 28 blank leaves bound after the printed text. 19th century boards with red morocco spine lettered and decorated in gilt.


The first edition of the 16th century: a very rare reprint of the incunable published in 1494, the first separate edition to be based on the criticism of the Renaissance scholar Ermolao Barbaro. Dedicated to Pope Alexander VI. Mela's description of the ancient world, based on good sources and written during the reign of Emperor Claudius, is the oldest Roman geography to have survived. This edition was not equipped with an index, but a contemporary humanistic owner rectified the fault by crafting his own: the humanistic "cancelaresca" manuscript provides a list of all cities, places and even subjects mentioned, a total of some 1,000 references to 227 paragraph numbers (which the owner, too, provided in brown ink throughout the inner margins of the book).

Occasional slight foxing and waterstaining to margins near end, but a fine copy of this rare book.


Edit 16, CNCE 58712. Schweiger II.2, 606. Ebert 13608. Graesse V, 401: "Reimpr. rare de l'edition ... de 1494". Not in Adams, BM-STC Italian, or Riccardi. Not in Brunet or Dibdin.