Specimen from the Viennese Imperial Oriental Academy

[Stürmer, Ignaz von (ed.)]. Anthologia Persica, seu selecta e diversis Persis auctoribus exempla in Latinum translata ac Mariae Theresiae Augustae honoribus dicata a Caesarea Regia Linguarum Orientalium Academia.

Vienna, Joseph Edler von Kurzböck, 1778.

Small folio (214 x 286 mm). (22), 87, (1) pp. With engraved title-page, engraved vignette to printed title, and engraved head- and tailpieces to preliminaries. Late 19th century half calf, spine rebacked.


A specimen from the Viennese Imperial Oriental Academy founded in 1754, published anonymously but probably edited by the school's most brilliant pupil of the time, Ignaz von Stürmer, who had access to the well-stocked library of Bernhard von Jenisch. It would seem that this publication is the first to offer a chrestomathy devoted specially to Persian literature. The work includes 22 fables from Jâmî's Bahâristân, a qasîda by Sa'dî, a selection from 'Attâr's Pand-nâmah, and 12 biographies from Jâmî's Bahâristân. The Persian text is faced by a Latin translation. This constitutes the first use of the improved Meninski types, then a century old but rediscovered in 1748. The types were revised, after designs by the Syrian merchant Yusuf Sasati, by the printer Joseph von Kurzböck, who expanded the font to 520 characters. The publication of the Anthology was intended as a test run both for the typesetter and the editors of the re-edition of Meninski's Thesaurus.

The engraved title-page depicts an allegory of Virtue against the backdrop of the Hagia Sophia, emphasizing the Turkish-Austrian relationship despite the work's Persian interest. In 1784 Stürmer would publish a Turkish work, the Tarih-i Fanai, with the Meninski types.

Binding professionally repaired. Some brownstaining throughout. Provenance: Relief stamp of the British and Foreign Bible society to flyleaf.

Zenker I, 47f., 383. Diba 16 (18 pp. of prelims?, citing Jenisch as author). Durstmüller I, 218. Weiss 1839, 9, 19 & 28.