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The first book to mention falconry in its title

Acquaviva, Belisario. De venatione et de aucupio, de re militari et singulari certamine.

Naples, Jean Pasquet de Sallo, 1. VIII. 1519.

Folio (220 x 303 mm). 2 parts in one volume. XXII ff.; XXI, (1) ff. With woodcut printer's device at end. 18th century Italian red morocco, flat spine gilt.

Rare first edition of this work on falconry and hunting; likely the first book to mention falconry and wildfowling ("aucupium") in its title. Separate chapters discuss gyrfalcons and peregrine falcons, their plumage, their health and illnesses, etc.

Acquaviva (1464-1528), later the Duke of Nardò, was a statesman and condottiere for the Aragonese kings of Naples. He dedicates the work to his brother Andrea Matteo, with whom in childhood he studied the Cynegetica, a famous didactic poem about hunting and horsemanship. The author's literary connections earned him two prefaces by Neapolitan humanists, by Crisostomo Colonna and by Antonio Galateo. The book's second part discusses military matters and duels.

The printer Pasquet issued the work alongside another title by Acquaviva on the education of princes, "De instituendis liberis principum", and his educational tract on household and agricultural matters, "Paraphrasis in economica Aristotelis". A contemporary ink reference to the latter work on the title page may indicate that this was once, as it was frequently, bound with Acquaviva's falconry book.

First leaf stained and remargined on all sides with loss of a few letters on verso. Some brownstaining; binding slightly rubbed. Still a fine copy from the collection of Thomas Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe (1862-1956), commander of the Territorial Army and president of the Society for Army History Research.


Edit 16, CNCE 238. Schwerdt I, 40. Cf. Harting 301 (listing a previous edition printed by Pietro Perna in Basel, 1518, which was actually produced in 1578).