Extremely rare German incunable, vividly illustrated

Columna, Guido de. [Historia destructionis Troiae - German]. Die hystori Troyana.

[Augsburg, Johann Schönsperger, 1488].

Folio (195 x 266 mm). 148 ff. (of 158, lacking final blank, k3 and final 8 text leaves). 34 lines, gothic type. With 88 (instead of 90) half-page woodcuts. 17th century vellum.


Third edition of the German translation by Hans Mair, the 1474 editio princeps of which is the first printed edition of the "Tale of Troy" in any language. The Middle Ages knew Homer only by name and the Troy myth from Benoit Saint-Maure's "Roman de Troie". Guido de Collone's "Historia destructionis Troiae" is a condensed version of the latter and was widely translated throughout Europe. Until the 16th century the Troy Tales were taken as an established fact of world history, Troy marking the beginning of non-Biblical, secular history.

Ot the utmost rarity: only nine copies recorded, of which one is lost (Berlin) and four are incomplete: this includes the last copy seen in the trade (Antiquariat Günther, 55 frühe deutsche Drucke, No. 18, formerly the Donaueschingen Fürstenberg library). A single copy in America (Library of Congress).


H 5517. Goff C-778. GW 7236. Schreiber 4137. Proctor 1771. ISTC ic00778000.