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Historiale description de l'Ethiopie. Antwerp, Plantin, 1558

in The Plantin Press Online

(1,273 words)

Record ID cp011642
Voet reference number 53A
Museum Plantin-Moretus c:lvd:1132823
Author Franciscus ALVAREZ
Title page transcription HISTORIALE ‖ DESCRIPTION ‖ DE L'ETHIOPIE, ‖ Contenant vraye relation des terres, & païs du ‖ grand Roy, & Empereur Prete-Ian, l'assiette de ses ‖ Royaumes & Prouinces, leurs coutumes, loix, & ‖ religion, auec les pourtraits de leurs temples & au- ‖ tres singularitez, cy deuant non cogneues. ‖ Auec la table des choses memorables conte- ‖ nues en icelle. ‖ ⊕ 7 ‖ EN ANVERS, ‖ De l'Imprimerie de Christofle Plantin, ‖ à la licorne d'or. ‖ 1558. ‖ AVEC PRIVILEGE ROYAL.
Collation 8⁰ [115]: *⁸, ¶⁸, A-Z⁸, a-t⁸, v⁵; folios [1 recto-16 verso], 1 recto-341 verso (Errors: 128 for 126, 126 for 128, 302 for 312, 323: 2 upside down)
Fingerprint 155808 - # a1 2* ssai : # a2 q5 t$a - # b1 A t : # b2 v5 ,$t^155808 - # a1 2* ssai : # a2 q5 t$a - # 1b1 A t : # 1b2 Z5 que - # 2b1 a t : # 2b2 v5 ,$t
Number of sheets 44.75
Pages [1 recto]: Title [1 verso]: Privilege (Brussels, 6 October 1557, signed by P. de Lens) [2 recto-4 verso]: Au tresvertueus signeur, monsigneur Baltasar Schetz, Iehan Bellere… [5 recto-15 verso]: Table (on two columns) [16 recto-verso]: Blank 1 recto-341 verso: Text (italic type; parts in roman type; marginals)
Edition information
Illustrations Woodcuts: 1) 1 illustration, c. 60 × c. 50, on folio 8 verso, representing a constellation of stars 2) 6 illustrations of varying sizes, representing ground-plans of Ethiopian churches (folios 139 verso, 141 recto, 143 recto, 144 verso, 145 verso) and the general aspect of one of these churches (folio 145 recto)
Copies Museum Plantin-Moretus - R 23.23KBR Royal Library of BelgiumGhent University LibraryBritish Library LondonBiblioteca Nacional de EspañaBibliothèque nationale de FranceMazarine, ParisPostel AbbeyUtrecht University LibraryUniversity Library Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Bibliographical references Ruelens-de Backer, pages 15-16 (1558, no. 3) G. Atkinson, La littérature géographique française de la Renaissance, Paris, 1927, no. 117Cockx-Indestege, E. Belgica typographica 85 Claude Sorgeloos, Labore et constantia. A collection of 510 editions issued by Christopher Plantin from 1555 till 1589. Introduction by Leon Voet. Brussels, 1990, nr. 6
Online bibliographical references STCV c:stcv:12918626
Note 1 The work of Alvarez is preceded by the narrative of André Corsal, a Florentine traveller, who in those years visited India. The narrative of Corsal comprises: 'Discours sur la première et seconde lettre de André Corsal, Florentin' (Introduction by a not named editor, to be identified with J.B. Ramusio, explaining that these two letters of Corsal are given as an introduction to the narrative of Alvarez) (folios 1 recto-4 recto), Letter of Queen Helena, mother of King David of Ethiopia, to Emmanuel, King of Portugal, 1509 (4 verso-7 verso), First letter of Corsal to Julian de' Medici, Cochin, 6 January 1515 (8 recto-17 verso), Second Letter of Corsal to Duke Laurent de' Medici, 18 September 1517 (18 recto-38 verso).
Note 2 The narrative of Alvarez (42 recto-318 verso) is preceded by a 'Preface excusatoire de M. Ian Baptiste Rhamusio, sur le discours par luy reduit en la déscription du Voyage fait en Ethiopie par Dom Francisque Alvarez' (39 recto-40 verso), and followed by: 'Discours sur les lettres et ambassades des tres-hauts et puissants Roys de Portugal, et d'Ethiopie' (being an introduction to the documents transcribed in the following pages) (318 verso-319 recto); letter of John, King of Portugal, to Pope Clemens VII, 28 May 1532 (319 verso-321 verso); copy of letters of King David of Ethiopia to King Emmanuel of Portugal, 1521, forwarded to Pope Clemens VII (321 verso-331 verso); letters of King David to Pope Clemens VII, 1524, presented to the Pope by F. Alvarez (332 recto-340 recto); text of the 'discours' by Alvarez when presenting the letters to Pope Clemens VII [January 1535] (340 verso-341 verso).
Note 3 Reprint of the edition published by Jean Temporal, Lyons, 1556, in-folio: Tome second de l'Afrique, contenant les navigations des capitaines portugalois, et autres faites audit pais, iusques aux Indes, tant Orientales, que Occidentales, parties de Perse, Arabie Heureuse, Pierreuse, et Deserte (t. I. reproduces Jean Leon, Historiale description de l'Afrique, tierce partie du monde; hence, this publication is mostly quoted: Jean Leon, Historiale description de l'Afrique, in 2 volumes), first part, pages 126-160, and second part, pages 1-263. The illustrations are also copied from this Lyons-edition. The Lyons-text has been literally reproduced, but Plantin dropped part of the heading of the first letter of Corsal, stating that it was 'Confrontée avec le Ptolemée, et traduite de Tuscan en Francoys par le Seigneur Gabriel Symeon'.
Note 4 The Lyons-edition itself is a French translation of the text published, in Italian, in the first volume of the collection of Navigationi e viaggi, edited by Giovanni-Baptisto Ramusio and issued by Giunti, Venise (first edition 1550; second edition 1554). In the 'Discours sur la premiere, et la seconde lettre de André Corsal' Ramusio explains the genesis of this particular 'Navigatione e viaggio': having received the text of the two letters of Corsal, speaking, inter alia, of the possibilities of sailing to Ethiopia, he happened to show them to Jules Speron of Padua. Speron told him he heard from Damian Goes (= D. a Goes: Dutch humanist and traveller) that two Portuguese ambassadors had visited Ethiopia and that their tribulations were noted down by F. Alvarez; he suggested to print this narrative and to have it preceded, as a kind of introduction, by Corsal's letters. Ramusio and his publisher, Thomas Giunti, found this an interesting idea. They could obtain a copy of Alvarez's narrative from Damian a Goes in Holland, but discovered in the meantime that it had already been printed in Portuguese in Lisbon. A copy of this publication was also ordered. Ramusio's explanation becomes now somewhat unclear. It seems as if the Portuguese edition was rather corrupt and that for his Italian translation he preferred to follow the text obtained from D. a Goes, or, in any way, that he used this text to amend the Portuguese version. His publisher, T. Giunti, also liked to add the letters of King David to King Emmanuel of Portugal and to Pope Clemens VII as presented to the Pope in 1535 - which seems to imply that these texts were missing in the Portuguese edition. This Portuguese edition was, actually, not printed in Lisbon, but in Coimbra, by L. Rodriguez, in 1540, under the title Verdadera informaçam das terras do Preste Joam segundo vio y escreveo ho padre Francisco Alvarez capellā del Rey nosso Senhor. Of this Portuguese text, a Spanish translation was published in 1557 at Antwerp by J. Steelsius (copy in KBR Royal Library of Belgium, LP 3006 A).
Note 5 Part of the edition received a title-page with the imprint of the Antwerp publisher J. Bellerus. It was, in fact, J. Bellerus who wrote the dedicatory to the Antwerp merchant, Balthasar Schetz.
Note 6 The work was already on the market in February 1558: 75 'Description historiale d'Ethiopie' were shipped to Martin le Jeune and 25 copies to the widow l'Angelier, both in Paris, on 11 February 1558 for a total value of 30 florins Carolus guilders, meaning thus 6 stuivers a piece (Arch. 34, pages 19-21). Another 100 copies were sent to Frankfurt on 11 March 1558 (Arch. 34, page 22).
Note 7 Listed in M 296, folio 58 recto, under the works published by Joannes Bellerus (Description d'Ethiopie, 8⁰, [price:] stuivers 6).
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