Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


Marcus Junianus Justinus, Epitomae in Trogi Pompeii historias (Milan: Christophorus Valdarfer, 1 June 1476)

Epitomae in Trogi Pompeii historias

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Epitomae in Trogi Pompeii historias was authored by Marcus Junianus Justinus, a Roman historian (fl. in the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th century). It comprises excerpts from the Historiae Philippicae, a compilation of 44 books written by the Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, probably in the 1st century. Its concerns range widely, from the kingdoms of Assyria to the Roman Empire in the age of Augustus. Because the central concern of the narrative is a detailed history of the kings of the Macedonian Empire after Philip II, it could be called an 'Hellenistic history' or 'Mediterranean history'.

Justinus produced this work not by translating literally and mechanically but by selecting the more attractive stories and exempla from Trogus's Historiae Philippicae, particularly myths and legends. In the Middle Ages Epitomae was more popular than Historiae Philippicae, and it is extant in numerous manuscripts.

The colophon says that Christophorus Valdarfer, a German printer originally from Regensburg, published the Epitomae on 1 June 1476 in Milan. The binding is of vellum and was made around the 16th century; on the book's spine is stamped 'IUSTIN/HISTOR' (upper) | MEDIOI/1476' (lower) in gilt letters. The Epitomae in the Keio University Library is in a poor state of preservation, and a missal fragment of the 16th or 17th century that has been used as an underlay can clearly be seen in the damaged parts of the spine. The book is 27.5cm high, 19cm wide, and contains 108 leaves. Each chapter has large decorated initials in red or blue, occasionally accompanied by a small guide letter. The first page has a beautifully illuminated initial; border decorations in gold, blue, green and red in the margin of the page; and a coat of arms within a lower border.

Even though the Epitomae is registered as the first incunabulum to be held by the Keio University Library, there is no detailed information about its acquisition; however, the 1967 library journal lists it among the library's holdings. The front pastedown has a callmark label from the Markree Library, and a label from the Isseido bookstore in Kanda, Japan. In addition, there is old handwriting on the flyleaves and in the margins of almost all the pages.

  Rintaro, Ohta, 'Incunabula', Hakkakuto, 2 (1967), 8
  Tokunaga, Satoko, 'The First Report of the Keio Incunabula Project: A Checklist of Incunabula in the Keio University Library', The Round Table, 18 (2004), 7-21

(TsT; trans. by KT)


Justinus, Marcus Junianus
Place of Publication
Christophorus Valdarfer


Date of Publication

Seventeenth-century vellum binding over card boards; printed missal fragment of sixteenth or seventeenth century used for spine.

Bibliographical Notes

108 leaves; wanting the title page; on the first page is an illuminated initial and border decorations, with coat of arms within lower border; other initials in red and blue with guide letters; unfoliated and unsigned; some contemporary marginalia in italic.

Goff J617, HC 9650, BMC VI 726, IJL 194, IJL2 242
Acquisition Year
betw. 1952-1964

1. Markree Library (book label). 2.Isseido/一誠堂書店 (booklabel).