Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


Gesta Romanorum ([Strassburg]: [Printer of the 1483 Jordanus de Quedlinburg (Georg Husner)], 13 January 1499)

Gesta Romanorum

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This book is a Latin version of the Gesta Romanorum that dates from the first half of the 14th century. Although the large number of extant manuscripts (111) testifies to the fact that this narrative was as popular as the Legenda Aurea by Jacobus de Voragine, there are no clear indications as to either authorship or where it was published. In contrast to the Legenda Aurea, which is just a compilation of saints' narratives, the Gesta Romanorum encompasses diverse narrative genres – such as legend, history, anecdote, animal lore, farce and romance – and it ends each story with a moralization. Because of the great richness of its content, the Gesta Romanorum has inspired numerous writers, from Shakespeare to Japan's Ryunosuke Akutagawa, who wrote in the 20th century.

A Latin version of the Gesta Romanorum was originally printed in Cologne in about 1472, and went through a series of editions and enlargements. As a result, there is no established figure for the total number of narratives in this work. Not much is known about the printer of Keio's Gesta Romanorum. However, analysis of the typeface points to an anonymous press known as the Printer of Jordanus de Quedlinburg, usually identified as Georg Husner. He also produced the De proprietatibus rerum by Bartholomaeus Anglicus, and the Legenda aurea by Jacobus de Voragine.

The Gesta Romanorum in the Keio University Library is printed in gothic type, and on some pages has a mark [H1], assumed to be that of the owner; one can find his autograph (R. R. Francis) below the table of contents. There are no handwritten markings, except in narrative 24. In addition, sheet L, comprising narratives 63 to 68, is incorrectly inserted before sheet K, comprising narratives 57 to 62. The book has 101 leaves and is bound in antique morocco.

  『ゲスタ・ロマノールム』伊藤正義 訳 (東京: 篠崎書房, 1998)
  Weiske, Brigitte, Gesta Romanorum, 2 vols (Tübingen: M. Niemeryer, 1992)



Place of Publication
[Printer of the 1483 Jordanus de Quedlinburg (Georg Husner)]


Date of Publication

Modern morocco in antique style.

Bibliographical Notes

π8 a8 b-o6 p8; 101 leaves (of 102); wanting p8; some contemporary(?) annotations; spaces for initial capitals, unrubricated throughout.

Goff G296, HC 7751*, GW 10902, BMC, I 146, IJL 151, IJL2 185, PP 71
Acquisition Year

Ad R. R. Franciscanos Bibliot: (signature; π2r).