Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


[A bound copy of seven works concerned with Neo-Latin verse and its composition]

[A bound copy of seven works of Neo-Latin verse and its composition]

IIIF Drag-n-dropIIIF Manifest

This book, the so-called Leipzig Sammelband, comprises seven different texts, all written in Latin, and was printed towards the end of the 15th century. The seven texts were produced by five different printers, of which four were attached to the University of Leipzig in Saxony, East Germany. The other, Heinrich Quentell, was based in Cologne, a city in the west of the country which had been famous since the Middle Ages.

All seven texts treat the subject of Latin verse and its composition. Two are works by classical Roman authors, while the other five are by the so-called 'humanists', who flourished at the end of the Middle Ages. The humanists created the field of study known as the studia humanitatis, meaning the re-evaluation of classical authors on a linguistic level. This meant that expressions that had been used in a clerical environment throughout the Middle Ages could now be taken apart to reveal their etymological origins.

The five printers who produced these seven texts were all in close contact with the university, and whether or not the texts were intentionally printed for university use, it can at least be said that all of them relate to humanistic studies. Five of the texts are heavily annotated by hand.

The two classical texts, by Tibullus (IKUL 031e) and Propertius (IKUL 031f), as well as the texts by the Italian humanists Mancinellus (IKUL 031a) and Mataratius (IKUL 031b), contain prefaces by different university professors who 'construct' their ideal readers via the rhetorical device of the Ad Lectorem, addressing them as if they were students listening to a lecture, an allusion to the practices of the manuscript era. The work of Corvinus (IKUL 031c), which is accompanied by a commentary, is a text by one of the leading Polish humanists at that time. The remaining two texts are by the famous Italian writer Hieronymus Balbus (IKUL 031d) and the German humanist Paulus Lescherius (IKUL 031g) (who taught at the University of Ingolstadt).

In the seven texts of this Sammelband are various interlinear and marginal glosses by various hands. Among the manuscript notes there are translations, grammatical references, textual supplements, and so on. The Balbus text further includes pictorial annotations by an inexperienced hand. It can be assumed that the texts were annotated by professors and pupils alike.

The overall theme of all seven texts, Latin verse and its composition, was an essential part of humanistic studies at the end of the 15th century. But it should be noted that this field of study was by no means obligatory. Students who chose the study of Roman classics and contemporary humanist texts did so as an elective subject. The courses would take place in the late afternoon, and students would either receive the texts to study from their professors on that day, or they would have prepared a manuscript copy of the text, which was read out aloud by a master student, in advance.

About the owner or collector of this Sammelband there is very little known. So far, it can be stated that in the Tibullus and Corvinus texts all the annotations have been inserted by an identical hand. It might therefore be appropriate to assume that this same person collected all seven texts.




Volume of seven texts [031a-g] in a contemporary German half pigskin leather binding over wooden boards engraved with blind stamping, using a ms fragment, a fully functional hook-clasp fastening with ornamental engraving.

Acquisition Year

Hartung und Karl, München 8 November 1988, lot 241.