Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


Antonius Mancinellus, Versilogus sive De componendis versibus opusculum ([Leipzig]: [Wolfgang Stöckel], 1496)

Versilogus sive De componendis versibus opusculum. With additions of Franciscus Mataratius and Johannes Sulpitius Verulanus

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This text, written in Latin, is an example of late-15th century Italian humanism, and provides instructions for the composition of Latin verse. Although it originated in Italy, it was printed in the Saxon city of Leipzig. The author of this text, the Italian writer Antonius Mancinellus, was from the city of Velterni, where he had his own school. He became widely known for his texts for scholarly use, not only within Italy, but also in many parts of northern Europe. The Keio copy is bound together with six other Latin texts of humanistic content (see IKUL 031), still in its contemporary binding. It was used in Leipzig for providing instructions on humanism. The printer of this text, Wolfgang Stöckel (1473-1526?), was born in Bavaria. In Leipzig he worked in the printing office of the famous 'Arnold of Cologne', which Stöckel took over when Arnold died. In 1490 he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Erfurt. He maintained a close relationship with this academic institution throughout his career as a printer.

It is well known that study-texts of classical authors spread quickly from northern Italy (mainly Venice) to the north of Europe. Included in this text is supplementary material by Franciscus Mataratius (1443-1518) and Sulpitius(?). The work attributed to the humanist Sulpitius dates from the end of the 15th century, and was printed in Italy in the same year as it was printed in Germany, 1496. One copy was printed in Venice, and one in Leipzig. Leipzig was a leading commercial centre by then, and hosted a large book fair three times a year. It was therefore of major importance for the importing of foreign books, and many new books from Venice were available almost immediately. These books did not enter the university directly, but were purchased by professors or printers who would edit the works in order to meet the demands of the local market.

The main reason why the university professors stayed in close contact with the printers was that they were interested in the commentaries on the texts imported from Italy, which they could use as classroom material to lecture on. The text in the Keio copy is composed so that the Mancinellus text represents the main part, with the Mataratius and Sulpitius texts providing two humanistic commentaries on it. The different roles of the texts can clearly be seen in the layout of the book. The printer set the main text to be studied with wide, white-line spacing, in order to allow room for annotations, but in the layout of the commentaries only single spacing is used. Such books usually belonged to professors rather than students. After studying the commentaries of the Italian humanists by themselves, the professors would require the students to write down their own interpretations of the text. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the Mancinellus text and the two supplements by Mataratius and Sulpitius were separate books before they were bound together in one volume.



Mancinellus, Antonius
Place of Publication
[Wolfgang Stöckel]


Date of Publication

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.

Bibliographical Notes

Aaa-Ccc6 Dd8; 26 leaves; margins are ruled in red; sometimes paraph marks supplied in red; heavily annotated in a contemporary hand.

Goff, M148, HR 10615, IJL 208, IJL2 260, PP44
Acquisition Year

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