Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


Hieronymus Balbus, Epigrammata ([Leipzig]: [Conrad Kachelofen], [c. 1490-95])


IIIF Drag-n-dropIIIF Manifest

This text is the fourth in a Sammelband (IKUL 031) of seven texts, and it is by the famous Venetian poet Hieronymus Balbus. Balbus was a master of classical Latin, specializing in the ancient classics, and was employed at several universities in various countries. Besides this, he was an adviser in administrative matters to the kings of France, Italy, Austria, Hungary and other countries, and his name was well-known in Europe as far north as Germany.

The book has no imprint, but one can deduce from the types that it was printed by Conrad Kachelofen at Leipzig. Kachelofen was famous for his printer's device, which he used extensively, but neither this text nor the same copy listed in the GW carries Kachelofen's device.

Of the seven texts in the Sammelband, this is the only one which is not dedicated either to a person of the writer's own country or to a professor at the University of Leipzig. Instead it is dedicated to the chancellor of France, Guillaume de Rochefort (d. 1492); it was for him that Balbus wrote this text during his stay in Paris ( -1496), where it was first published in 1480. Because Rochefort is referred to as dominum at the end of the dedication, one can guess that for Balbus Rochefort was something of a patron.

Although it is not clear who was the printer of this work, there remains the distinct possibility that it was a reprint of the French edition, printed in Leipzig by someone who considered this work to be important for German students. The extensive textual annotations are not written in Latin alone, but also sometimes in German, which is strong proof that this text must have been used in support of lectures at a German university. Preceding the main text is part of an accessus in Latin, inserted by hand. It contains the vita of Balbus.

According to Kristian Jensen, such insertions are characteristic of the Leipzig University professors. Among the handwritten annotations within the main text are to be found other reminders of the manuscript era, such as initials and rubrications. From the fact that some of the German marginalia are underlined in red ink, one can conclude that this text probably passed through the hands of several German scholars.

  Jensen, Kristian, 'Exporting and Importing Italian Humanism: The Reception of Italian Printed Editions of Classical Authors and their Commentators at the University of Leipzig', Italia Medioevale e Umanistica, 45 (2004), 437-97



Balbus, Hieronymus
Place of Publication
[Conrad Kachelofen]


Date of Publication
[c. 1490-95]

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

28 leaves; initial capitals and paraph marks supplied in red; printed area ruled in red; heavily annotated in a contemporary hand.

Goff B17, HC 2248*, BMC III 629, GW 3177, IJL 047, IJL2 056, PP 44
Acquisition Year

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