Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


Sextus Aurelius Propertius, Elegiae (Leipzig: Martin Landsberg, 1 Feb. 1495)


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This is text number six of seven texts that were bound together in one volume (IKUL 031) at the end of the 15th century. As with text number five of this volume (Tibullus, IKUL 031e), it is an elegy written by a Roman classical author, in this case Propertius. During the Middle Ages, Propertius was widely read among German scholars, but it was the humanist movement, spreading from Italy to northern Europe, that sparked a re-evaluation of his works. This elegy, which is dedicated to a friend, is a text that was hardly studied in academic circles during the 15th century. The preface explains that it was edited under the guidance of Jacobus Barinus ( -1497), a professor at the University of Leipzig. Like his university colleagues, Jacobus Barinus co-operated with printers, editing and reissuing works imported from Italy in order to use them for his own lectures. At the University of Leipzig he was known as a researcher on classical authors, and was considered to be a humanist scholar. One of his own works is a textbook on the art of writing, the ars scribendi, but this was used not so much for teaching as for self-study.

Although the printer of this text, Martin Landsberg (d. before 14 July 1523), set the lines using wide, white-line spacing to allow room for the students' own annotations, there are no interlinear glosses to be found in this Keio copy; there are in fact only a few manuscript notes, almost all of which are in German. These German annotations are not an exact translation of the Latin text, but appear to substitute a Latin expression with a German saying. They have apparently been inscribed by one single hand, using red ink. A number of red underlines, used for emphasis, are found in the main text. From the bibliographical marks one can conclude that this copy has not been used in the way that was intended – namely, for providing teaching material.

In the same year as the publication of this copy, 1495, this text was also printed in Italy (Goff P1040). Propertius was almost exclusively printed in Italy, so this Landsberg edition is an exception; it indicates the strong interest in the Italian classic text by the single mind in Leipzig responsible for having Propertius printed.



Propertius, Sextus Aurelius
Place of Publication
Martin Landsberg


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

82 leaves; some annotations in a contemporary hand; headings and underlines in red.

HC 13403, BMC III 638, IJL 248, IJL2 313, PP 44
Acquisition Year

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