A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site


June 2013

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)
Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Some how or another, it has turned out that S. Igantius’ Spiritual Exercises has played a cornerstone in my intellectual /Spiritual development. In a way It is the first ‘mystical’ text I read (or for that matter had easy access to).

Alas The S.E. sent me down many resplendent and divergent paths: Henry Suso, John Of Climax, Ricard Roll, John of The Cross, Miester Eckhard, Tauler.

After my first time thorough the Spiritual Exercises I read Hesse’s Siddartha. As a self proclaimed ‘Mystic Mulcher’

I ended up picking and choosing what seemed to fit with a naïf, but informed western form ready to be filled in. In college I studied non Literate forms of mysticism which Landed in a place where  Mircea Eliade     and Agehananda Bharati Directed me to find all I could about native american ‘Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy’. In a fortuitous ‘eternal return’ I was reading Jesuit ‘contact ethnographies’, of east cost spiritual practices.  Enter another theme, communication/translation and visual communication.   It seemed to me  at the time (and still does), that the function of ritual and process, is a cultural specific and in a sense aleatory path toward a shared experience of being of and within a group.  The Society of Jesus, embraced this in their north and south American missions (as well as their missions in Asia).  The material survival of these missions are enormous in both physical and cultural impact. I would like to think of a French Seventeenth century Jesuit in what is now Quebec with this copy of Les exercices spirituels  under his ‘Black Robe’  The images in this French edition depict a type of quest that the Iroquois would have access to. The “conquest of the souls” was an integral part of the constitution of Nouvelle-France.  In 1656 Sainte-Marie-de-Ganentaa (or St. Mary’s of Ganantaa) was the first of these  missions to be established, located among the Onondagas under Father Simon Le Moyne  (1604-1665).

On August 5, 1654, Father LeMoyne arrived in the Onondaga village with the French Jesuits. During his short stay, LeMoyne drank from a spring which the Onondagas believed to be tainted due to an evil spirit. Unlike the Onondagas who considered the salt springs evil, the French instead, saw them as a money-making enterprise.
Father Le Moyne noted in his diary that “We tested the water of a spring, which the Indians are afraid to drink, saying that it is inhabited by a demon, who makes it foul. I found the fountain of salt water, from which we evaporated a little salt as natural as that from the sea, some of which we shall carry to Quebec.”

Within thirteen years, the Jesuits had missions among all five Iroquois nations, in part imposed by French attacks against their villages in present-day New York state {I attended Syracuse University a hot bed of Onodagas}. As relations between the French Jesuits  and The Iroquois became closer the culture contact stresses took their bloody toll  the missions were all abandoned by 1708. The Iroquois of central New York did not respond to the Jesuits as their northern neighbors In order to train young Indians to the Catholic faith, a Seminary is opened near Quebec, at Notre-Dame-des-Anges in 1636. The first students were five young Hurons, who were followed by a dozen of young Montagnais and Algonquins in 1638-1639.  This was quite similar to the “Puritan experiment” at Harvard, but the results were quite different …maybe…

The Jesuits in America used methods which were comparatively respectful of the traditional way of life of the Indians, especially compared to the approach of the Puritans in New England. They required a conformity to their code of dress and behaviour.

     ” English civilization scorned and neglected him; French civilization embraced and cherished him.”

                  [Francis Parkman]
Jesuit missionaries learned Indian languages, and accepted Indian ways, to the point of conforming to them, especially when living among them. According to Jérôme Lalemant, a missionary must first have “penetrated their thoughts… adapted himself to their manner of living and, when necessary, been a Barbarian with them.”  To gain the Indians’ confidence, the Jesuits drew parallels between Catholicism and Indian practices, making connections to the mystical dimension and symbolism of Catholicism (pictures, bells, incense, candlelight), giving out religious medals as amulets, and promoting the benefits of the cult of relics!


Images from 350G
Les exercices spirituels de S. Ignace de Loyola … Traduits du latin en françois, par un Père de la mesme Compagnie. 1673 First Edition in French.

So the Relics, the Images, the Translation, all come together in this book.

DSC_0033350G Loyola, Ignatius. 1491-1556

Les exercices spirituels de S. Ignace de Loyola   Traduits du latin en françois, par un Père de la mesme Compagnie.

Anvers : M. Cnobbaert, 1673                  $4,700

Octavo, . First edition of this translation (second in french)

A-R8 S2 54 full-page plates

This copy is bound in contemporary full sheep, with some scratches. There is no cracking at the hinges. It is a very large copy with very good margins and is clean and crisp. A very nice copy. Translated by Antoine Vatier (S J Le P ) ; or P. Jennesseaux S.J. There is a portrait of Loyola by M. Cnobbaert see above.  This is an Illustrated edition of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, “the most famous modern textbook on ascetic discipline, the nature of sin, and Christian perfection by grace” (PMM) Illustrated with fifty four full page engravings, all in very strong and deep impressions. bound after the printed book is 24 pages of notes in a french seventh century hand! Probably notes by Sister Marie Philipine ( see the images below)

The Port. of St. Ignatius on leaf A1, t.p. on leaf A2. Port. of St. Ignatius by Michel Cnobbaert; cf. Backer-Sommervogel.  The translator is Antoine Vatier; cf. Backer-Sommervogel t. 5, col. 69 and Backer-Sommervogel t. 8, col. 490. The “Privilege du Roy” is dated 18 October, 1672, although the work was issued in 1673. Backer-Sommervogel, t. 5, col. 69.














The Voynich Again, No I don’t have one…

A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript,...
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript,...
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript,...
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript,...
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people believe that the Voynich manuscript—a book found in 1912 written in an unknown language with images of plants and astronomy—is a hoax. Cryptographers, mathematicians, and linguists have been trying to decipher the supposedly 15th-century text found by book dealer Wilfrid Voynich in 1912 for 100 years, with many deducing it’s just a nonsense language fabricated by Voynich himself.

But a new study has found the words may hold a real message after all, the BBC reports.

“It’s not easy to dismiss the manuscript as simple nonsensical gibberish, as it shows a significant [linguistic] structure,” says study author Marcelo Montemurro, a theoretical physicist at the University of Manchester.

Montemurro used computers to analyze the text, finding the semantic patterns were similar to known languages, but in a way he says Voynich couldn’t have known about in 1912 to make the language look “real.”

But although they have found the pattern, what the words actually say remains a mystery. “There must be a story behind it, which we may never know,” he says.


Written in Central Europe at the end of the 15th or during the 16th century, the origin, language, and date of the Voynich Manuscript—named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912—are still being debated as vigorously as its puzzling drawings and undeciphered text. Described as a magical or scientific text, nearly every page contains botanical, figurative, and scientific drawings of a provincial but lively character, drawn in ink with vibrant washes in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue, and red.

Based on the subject matter of the drawings, the contents of the manuscript falls into six sections: 1) botanicals containing drawings of 113 unidentified plant species; 2) astronomical and astrological drawings including astral charts with radiating circles, suns and moons, Zodiac symbols such as fish (Pisces), a bull (Taurus), and an archer (Sagittarius), nude females emerging from pipes or chimneys, and courtly figures; 3) a biological section containing a myriad of drawings of miniature female nudes, most with swelled abdomens, immersed or wading in fluids and oddly interacting with interconnecting tubes and capsules; 4) an elaborate array of nine cosmological medallions, many drawn across several folded folios and depicting possible geographical forms; 5) pharmaceutical drawings of over 100 different species of medicinal herbs and roots portrayed with jars or vessels in red, blue, or green, and 6) continuous pages of text, possibly recipes, with star-like flowers marking each entry in the margins.

For a complete physical description and foliation, including missing leaves, see the Voynich catalog record.

Read a detailed chemical analysis of the Voynich Manuscript (8 p., pdf)

History of the Collection

Like its contents, the history of ownership of the Voynich manuscript is contested and filled with some gaps. The codex belonged to Emperor Rudolph II of Germany (Holy Roman Emperor, 1576-1612), who purchased it for 600 gold ducats and believed that it was the work of Roger Bacon. It is very likely that Emperor Rudolph acquired the manuscript from the English astrologer John Dee (1527-1608). Dee apparently owned the manuscript along with a number of other Roger Bacon manuscripts. In addition, Dee stated that he had 630 ducats in October 1586, and his son noted that Dee, while in Bohemia, owned “a booke…containing nothing butt Hieroglyphicks, which booke his father bestowed much time upon: but I could not heare that hee could make it out.”  Emperor Rudolph seems to have given the manuscript to Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenecz (d. 1622), an exchange based on the inscription visible only with ultraviolet light on folio 1r which reads: “Jacobi de Tepenecz.” Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland presented the book to Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) in 1666. In 1912, Wilfred M. Voynich purchased the manuscript from the Jesuit College at Frascati near Rome. In 1969, the codex was given to the Beinecke Library by H. P. Kraus, who had purchased it from the estate of Ethel Voynich, Wilfrid Voynich’s widow.


Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. 2005. The Friar and the Cipher: Roger Bacon and the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript in the World. New York: Doubleday.

Romaine Newbold, William. 1928. The Cipher of Roger Bacon. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Manly, John Mathews. 1921. “The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World: Did Roger Bacon Write It and Has the Key Been Found?”, Harper’s Monthly Magazine 143, pp.186–197.voynich

Voynich Manuscript Cipher Manuscript

Call Number:
Date: s. XV^^ex-XVI [?] [end of the 15th or during the 16th century(?)]
Type of Resource:
Parchment. ff. 102 (contemporary foliation, Arabic numerals; not every leaf foliated) + i (paper), including 5 double-folio, 3 triple-folio, 1 quadruple-folio and 1 sextuple-folio folding leaves. 225 x 160 mm.
Scientific or magical text in an unidentified language, in cipher, apparently based on Roman minuscule characters. See the Database of Archival Collections and Manuscripts for more information.
Physical Description:
1 vol.
color illustrations
23 x 16 cm. (binding)
We welcome any additional information you might have. If you know more about an image on our website or if you are the copyright owner and believe we have not properly attributed your work, please contact us.
Curatorial Area: General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
Extent of Digitization:
Source Digital Format:
High Resolution (image/tiff)
Object ID: 2002046
Export as PDF »    |   Metadata record
History of the Manuscript

The manuscript first came to the attention of modern scholars in 1912 when Wilfrid Voynich discovered it tucked away in the library of Villa Mondragone. He purchased the manuscript and brought it with him back to America.

The history of the manuscript before Voynich found it is unclear. A letter inserted between its pages revealed some of its history. The letter was dated 1665 or 1666 (the writing was unclear) and was addressed to the scholar Athanasius Kircher from Johannes Marcus Marci. Marci explained that the book had once been owned by Emperor Rudolf II, who believed it had been written by the English monk Roger Bacon (1214-1294?). Marci was hoping that Kircher would be able to translate the manuscript, but apparently Kircher was unable to do so.

Upon his return to America, Voynich circulated photostat pages of the manuscript to scholars whom he hoped could help him decode its strange alphabet. Cryptographers rushed to take up the challenge.

Theories about its meaning

Untranslatable text from the Voynich manuscript

The first to announce a solution to the manuscript’s code was William Romaine Newbold in 1921. After microscopically examining the letters of the manuscript, Newbold decided that the letters were not themselves meaningful. The real meaning lay in the individual pen strokes that composed each letter and which, so Newbold claimed, corresponded to an ancient Greek form of shorthand. Newbold’s translation, however, now reads more like a work of madness than the work of a rational mind, since what he believed to be individual pen strokes were, in fact, simply cracks in the manuscript’s ink caused by age.

In 1943 Joseph Martin Feely, working on the assumption that the manuscript had originally been written by Roger Bacon, attempted to match the frequency of characters in the text to the frequency of characters within Bacon’s other writings, and decode it in this way. His effort proved unsuccessful.

In the 1970s, Robert Brumbaugh, using a complicated decoding scheme, decided that the manuscript might be a medieval treatise on the elixir of life.

Since then, a variety of theories about the manuscript have been suggested. In 1978 John Stojko argued that it was an account of a civil war written in an ancient, vowelless form of Ukrainian. In 1987 Leo Levitor theorized it was an ancient prayer-book, offering repetitive meditations on the themes of pain and death. More recently, Jacques Guy has wondered whether it might not represent an ancient attempt to transcribe an east-Asian language, say Chinese or Vietnamese, into alphabetic form.

Theory that it’s a hoax

The fact that the text has defied all efforts at translation has led many to believe the writing is actually meaningless and that the book itself was created as a hoax.

Computer scientist Gordon Rugg has argued that a sixteenth-century hoaxer could have created the gibberish text using an encryption tool known as a cardan grille. He argues that the book was created by a sixteenth-century Englishman, Edward Kelley, in order to con Emperor Rudolph II.

Sergio Toresella has suggested the manuscript might be an “alchemical herbal” — that is, a book of nonsense writing that quack doctors used to impress clients. In 1986 Michael Barlow suggested that Voynich himself might have written the manuscript as a hoax, since as an antique book dealer he had the necessary knowledge. However, there is no compelling evidence to indicate this.

To this day the Voynich manuscript continues to resist all efforts at translation. It is thought that the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft might have used the manuscript as the model for the fictional work, The Necronomicon, which he refers to in many of his stories.

Links and References
  • Grossman, Lev. “When Words Fail: The Struggle to Decipher the World’s Most Difficult Book,” Lingua Franca, 1999.
    Voynich Manuscript
    Mailing List HQ
    top right

    This is the headquarters site for VMs-list, the primary mailing list for scholars attempting to read the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript. The list was started in 1991 by Jim Gillogly (then of the RAND Corporation) and Jim Reeds (then of Bell Labs), and it moved here to in December 2002. It is managed by the Majordomo program, which allows you to subscribe and unsubscribe yourself. You can find complete instruction at that link. Send mail to the list administrator, Rich SantaColoma, if you need help with the directions.

    The tone of the group has been astonishingly civil and mostly scholarly for the over 20 years of the mailing list’s existence, despite differences in background (cryptographers, linguists, botanists, astronomers, paleographers, medievalists, historians, astrologers and even a few crackpots — no, of course I don’t mean you); and differences in approach, including half a dozen competing methods of transcribing the Voynich characters.Jim Reeds has written an introduction to the study of the Voynich Ms. Some images from the Voynich Ms. published by the Beinecke Library on their website are mirrored here.Mysteries surrounding the Voynich Manuscript have puzzled researchers since the earliest surviving report in the seventeenth century: we have no clear idea of its date, its author, its provenance, the meaning of its script, or even the meaning of its drawings. The suspected owner was the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612), who may have bought it from an unknown seller for 600 ducats. The author of the manuscript was then thought to have been the 13th-century monk and scholar Roger Bacon (1214?-1294?), but this attribution now appears to be much too early. blue-clip

    It may have passed from Rudolf II’s hands, then through those of nobleman Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenec, alchemist Georg Baresch, professor Johannes Marcus Marci and scholar Athanasius Kircher S.J. (1602-1680), it may have been filed and forgotten amongst Kircher’s papers. It finally surfaced in a collection purchased by book dealer Wilfrid Voynich in about 1912. After his death and the death of his wife, author Ethel (Boole) Voynich, it passed to Wilfrid Voynich’s secretary and Ethel Voynich’s friend Miss Anne M. Nill, who eventually sold it to rare book dealer Hans P. Kraus. Having failed to sell it for his asking price of $160,000 Kraus donated the Voynich Ms. to Yale University, where it currently resides in the Beinecke Library as MS 408.

    nymph left During his lifetime Voynich was coy about the provenance of the manuscript, but after his death and that of his widow, Miss Nill revealed that according to a letter from Ethel the manuscript had been found at the Villa Mondragone, an estate near Frascati, Italy which had been bought by the Jesuit Order in 1866 and turned into the international headquarters of the Ghisleri College, and later converted to a boarding school. Recently (23 Dec 2002). Wilfrid Gaye of Sussex called this provenance into question based on documentary evidence from his mother Winifred, the adopted daughter of Wilfrid and Ethel Voynich, but on further checking he found the evidence refers to “a manuscript” rather than specifically identifying this one. nymph right

    A more detailed account of the history of the Voynich Ms. may be found at Rene Zandbergen’s site. Rafal Prinke has developed a graphical timeline of its ownership and related chronology.

    The small (16 by 23 cm) manuscript consists of 102 vellum leaves including several fold-outs, copiously illustrated with water colors. The manuscript was bound and numbered, probably by a later hand than the author’s. Fourteen of the numbered leaves are missing; comparing Newbold’s careful catalog with Kraus’s shows at least six of these disappeared since Voynich obtained the manuscript. An important signature was found by chance with infra-red light and made legible with chemicals, that of Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenec, mentioned above. In 2009, the University of Arizona tested the vellum for radiocarbon age, and determined that it was made between 1404 and 1438. Samples of paint and ink was also analyzed by McCrone Associates at about this time. Their tests did not turn up any substance which would prove a time later than the C14 dating of the vellum… however, the ink was not dated.

    text sample The text is written in a neat and clear script which has defied attempts at interpretation by some of the best cryptographic minds available including Athanasius Kircher; noted cryptologist Brig. John Tiltman, head of the British codebreaking establishment at Bletchley Park during World War II; and William F. Friedman, the famous American codebreaker who turned cryptanalysis into a science and led the team that broke the Japanese Purple cipher machine

    MHonArc-produced archive for 2002-2004 is available. The eventual goal is to have all archives from 1991 on in a searchable database, a project the webmaster is currently working on (May, 2010)

    An unstructured archive of old mailing list traffic up through the end of 2002 is available.

    List of Voynich links:

    Please send suggestions regarding this web page to
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript,...
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A rational, compendious way to convince

John Keynes was one of the intended victims of Titus Oates’  Popish Plot

335G  Keynes, John.     1625-1697

A rational, compendious way to convince,  without any dispute, all persons whatsoever, dissenting from the true religion. By J.K

London : s.n.], Printed in the year 1674.         $2,400

Octavo, 5.5  X 3.5 inches.   A-F12,G6    Two inscriptions to front free endpaper reading, ‘William Metcalfes Booke London, Cost 1s, Ot: ye 11th 1674’, the second being a close repetition. This copy is bound in horrible library buckram.

John Keynes (1625?-1697), Jesuit and religious controversialist, was born at Compton Pauncefoot, Somerset, son of Edward Keynes and Anne Brett. The Keynes family belonged to the Catholic gentry and the name Keynes occurs frequently in accounts of seventeenth-century members of the Society of Jesus. In line with the family tradition620 John Keynes was sent to the Jesuit school at St Omer. In 1642 he went to St Alban’s, the English College at Valladolid, with the intention of becoming a priest. Although he had taken the usual vow to return to England after the completion of his studies in order to work on the mission, the registers at Valladolid state that he was released from his vow and joined the Spanish province of the Society of Jesus. In July 1645 he entered the noviciate at Villagarcia. In the following years he went through the various stages of higher Jesuit studies which he completed by being professed of the four vows on 15 August 1662. Meanwhile he became a teacher. In 1660 he was professor of theology at the Jesuit College of St Ambrose’s in Valladolid, and later taught philosophy and theology at Compostela, Salamanca, and Pamplona. At the end of the 1660s he decided to transfer to the English Jesuit province. He became prefect of studies at the Jesuit college at Liege and in 1670 was at St Omer, where, according to Southwell, he became seriously ill when he attended to the spiritual needs of English and Irish Catholic soldiers during a plague epidemic. Keynes was sent to England in order to recover but was soon engaged in a theological controversy with the Anglican theologian Edward Stillingfleet.

In 1672 Keynes became rector of the London district of the English Jesuits and seven years later his name figures prominently on Titus Oates’s lists of accomplices in the Popish Plot. He managed to escape to the continent in March 1679 and was appointed rector of the college at Liege in January 1680. During his time as rector he wrote another controversial work answering Bishop William Lloyd’s Papists No Catholics (1677) under the title No Catholic No Christian, although he was disuaded from publishing. Together with Thomas Stapleton SJ he wrote Florus Anglo-Bavaricus (Liege, 1685), an account of the college at Liege and of the Jesuit priests who suffered in the Popish Plot. The work was dedicated to the patron of the college, Maximilian, duke of Bavaria. In July 1684 he succeeded John Warner as provincial of the English Jesuits. In the following years he was in London, where he was responsible for the founding of the Catholic schools at the Savoy and Fenchurch Street. These schools, of which James II acted as a patron, provided free education for both Catholic and protestant children and proved to be very popular. Inevitably with the revolution in 1688 this surprisingly modern experiment came to an end and the schools were closed. Keynes returned to the continent, where he remained provincial until July 1689. He died eight years later, on 15 May 1697, at the Jesuit house at Watten, Southern Netherlands.

Keynes’s basic approach as a controversialist is captured in the title of his more general work, A rational, compendious way to convince, without any dispute, all persons whatsoever, dissenting from the true religion. (Dictionary of National Biography). A scarce work, it was published at London, 1674, with translations into Latin in 1684, and into French in 1688, but no further English editions followed.

Wing (2nd ed.), K393   De Backer’s Bibl. de la Compagnie de Jésus; Dodd’s Church Hist. iii. 315; Foley’s Records, v. 296, vii. 416; Oliver’s Jesuit Collections, p. 126; Southwell’s Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, p. 466.


Voices on the Medieval Page (1): The Reader

I’m rebloging this post so that I can keep track of it. I find a useful and clear description of the typology of ‘added text.


By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel)

This is the first part of a series highlighting instances where medieval individuals added information to an existing book, either right after its production or centuries later. What precisely did scribes, readers, booksellers and librarians scribble down? And what do these voices tell us about their relationship to the manuscript? Part 1: the reader.

A medieval book was made because an individual wanted to read, own, the text contained on its pages. However, owning a book in the age before print was a luxury. Due to the long production time (easily half a year for a long text) and the materials used (up to c. 1300 the skins of animals) the cost of a book’s production was steep, even if it contained no decoration or miniatures. This is why up to the later Middle Ages book ownership was generally confined to affluent environments…

View original post 1,007 more words

The Solar Eclipses of 1654

A total solar eclipse occurred on August 12, 1654. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the Sun, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across the surface of the Earth, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of kilometres wide.


This is a woodcut of a Solar Eclipse in 1654  by Thomas Hewit,  astrologer in England.  It shows the moon (the black circles with a face) before, during and after covering most of the disk of the Sun .  From Annus ab incarnatione Domini Hewit 1654 an almanack for the year of our Lord, 1654 … calculated for the meridian of the city of Coventry / by Thomas Hewit. Wing (2nd ed.), A1820

Today I have a very interesting book by the Jesuit Poet Jakob Balde which has as its subject This very eclipse.

Jakob Balde (January 4, 1604 – August 9, 1668), a German Latinist, was born at Ensisheim in Alsace.d. at

The caption “Hmmm! So this masked sun can play a joke!”
The caption “Hmmm! So this masked sun can play a joke!”

BRA0851 Galileo. Dialogo1633, he was appointed professor of eloquence in the university. Called to Munich a few years later to educate the sons of Duke Albert, he soon after received the office of court preacher to the elector Maximilian. Owing to failing health he was, in 1654, sent to Neuburg on the Danube, where he became the intimate friend and adviser of the Count Palatine Philipp Wilhelm. Here he died. The poetical works of Balde are marked by a brilliant imagination, noble thoughts, wit and humour, strength and tenderness of feeling, great learning, love of nature, and knowledge of the human heart. His mastery of classical Latin was such that he wielded it with astonishing power and originality, and he used the ancient metres and poetical forms with consummate ease and skill. His poetical themes are the world and religion, friendship and fatherland, art and letters. His patriotic accents, says Herder, have made him a German poet for all time. He witnessed the horrors of the Thirty Years War, and the devastation and disruption of his country, and while lamenting the fate of Germany, sought the re-awaken in the hearts of the people the old national spirit.

Balde was above all a lyric poet, many of his odes to the Virgin Mother of God being of surpassing beauty, but he

“Our world is duped by this shadowy mask of the moon.”
“Our world is duped by this shadowy mask of the moon.”

00015vehicle of poetical expression. Balde’s poetry is not faultless; he occasionally offends against good taste, burdens his verses with mythological lore, and odes not always keep his luxuriant imagination under control. The only complete edition of his works was published in eight volumes at Munich in 1729.

Sommervogel, Bibliotheque de la c. de J., s. v.; Westermeyer, Jacobus Balde, sein Leben und seine Werke (Munich, 1868); Baumgartner, Geschichte der Weltlitteratur, IV, 644-656; Mury-Sommervogel, Jacques Balde, notice et bibliographie (Strasburg, Roux, 1901).


To me the ‘philosopher’ illustrated on the title of  Balde’s satyre certainly shares some iconic signifiers with other near contemporary images of Galileo.  Of course Galileo was dead for a dozen years at the time of this comet, but it could also be Copernicus, in eather case it clearly represents an attitude id Jesuits toward the ‘New(ish) Astronomy’

This book as you can see has three wonderful illustrations depicting the appearance of the eclipse in different European centers.

While researching this intriguing image I came across a modern rendition, or diagram of the shadow of this eclipse. The solar eclipse of 12 August 1654 was eagerly anticipated by astronomers across the globe who hoped to observe it. Erhard Weigel of Jena, Germany produced the earliest known solar eclipse map the day before the eclipse. Outside of the scientific community, however, public anticipation was, in many quarters, tinged with apprehension. The astronomer Pierre Gassendi produced an anonymous pamphlet attempting to reassure the people of Paris that the predicted eclipse would not lead to a disaster. He was not entirely successful as many of the inhabitants of Paris hid in their cellars on the day the eclipse was predicted. Although the eclipse did not result in the end of the world as Helisaeus Roeslin of Alsace had predicted back in 1578, it did have an influence on the course of human events, most notably at the Battle of Szklów where surprise at the eclipse caused disarray among the Russians and resulted in a Polish victory.  Also in 1665 John Wallis, also  published a little book about this eclipse” Eclipsis solaris Oxonii :visæ anno ærae christianæ 1654, 2b die mensis Augusti, stilo veteri, observatio” Oxonii : Typis L. Lichfield academiæ typographi, impensis T. Robinson 1655. Even more exciting is that Hevelius mentions this in his “Johannis Hevelii Epistola de utriusq[ue] luminaris defectu anni 1654. :ad … Petrum Nucerium ” printed by Gedani : Sumtibus autoris, typis Andreæ Julii Molleri., Poland; Gdansk.1654.   Antoine Agarrat, also published in Paris Impr. de l. Langlois 1654 “Eclipses du soleil : observées aux annees 1652 & 1654, par le commandment de son altesse royale” Erhard Weigel wrote a Disertation on the August 1654 Eclpse “Secundae partis Geoscopiae selenitarum disputatio secunda de eclipsibus, tum in genere, tum in specie de magna solis eclipsi, d. 2. Aug. proxime futura, quam … praeside . Jenæ 1654.

349G  Balde, Jakob.     1604-1668   De Eclipsi Solari Anno M.DC.LIV. Die XII. Augusti, In Europa, A pluribus spectata Tubo Optico: Nunc iterum a Jacobo Balde e Societate Jesu Tubo Satyrico perlustrata. Libri Duo 

München:Typis Lvcæ Stravb. Sumptibus Joannis Wagneri, 1662.    $4,800

Small Octavo, .  First  edition  [3] leaves of plates;232, [2] p.,  This copy is bound in a contemporary binding made of a reused vellum manuscript.  

“In his poem De eclipsi solari (1662), the Jesuit satirist Jacob Balde described how a poet and a mathematician explained the eclipse of the sun of 1654 and how their assessments of this solar phenomenon differed from each other. Rationality and superstition were contrasted in these views and the discussants disputed whether the eclipse was the result of natural causes or whether it should be construed as evidence of divine reactions against communal sin. In the tradition of apocalyptic satires, the dialogue shows how men’s civility degenerated in a state of emergency and how the different branches of learning (astrology, poetry, theology) had their own imaginary explanations of the eclipse. One of the conclusions of the dialogue was that in fact the sun did not go through any change during the eclipse, whereas men’s minds were darkened. Similar arguments were used in the Reformation polemic over the Catholic doctrine.”(Sari Kivistö, from her forthcoming Conflicting Disciplines in Early Modern Satire)

The first part of the book is a dialogue, written in prose, between the mathematician Alfons Persius Pernumias and the poet Didacus Cyrisatus on the solar eclipse of 1654, which figures as a template for a discussion of European politics. This is followed by poems and a glossary of unusual Latin words, [?] and some words made-up in a Rabelaisian manner.

Faber du Faur 995; Sommervogel, I, 823; STC German 17th Century B87; Wellcome II p. 90; not in Jantz. 


A nice binding from my current shelves

Green vellum wallet binding
Green vellum wallet binding

348G  Moore, Francis.   1657-1714   Vox stellarum; being an almanack for the year of human redemption .   By Francis Moore,

London : printed by T. Hodgkin for the Company of Stationers, 1705.     $2,200            The title-page is printed in red and black. bound with many blanks and Interleaved. Surprisingly it is browned, this lovely bonding didn’t do a very good job.  It is quite rare.

Copies – Brit.Isles
British Library
Lambeth Palace Library
Oxford University Bodleian Library
Copies – N.America
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery
Francis Moore  was a British physician and astrologer who wrote and published Old Moore’s Almanack.

Francis Moore
Francis Moore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was born into poverty in Bridgnorth. Moore was self-educated, learning to read by himself, and became a physician and astrologer. He served at the court of Charles II of England.  The almanac that bears his name was first published in 1697, originally giving weather and astrological predictions, and is still published annually.

Politeuphuia, Wits Common-wealth. (another copy!)

Politeuphuia, Wits Common-wealth 345G
Politeuphuia, Wits Common-wealth 345G

345G Over the last twenty years I have been lucky enough to have had and sold  all of the “Wit’s series” : Wits commonwealth, Published first in 1597, as the first in a series of which Mere’s “Palladis tamia”( I had only ten pages), 1598,was the second,Wits theater of the little world,” by Robert Allott, 1599, the third, and Palladis palatium, wisedom’s pallace,” 1604, the fourth. As well as Allot’s “Englands Parnassus” 1600. Poetical miscellanies have always intrigued me, Miscellanies are not like anthologies, or are wrongly refered to as anthologies. In 1962 (the year of my birth) Donald Hall  Selected and introduced “Contemporary American Poetry” for Penguin books , Penguin Poets series D67, I think that people who know about modern American Poetry would not argue with me if I were to say that it might be the corner-stone of a New American poetics. Likewise Tottle’s miscellany of 1557 introduced blank verse to the english reader. It was so popular during the Elizabethan era it is considered the most influential of all Elizabethan collections (not that there was much competition). It is generally included with Elizabethan era literature even if it was, in fact, published in 1557, a year before Queen Elizabeth I took the throne.The influence of these two works, Tottel’s and Hall’s appear clearly once one begins to look. Shakespeare uses some of its verses in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Hamlet, and directly quotes the anonymous poem, “Against him that had slaundered a gentlewoman with him selfe”, in The Rape of Lucrece. The “Wit’s series” take up the load and pull it to the public in a way which was un presented.. Stapelton states that “Tottel’s is a ‘great contribution to English letters’,as well as the first to be printed for the pleasure of the common reader’. This “common reader” is what I find most important. With the Tottle Miscellany poetry left the court and was made available to the ‘public’. How wonderful indeed!  After a bit of court and publishing and religious turmoil, the Wit’s Series, breathed life into English poetry for the ‘common reader’ again. Mere’s Palladis tamia , like Tottle’s miscellany is notoriously scarce. But the other books of the Wit’s series do show  to those who hunt for them.

Wit's commonwealth 1684
Wit’s commonwealth 1684

Now I am fortunate enough to have a 1684 reprint of Politeuphuia to offer, this will be the first one I’ve seen since 1995 when I had my last copy. (a 1650 edition 018C)

345G  Ling, Nicholas, ed. fl. ca. 1599 [Usually ascribed to John Bodenham, who planned the collection, though the work appears to have been done by Nicholas Ling. Cf. Dedication; also DNB.] Politeuphuia, Wits Common-wealth. Newly corrected and amended. London : printed for E. Flesher, in the year 1684.  $4,500 Duodecimo, 5.75 x 3.15 in. edition(?), first printed in 1597. A-O12 (lacking A1,  blank). Copies  located in  N.America by ESTC : Folger Shakespeare, Harvard University, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, Indiana University ,San Francisco Public Library University of Cincinnati, University of Illinois. Usually ascribed to John Bodenham, who planned the collection, though the work appears to have been done by Nicholas Ling. Cf. Dedication; also DNB.. Often cited as “Wits commonwealth” , and some editions appeared under that title.  Published first in 1597, as the first in a series of which Mere’s “Palladis tamia”, 1598, was the second, “Wits theater of the little world,” by Robert Allott, 1598, the third, and “Palladis palatium, wisedom’s pallace,”1604, the fourth. Cf. DNB. Politeuphuia is made up of 140 chapters called “Heads or Places” For every ‘Heading” there is a ‘definition ‘ and

Wit's commonwealth 345G
Wit’s commonwealth 345G

then  a number of aphoristic sayings relating to the Heading. Like the other Elizabethan Miscellanies the popularity of this book, of which altogether some eighteen editions before the end of the seventeenth-century were issued, was due it would seem to the fact that it filled a peculiar need of the public of the day.  It is difficult to imagine the style and tone of the conversation of the later years of Elizabeth’s court — the written word is the only clue. But it is certain that the more commonly endowed members of a society which included men of such wide reading and extensive knowledge as Bacon, Selden, Jonson and Raleigh must have frequently felt the need of some compendium of wise and sententious aphorisms by means of which they might ornament their discourse.   It is just that function which this volume appears to be intended to fulfill for it is a compilation of precepts and maxims, frequently with their source noted, gathered under various heads such as ╘Of Courage  ‘Of Nobilitie’, etc. Each division begins with a definition and ends with a Latin quotation, while the tables which are appended enable one to search not only the divisional topics, but also the individual aphorism much in the manner of a modern Bartlett. The popularity of this type of manual in the early years of the seventeenth century may be compared with the deluge of ‘outlines’ of this and that which the public of the present day is encouraged to imagine will provide a short and easy road to knowledge and culture. This appears to be substantiated by the fact that this book is but one, the first of a series, of four volumes which for the want of a better name is called the ‘Wits Series’. From the fact that there is no indication in this book that it was to be followed by others it may be assumed that the series, as a series at least, was not projected until after the demand for this first book indicated the public taste. “In the address To the Reader, which otherwise appears to be a reprint of the text of the third edition, the 1650 edition is numbered the ‘fifteenth edition’. It is quite possible that it is the fifteenth but we have only the publisher’s word as no copies of editions five to eight can be traced, and it is a well-known “puffing” device to misnumber editions.” (Pforzheimer #802 &803) Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), L2346 (Langland to Wither see #23)


Nicholas Ling (fl. 1570-1607) was London publisher, bookseller, and editor who published several important Elizabethan works, including the first and second quartos of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He was apprenticed to Henry Bitteman in 1570 and was admitted to the Stationers’ Company as a “freeman” (full member) in 1578. He generally partnered with other publishers. In 1597 he edited Politeuphuia, or Wits Commonwealth, a collection of prose quotations. He has also been credited by some critics with editing England’s Helicon (1600), a collection of Elizabethan lyric poems. In 1603 he collaborated with another bookseller, John Trundell, to publish the first quarto of Hamlet. This edition, printed by Valentine Simmes, has been widely condemned as a wildly inaccurate and badly printed travesty of the play. A few months later James Roberts printed the much more substantial and accurate second quarto according to the “true and perfect copy” of Shakespeare’s manuscript Gerald D. Johnson suggests that Trundell had acquired a garbled version of the text, which was quickly published in association with Ling to meet demand. Roberts had been given official access to Shakespeare’s manuscript by the company, as he had entered it as a forthcoming publication in the Stationers’ Register in 1602. He made a deal with Ling that Roberts would print the much more substantial “good” version a little while later, giving Ling exclusive sales rights, cutting out Trundell. Both would profit, with Ling getting to sell the same play twice.] In 1607 he transferred 16 copyrights to John Smethwick, among them three Shakespeare plays (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Love’s Labour’s Lost) as well as The Taming of a Shrew. Campbell, O.J. ed. “Nicholas Ling” in Reader’s Encyclopedia of Shakespeare (1966) p. 462. Hebel, J, Williams. “Nicholas Ling and England’s Helicon” in Library (1924) s4-V (2): 153-160. $(KGrHqR,!pIFEliIVIT3BRrYZODCbQ~~60_57

Nicholas Ling was born in 1553 in Norwich. His father, John Ling, was a successful parchment maker who owned sev­ eral income properties which he later bequeathed to his third son, Nicholas. On 29 September 1570, when Nicholas was sev­enteen, he began to learn the book trade as an apprentice in the London print shop of a prominent stationer, Henry Bynneman.  While Ling was still an apprentice, he was joined in Bynneman’s  shop by a young man named Valentine Simmes. It seems likely that the two apprentices became friends during this time: it is possible that this relationship had a significant impact on the publication of QI Hamlet. But that would come many years later. Three years after becoming a freeman of the Stationers’ Company in 1579, Ling set up a shop at the “signe of the Maremaide”5 in St. Paul’s Churchyard in 1582, a shop leased to Ling by his former master, Henry Bynneman. For three years Ling remained in London, but he maintained his connections to Norwich, returning there in 1585 and remaining there until 1590, the year of his father’s death. Ling then returned to London where he would remain until his own death in 1607. We can infer that he probably used an inheritance to help establish and then ex­ pand his London publishing business, since businesses such as Ling’s initially required significant capital.” Like the majority of London’s Stationers, Ling’s shops were located in or near St. Paul’s throughout the twenty-eight years of his career.. His fi­ nancial resources and his family connections, combined with his association with Bynneman, would have assured Ling a se­ cure place in the community of printers and publishers in Lon­ don. He eventually owned English Stock, held office in the Sta­ tioners’ Company, and in 1603 served an abbreviated term as Renter Warden.7 It is not likely that a stationer enjoying this kind of success would have had any need to make money publishing illegitimate texts or dealing with bit players in search of a hasty pound. Early in his career, Ling’s publications were largely reli­ gious works, but by the time he had established himself securely in the London publishing community, his publications became noticeably more literary; these included works by Thomas Nashe, Christopher Middleton, Nicholas Breton, Edward Guilpin, Tho­mas Dekker, and William Shakespeare.   From the evidence sup­plied by advertisements on title pages, Ling’s shop was the cus­ tomary place for the sale and distribution of books that carried his imprint, even when that imprint was shared. From his deal­ ings with the Stationers’ Company and with other businesses in London, it can be safely assumed that Ling’s name was known: surely his was a familiar face in the community.   Nicholas Ling’s connections with the printer James Rob­erts may have begun through Ling’s association with John Charlewood, under whom Roberts apprenticed. Charlewood and Ling shared at least one entry in the Stationers’ Register, An­thony Munday’s The English Romayne Lyfe (STC 18272), dem­onstrating that Ling knew and worked with Charlewood in the early days  Ling’s career. The entry was made on 21 June 1582, only three years after Ling completed his apprenticeship and three years before he returned to Norwich. It may have been during this time that Ling met Roberts; the records of the Statio­ners’ Company and the imprints recorded in the STC show that the two stationers frequently conducted business with each other.

Shakespeare and the London Publishing Environ­ment: The Publisher and Printers of Ql and Q2 Hamlet Terri Bourus AEB 12 (2001)

Gossaert and the Merchant, Shakespeare and the Grocer

This is a very good blog , I love the rhizomatic connections that we all make.


When I was in New York in November, at the Met even, I managed to miss Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance, which is now headed to London. (I’m always a complete nerd for conservation videos, so here’s one from the Met about restoration work done on a few of the Gossaert pictures before the exhibition.) Maev Kennedy wrote a pretty conventional if interesting article about the London show in the Guardian recently, highlighting that the secular, sensual touch Gossaert brought to the conventional religious material of the early Renaissance is what makes his work really interesting. His work was also something of a bridge between southern and northern Renaissances – after visiting Rome in 1508 and internalizing the lightness and vividness of Michelangelo and Raphael, he brought this sensibility to the more reserved, mannered style of the Low Countries. I was also drawn to the readily…

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Miserabilivm personarvm privilegiis


337G         Novari, Giovanni Maria & Barbato, Horatio.

Tractatvs de miserabilivm personarvm privilegiis, in qvo complvres singvlares materiae ad earum fauorem in vsu forensi quotidianae, & frequentes, tum iuxta iuris communis, quam municipalis regni dispositionem, supremorum totius orbis tribunalium, placita accuratè, exactèq; dilucidantur :opus sane practicabile, curiosum, necessarium, & utile.
[bound with]
De Restitutionis incertorum et male ablatorum privilegiis fertilis et   DSC_0011praegnans tractatus… Accesserunt in calce nonnullae allegationes V. I. D. Francisci Severini
       [bound with]
De restitutorio interdicto ac de reuocanda possessione liber singularis : ad intellectum reg. pragm. Regni Neap. incipientis, assistentiam sub titulo de assistentia praestanda : in quo praeter huberem tractatum, obligationis bonoru[m], pacti de capiendo constituti, excussionis, ac hypothecariae, nihilum penè desiderari potest in materia, quin luculenter, copiosèq[ue] tractetur

Neapoli: ex Typographia Dominici Maccarani 1637 et Typis Luca & Antonii de Fusco ,1669
Neapoli: ex Typographia Dominici Maccarani 1637 et Typis Luca & Antonii de Fusco ,1669
Neapoli: Per Jacobum Gaffari; 1637 Sumptibus Io.Domenici Bove 1637

These three folio volumes are bound as one in 17th century full  green reversed calf, the spine has been eroded, but the binding is strong and solid.
These three books relate in more than a local way,they all deal with ‘material rights’.
The first, poor law, the second wills and the third is on restitution of property.

 DSC_0012The CERL Thesaurus

Novario, Giovanni Maria [GyFmDB] [GyGoGBV]

Biographical Date 17. Jh.. – in Quelle nicht exakter

General Notes  Ital. Jurist im 17. Jh.

Permanent Link

[NUC pre ’56, LCAuth] [Archivio Biografico Italiano I 706,228-233]

CERL does not list this edition of  either of the Novario works in their Imprint Sources, below is the list that CERL gives:

De Privilegiis Miserabilium Personarum Tractatus. – 1709

Lucerna Regularium utriusque sexus. – 1638

Novissimae Decisiones civiles, criminales, et canonicae. – 1637

Praxis novissima de electione et variatione fori. – 1670

Tractatus de Vasallorum gravaminibus …. – 1686

Tractatus de electione et variatione fori. – 1670

Tractatus de in Solutum bonorum datione. – 1673

Tractatus de vassallorum gravaminibus. – 1686

Oclc Lists

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