• Here is a bullet point list of the points of rare interests in this book.
  • visible water marks on pastedown
  • Early manuscript waste materia;
  • Ultra violet light reveals a lot on the pastedown of the front board
  • old german bookseller notes and others
  • Three early ownership names on the first leaf
  • Coat of arms on the first page
  • hand added title in upper rt corner of title
  • Lombard initials
  • Signed and identified binding & binder
  • very strange and rare hardware marks,
  • mailbumen initals by hand
  • red lombards
  • brown lombards with faces
  • Chapter tabs of red alum tawed goat
  • DROPPED TYPE! inked
  • manicules….
  • Deckel edges
  • vellum guarded gatherings
A piece of type dropped on the page, oops.

With tooling signed by Nicolaus Seman of Erfurt

& I’m sure I missed something..

I 437J Saint Augustine, Aurelius.

De civitate Dei. (Sente[n]tia beati Augustini episcopi ex libro retractat[i]onum ip[s]ius de libris) Title on leaf [3]r: Aurelij Augustini Ipponensis e[pisco]pi doctoris eximij de ciuitate Dei [con]tra paganos liber p[ri]mus incipit; Aurelii Augustini Ipponensis episcopi doctoris eximii de civitate Dei contra paganos liber primus incipit; De civitate Dei contra paganos

Basel: Michael Wenssler [and Bernhard Richel] March 25, 1479. Price: $25,000

Super Median Folio: 450 X 340 mm. No signatures: [13-10 2-610 7-10·8 116 12-1510/8 168 17-1810 19-218 2210 238 24-256 2610 278 286 293.• [ Lacking leaves 1, 2 & 294 ] 245] (of 248) leaves.

This copy is bound in its original blind stamped pigskin over wooden boards. With tooling signed by Nicolaus Seman of Erfurt (active around 1460-1486 in Erfurt and Würzburg) He was a goldsmith, bookbinder, type cutter.? Thieme-Becker XXX, 484. The tool with the binders name is used twice on the front board, and four times on the back cover with four other individual stamps (original brass fittings and clasps were removed )

First colophon (fol. [190]r) Printed in red with double coat of arms.

Textus sancti Augustini de ciuitate di Ba
silee impressus. Explicit feliciter. Anno •lxxix.

On leaf [191]r: Sacre pagine p[ro]fesso[rum] Ordinis P[rae]dicatorum Thome Valois et Nicolai Triueth i[n] libros beati Augustini de ciuitate Dei comentari feliciter inchoant. Second colophon (fol. [248]v):” M et cccclxxix vij K[a]l[endas] Aprilis opero se est cosummatum”

This is the first Basel printing of The City of God by Augustine with the commentary by Thomas Waleys and Nicolaus Trivet . ¶ Michael Wenssler was born in Strasbourg, moved to Basel at an early age and quickly became a prominent typographer and printer. His earliest work, is dated to 1472 and was one of the first books printed in Basel. Wenssler stayed in Basel until 1491. Wenssler and Richel collaborated on this printing project using a type font they jointly owned.

¶The City of God is St. Augustine’s fifth century response to assertions that Christianity had caused the decline of Rome.
De civitate Dei contra paganos is divided into 22 books. The first 10 refute the claims to divine power of various pagan communities. The last 12 retell the biblical story of mankind from Genesis to the Last Judgment, offering what Augustine presents as the true history of the City of God against which, and only against which, the history of the City of Man, including the history of Rome, can be properly understood. This Book remains impressive as a whole and fascinating in its parts. The stinging attack on paganism in the first books is memorable and effective, the encounter with Platonism in books 8-10 is of great philosophical significance, and the last books (especially book 19, with a vision of true peace) offer a view of human destiny that would be widely persuasive for at least a thousand years. In a way, Augustine’s City of God is (even consciously) the Christian rejoinder to Plato’s Republic and Cicero’s imitation of Plato, his own Republic. City of God would be read in various ways throughout the Middle Ages, at some points virtually as a founding document for a political order of kings and popes that Augustine could hardly have imagined. At its heart is a powerful contrarian vision of human life, one which accepts the place of disaster, death, and disappointment while holding out hope of a better life to come, a hope that in turn eases and gives direction to life in this world. Augustine is remarkable for what he did, more than five million words of his writings survive, virtually all displaying the strength and sharpness of his mind and some possessing the rare power to attract and hold the attention of readers in both his day and ours. His distinctive theological style shaped Latin Christianity in a way surpassed only by scripture itself.” (Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition)

“Augustine’s complicated personal journey has enriched his thought with a large number of themes and starting points, which may not have found a definitive systematic placement but precisely for this reason exercise all the greater a fascination upon those periods that, like the present, shun naively integral constructions. A schoolteacher, he was brought up on texts of the classical period, and from these he got to know the best products of Greek and Latin culture.” (Gian Biagio Conte).

ISTC ia01241000: https://data.cerl.org/istc/ia01241000 Goff A1241 : BMC III 726 & 738: Hain-Copinger 2058: Pell 1556: CIBN A-685: Girard 39: IBP 631: SI 419: Sajó-Soltész 375: Coll(U) 185: Coll(S) 117: Madsen 399: GW 2885: Bod-inc A-527: Sheppard 2338: Pr 7489-7534:

this is Image is an unfinished outline for the Lombard Initial Q, an illuminator has dry pointed an outline, which continues below the photo, I feel it is uncommon as I haven’t had a book with one of these before.

Here is a hand supplied Maiblumen initial, which shows a relaxed and complicated style. There are a couple of other initials supplied like this, as well as a few filled with faces, and a coat of arms on the first leaf.

Some of Nicholas Seman’s tools.

jamesgray2@me.com. 617-678-4517