589J.  Paulus Orosius 

Paulo Orosio tradotto di latino in volgare per Giouanni Guerini da Lanciza nouamente stampato .

Toscolano : Alessandro Paganini, 1510 or 1513? (Generally considered to have been printed 1520-40. See more about this below)      $1,900

Octavo 15 x 10 cm    Signatures: a-x⁸ y⁴./ (m3 signed m4). 172 unpaginated leaves. Italic type; capital spaces with guide-letters for initials; register. Beautiful woodcut criblé initial at beginning of text and several capital spaces with guide-letters throughout. First edition of the Italian  vernacular translation of: Historiae adversum paganos libri VII. by Giovanni Guerini ‘da Lanciza’ Bound in contemporary vellum.

 The printer is interpreted from the colophon which is within a double ruled border. It may represent the imprint of the father/son printing firm of Paganino and Alessandro Paganini , it can be read as :

P[aganinus et] Alex.[ander] Pag.[anini]



BENA. [co]

V.[i] .V.[e]

 This is  suggested by Lechi in his “Della tipofrafir bresciana nel secolo decimoquinto” but which Norton disputes with the possibility that the ”  initial P is obscure; it might refer to a son of Alexander who had succeeded to his peers, or it might indicate that Alexander was a priest”—(Norton, F.J. Italian printers 1501-1520, p. 116-117.)

The Palau dates this book to around 1510. Still there are many uncertainties and various hypotheses about the date of publication, (with date 1513 supplied in manuscript: in the L of Congress copy). Generally considered to have been printed 1520-40. Yet the imprint date is undetermined . EDIT 16, suggesting various possibilities date range of printing 1527-1533 which in turn is based on A. Nuovo’s “Alessandro Paganino (1509-1538)”. Isaac suggests date of imprint ranging 1520? cf. Isaac #13935. According to Norton this is one of several with the same colophon printed at Toscolano by Alessandro Paganini between 1519 and 1538./ Device no. 40 in Ascarelli. Tipografia cinquecentina italiana.

Orosius’s text had a wide diffusion, and the chief works of Christian historiography in future centuries, down to Dante’s Commedia, were based on it.  (Conti Latin Literature A History p. 702-703)


Orosius, to whom Dante was largely indebted, not only for his knowledge of ancient history but also for many of his favourite theories and arguments about the divine institution of the Roman Empire, is mentioned by name seven times in D.’s works, Paulo Orosio, Conv. III. xi. 3; Paulus Orosius, V.E. II. vi. 7; Orosius, Mon. II. iii. 13, Mon. II. viii. 3, Mon. II. viii. 5, Mon. II. x. 4; Quest. 54. He is undoubtedly referred to (notwithstanding the divergence of opinion among the commentators) in the passage, [Par. x. 118-120]:

Ne l’altra piccioletta luce ride

quello avvocato de’ tempi cristiani

del cui latino Augustin si provide.

Thus he is included among the great doctors of the Church (Spiriti sapienti) who are placed in the Heaven of the Sun [Augustino_2: Sole, Cielo del]; the title avvocato de’ tempi cristiani points almost unquestionably to the author of the Historiae adversum Paganos, in which, written as it was to vindicate Christianity, the phrase ‘Christiana tempora’ occurs so frequently as to make the point of D.’s allusion sufficiently obvious. Benvenuto, however, although in his commentary on this passage he speaks of Orosius as ‘defensor temporum Christianorum’ and refers to his book, yet inclines to think that the allusion is to Ambrose; he says:

Ad evidentiam istius literae est notandum quod litera ista potest verificari tam de Ambrosio quam de Orosio. De Ambrosio quidem, quia fuit magnus advocatus temporum Christianorum, quia tempore suo pullulaverunt multi et magni haeretici; contra quos Ambrosius defensavit ecclesiam Dei, immo et contra Theodosium imperatorem fuit audacissimus; et ad eius praedicationem Augustinus conversus fuit ad fidem, qui fuit validissimus malleus haereticorum. Potest etiam intelligi de Paulo Orosio, qui fuit defensor temporum Christianorum reprobando tempora pagana, sicut evidenter apparet ex eius opere quod intitulatur 0rmesta mundi, quem librum fecit ad petitionem beati Augustini, sicut ipse Orosius testatur in prohemio dicti libri. . . .Et hic nota quod quamvis istud possit intelligi tam de Orosio quam de Ambrosio, et licet forte autor intellexerit de Orosio, cui fuit satis familiaris, ut perpendi ex multis dictis eius, tamen melius est quod intelligatur de Ambrosio, quia licet Orosius fuerit vir valens et utilis, non tamen bene cadit in ista corona inter tam egregios doctores.

Dante mentions Orosius, together with Frontinus, Pliny, and Livy, as a ‘master of lofty prose’, V.E. II. vi. 7; his authority is quoted for the computation of the period between the reign of Numa Pompilius and the birth of Christ at about 750 years, Conv. III. xi. 3 (ref. to {Orosius. Hist. IV. xii. 9}); his statement that Mt. Atlas is in Africa, Mon. II. iii. 13 ({Orosius. Hist. I. ii. 11}); his account of the reigns of Ninus and Semiramis in Assyria, Mon. II. viii. 3 ({Orosius. Hist. I. iv. 1-8}; {Orosius. Hist. II. iii. 1}); and of the conquests of Vesoges, king of Egypt, and of his repulse by the Scythians, Mon. II. viii. 5 ({Orosius. Hist. I. xiv. 1-4}); Livy’s account of the combat between the Roman Horatii and the Alban Curiatii, confirmed by that of Orosius, Mon. II. x. 4 ({Orosius. Hist. II. iv. 9}); O.’s description of the boundaries of the habitable world, Quest. 54 ({Orosius. Hist. I. ii. 7}, {Orosius. Hist. I. ii. 13}).

Besides the above passages, in which Dante expressly names Orosius as his authority, there are many others in which he was indebted to him; in several instances he wrongly quotes Livy as his authority instead of O. [Livio]. There is little doubt that Orosius was the chief source of D.’s information about the following: Ninus and Semiramis, [Inf. v. 54-60] ({Orosius. Hist. I. iv. 4}; {Hist. II. iii. 1}) [Nino_1: Semiramis]; Alexander the Great, [Inf. xii. 107] ({Orosius. Hist. III. vii. 5}, {Orosius. Hist. III. xviii. 10}, {Orosius. Hist. III. xx. 4}, {Orosius. Hist. III. xx. 5} ff., {Orosius. Hist. III. xxiii. 6}) [Alessandro_2]; Cyrus and Tomyris, [Purg. xii. 55-57]; Mon. II. viii ({Orosius. Hist. II. vi. 12}, {Orosius. Hist. II. vii. 6}) [Ciro: Tamiri]; the persecution of the Christians by Domitian, [Purg. xxii. 83-84] ({Orosius. Hist. VII. x. 1}) [Domiziano]; the victories of Julius Caesar in the Civil War, [Par. vi. 61-72] ({Orosius. Hist. VI. xv. 2-3}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xv. 6}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xv. 18}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xv. 22}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xv. 25}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xv.28-29}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xvi. 3}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xvi.6-7}) [Aquila_1: Cesare_1], Sardanapalus, [Par. xv. 107-108] ({Orosius. Hist. I. xix. 1}) [Sardanapalo]; the defeat of the Romans at Cannae and the production of the heap of gold rings (taken from the bodies of the slain) by Hannibal’s envoy in the senatehouse at Carthage, Conv. IV. v. 19; [Inf. xxviii. 10-11] ({Orosius. Hist. IV. xvi. 5-6}) [Annibale: Canne: Scipione_1].

Dante was evidently also indebted to Orosius for his theories and arguments about Titus, who destroyed Jerusalem, as the avenger of the crucifixion of Christ by the Jews, [Purg. xxi. 82-84]; [Par. vi. 92-93] ({Orosius. Hist. VII. iii. 8} {Orosius. Hist. VII. ix. 9}) [Tito]; the universal peace under Augustus at the time of the birth of Christ, [Par. vi. 80-81]; Conv. IV. v. 8; Mon. I. xvi. 1-2 ({Orosius. Hist. I. i. 6}, {Orosius. Hist. III. viii. 3}, {Orosius. Hist. III. viii. 5}, {Orosius. Hist. III. viii. 7-8}; {Orosius. Hist. VI. xvii. 10}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xx. 1-2}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xxii. 1}, {Orosius. Hist. VI. xxii. 5}; {Orosius. Hist. VII. i. 11}, {Orosius. Hist. VII. ii. 15-16}, {Orosius. Hist. VII. iii. 4}) [Augusto_2: Iano]; Christ’s assertion of His human nature by being included in the census under Augustus, whereby He became a Roman citizen, Mon. II. viii. 12-13, Mon. II. xi. 6; Epist. vii. 14, Epist. xi. 3 ({Orosius. Hist. VI. xxii. 6-8}; {Hist. VII. iii. 4}) [Augusto_2: Cristo]. [See P. Toynbee, SR, pp. 121-136.]

US,CA          UNIV OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE                 CRU  

US,CT          YALE UNIV LIBR          YUS  

US PA           Univ of Penn                  PAU

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1537–38, Paganino and Alessandro Paganini produced the first printed edition … The Newberry Library establishes the John M. Wing Foundation on the History

Orosius, Ireland, and Christianity. Donnchadh Ó Corráin †


“Orosius, author of Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri vii, was a Briton, born at latest c. ad 375. Taken by Irish raiders, he spent years (c. ad 400) as a captive, held by traders, on the south shore of the Shannon estuary. He escaped and probably reached Galicia before ad 405. Ordained priest, he served at Bracara (now Braga in Portugal). He corresponded with St Augustine and moved to Hippo in ad 414. Sent to the East by Augustine, he played an undistinguished role at the councils of Jerusalem and Diospolis (ad 415). He settled at Carthage, where he wrote his main work, originally at the instigation of Augustine. He disappears after a voyage to the Balearic Islands. His is the first textual witness to Christianity in Ireland, observed c. ad 400, written up in ad 416–17.


Orosius was a Briton, born at the latest c. 375. He was taken by Irish raiders, and spent years as a captive, c. 400, with traders, on the south shore of the Shannon estuary. He escaped and probably reached Galicia before 405. Here he embarked on a clerical scholarly career. He corresponded with St Augustine and moved to Hippo in 414. The rest is well documented.

His is the first contemporary textual witness to Christianity in Ireland, observed c. 400, written up 416–17.

As a writer he is disciplined and spare: he allows himself few and brief personal remarks. Those he permits are very revealing, especially about Ireland and Britain, and deserve the closest scrutiny. The transmission of his work is strongly Insular, at least from the very early seventh century — Irish, British, and latterly English. This important matter is not discussed here. Neither do I discuss how the evidence of Orosius fits with that of Prosper of Aquitaine about Palladius and his mission to Ireland (431). I merely observe that there is no necessary conflict.”


Ó Corráin, Donnchadh. Clavis Litterarum Hibernensium (3 Vols), Brepols. (2017)

Location        Library        Code 

US,CA          UNIV OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE                 CRU  

US,NY          MORGAN

US,CT          YALE UNIV LIBR          YUS  

US,PA           UNIV OF PENN 

US,IL            NEWBERRY LIBR         IBV  

US,IL            UNIV OF ILLINOIS       UIU 

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Orosius  Influencer to Dante and The "