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Breviarium equestre seu de... equestri ordine elephantino ejusq;origine, progressu,ac splendore hodierno tractatus, collectus ex antiquis diplomatibus... praecipue autem ex... manuscripto Iuari Hertzolmii codice, etc.Copenhagen: ex reg. majest. & universit. typographeo,

BIRCHEROD Jens, Bishop of Aalborg (1704)


folio (350 x 240mm.) [6], 104, [2(errata)]p., 14 numbered  full-page plates (I-XIV; one folding), engravings in text, engraved head-piece on p. 1, contemporary calf, spine gilt


A splendid piece of Danish book illustration.

The Danish Order of the Elephant was founded in 1693, although its origins are earlier, and still exists. the King of Denmark is head of the order, which is limited to thirty people, women now being eligible. The work deals with the history of the order, its statutes, and finally (chapter 13) prints various praises of the elephant lauding its patriotism and piety, its clemency and bravery. The work is based on that of Ivar Nielsen Hertzholm (1635-93) a Danish historian and author of many books. At his death this work he had left uncompleted, and with many of his papers destroyed by a fire at his house, and the engravings damaged. Jens Bircherod (1658 -1708), from Odense,  who in 1693 became Bishop of Aalborg, took on the work of editing and publishing the work.

The work is handsomely illustrated mostly with plates by Johann Friedlein, a well known engraver of portraits. One of the plates (coronation, no.  III)  is signed by Louis Chomond Boudan who was active in Denmark between about 1683 and 1706, and one (IX) by Hubert Schaten. See Sthyr. J. Dansk grafik, 1500-1800, p. 127).

The quotation on p. 64 from Benjamin of Tudela is printed in Hebrew letter.There is a passage in Greek.  On p. is one word in woodcut arabic (al-fil = elephant). The text is almost all in Latin, but there are passages in Danish printed in Black Letter, and a whole page in English (p. 31) by Elias Ashmole in his book on the order of the Garter (first published 1672).

PROVENANCE: on the fly leaf is a note about an auction at Zerbst (in Anhalt Saxoiny) in 1789 possibly of a Pastor Bülau.The family had been long established in Zerbst and there was a Pastor Bülau there at this date.

Stock Code: 221463