Fuldensium antiquitatum libri IIII.
BROUWER Christoph SJ (1612)
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LAVISHLY BOUND AND ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF FULDA ABBEY
Title-page vignette with monogram IHS, three full-page engravings and nine text engravings, Plantin compasses device at end, head- and tail-pieces, initials, some of them historiated.
4to (260 x 170mm). Contemporary German? calf over wooden boards, covers richly gilt with multiple concentric panels made up of fillets, ornamental rolls of various sizes and repeated stamps, inner panel with corner tools, rosettes and central ornament, flat gilt spine divided into two panels with repeated stamps, one of two clasps remains, edges gauffered (neat repair at head of spine, small wormtrack to lower section of upper cover).
Antwerp, ex officina Plantiniana, apud viduam & filios Ioannis Moreti, 1612.
First edition, handsomely bound, of this classic history of the ancient Benedictine Abbey of Fulda undertaken by the Jesuit historian, Christopher Brouwer (1559-1617), who was rector of the Jesuit College which had been established there in 1571. During his time in charge of the school one of its most famous pupils was the future Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher (1602-80).
Brouwer's history is notable for its use of early manuscripts from Fulda's library that are now lost, such as four from the 9th century, the Supplex Libellus, a manuscript of the abbot Hrabanus Maurus' poems, Rudolf of Fulda's Miracula sanctorum and Candidus' Vita Aegil. From the Vita Aegil, the life of Abbot Eigil, Brouwer also includes three engraved illustrations (pp. 90 & 170) copied from a now lost series of images which illustrated the manuscript making it the first known illustrated biography, possibly by the author Candidus, who is though to have painted the apse of the abbey church.
There are full-page engraving on p.  of the preliminaries with representations of the Anglo-Saxon, St. Boniface, one of whose disciples founded the monastery in 744, and Charlemagne, and the arms at the head of Johann Friedrich von Schwalbach, Prince Abbot of Fulda from 1606-1622, to whom the work is dedicated.
The elaborately gilt early 17th century binding is difficult to localise and shows strong Italian influence, with the multiple use of rolls and repeated stamps forming concentric panels, but is most likely German.
Provenance: Library of the Benedictine Abbey of Neustadt am Main, Bavaria, with their inscription on title-page dated 1662. Following secularisation in 1803 the library, and other properties belonging to the abbey, were passed to Dominic Constantine, Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort (1762-1814), with two family library stamps on title.
De-Backer/Sommervogel I, 219. Brunet VI, 21764. Ref: J.E. Raaijmakers, The Making of the Monastic Community of Fulda, c. 744 – c. 900 (2012).
Stock Code: 231716