[Life of St Catherine]. Hanc legendam beatissime virginis katherine.

PETRUS Frater (1504)


Please contact us in advance if you would like to view this book at our Curzon Street shop.


 Rubricated throughout, page numbers supplied in ink at head. 

4to (200 x 145mm). 27(unnumbered) ff. Eighteenth-century calf with triple gilt fillets, spine gilt in compartments, inside gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers (sympathetically rebacked, with original spine laid down, rubbed). 

Basel, J. Wolff (Jacobus von Pforzheim), 22 June, 

An extremely rare account of the life of St Catherine of Alexandria, whose miraculous life and martyrdom made her one of the most important and popular saints of the Middle Ages. 

This is the third edition of the text of Franciscan Frater Petrus - thought to be writing around 1400 - the first two illustrated and printed by Grüninger at Strasbourg in 1500 (the first in Latin, followed only two months later by the second in German), and one of many versions of the hagiography to appear in the fifteenth and into the sixteenth centuries. The daughter of the governor of Alexandria in the early 4th century, the legend of St Catherine describes how she was persecuted, tortured and eventually beheaded by Emperor Maxentius for refusing to recant her Christian beliefs; launching an effective and scholarly defence of her faith to fifty interlocutors organised in a debate by the Emperor; and successfully converting several of her adversaries, as well as Maxentius' wife (all of whom were subsequently put to death). Repeated attempts at starvation and torture, including being broken on a wheel (hence 'Catherine wheel') were to no effect, and Catherine was eventually martyred.  

Following St Catherine's life are two laudatory prayers in praise of another revered female saint, Helena, mother of Constantine and discoverer of the true cross. These are not part of the 1500 editions.

VD16 ZV 12358. BMSTC (German), p.687 (1500 editions only). 

OCLC (US: Yale only). OPAC (Cambridge, St. Catherine's College only).

Stock Code: 232614

close zoom-in zoom-out close zoom