Author: Herburt Jan, 1524 - 1577
Title: Chronica Sive Historiae Polonicae Compendiosa, Ac Per Certa Librorum Capita ad facilem memoriam recens facta descriptio.
Title in English: Chronicle or a Summary of Polish History and a Recent Description for Facilitating Memory Made by Means of Certain Chapters.
Published:: Basel, Oporiniana, 1571.
Format: first edition. 4to, pp. , 368, .
Roman letter; a few historiated or floriated initials, large portrait of the dedicatee, King Sigismund II of Poland, on title verso; small marginal wormholes in first and final gatherings, repair to blank outer upper corner of last three leaves, light damp stain and foxing occasionally to margins. A very good, wide-margined copy in contemporary German alum-tawed pigskin over boards, dated 1572 at foot of front panel and elaborately blind-tooled with two rolls of Biblical figures (Paul, John the Baptist, Christ, Peter) and medallions of Roman emperors in foliage, large central plates of the Crucifixion beside Isaac's sacrifice and the Bronze Snake (front) and of the Resurrection (rear); on spine, contemporary inked shelfmark and slightly later title paper label; lightly dust-soiled, repairs to outer upper corner of covers.
Finely bound copy of the first edition of a seminal work for Polish history and identity. Jan Herburt z Felsztyna (1524 -1578) was a prominent humanist, jurist and diplomat as well as advisor of Sigismund II Augustus, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. All his literary output is devoted to the Polish land and people. In 1563, he drafted in Latin the statutes of the kingdom, while his Chronica describes the major national events from the 6th century, at the supposed time of Lech, founding hero of Poland, up to the death of Sigismund the Old in 1548. This learned work is dedicated to Sigismund II, whose woodcut detailed portrait as a 35-year-old enlightened ruler appears on the verso of title. Sigismund was the last of the Jagellionian suzerains, marking the peak of the Polish Renaissance. Under the influence of his mother, Queen Bona Sforza, Sigismund brought forward the vast cultural promotion started by his father and built a splendid library for himselfand the celebrated University of Krakow.
The plates of this beautiful German binding are attributed by Haebler (I, 37, IV and VI) to the renowned artist Gregor Bernutz. Despite showing a traditional biblical and all'antica iconography, the elaborate rolls find no perfect match in Einbanddatenbank or elsewhere.
Reference: BM STC Ger., 397; Adams, H 309; Brunet, III, 111; Graesse, III, 247; Estreicher XVIII, 129.