cliii ff, (1) blank f., (4) ff. n. ch. (registrum); gothic type, 2 col. 53 l.
The most beautiful illustrated incunabula edition of De re agricultura.
The first treatise on agronomy of the Middle Ages, it was composed around 1300 by the Bolognese Pietro de Crescenzi (1230-1316), the father of agronomic science in Italy. Having studied natural sciences, philosophy, medicine and law, Peter of Crescenzi left Bologna and travelled throughout Italy for thirty years to work as a forensic scientist in the provincial towns and to study the various methods of agriculture. He drew on the writings of ancient agronomists (Cato, Varro, Palladius, Columella) and added his own precise observations to compose this innovative work.
The original edition appeared in 1471 in Augsburg in Latin (Liber ruralium Comodorum), dedicated to Charles II, King of Sicily. The work was soon translated into Italian (Florence, 1478), and into German (1493). This work remained for more than two centuries a reference treaty.
Divided into 12 books, it deals with agriculture, horticulture, vine and wine (book IV), fruit trees, herbs and their medicinal virtues, horses and cattle, etc...
Charles V had a French translation made in 1373 of book IV devoted to wine, and the first French edition of this same book appeared in 1486 under the title Livre des proufitz champestres et ruraulx, decorated with a few woodcuts (which became Le Bon Menaisger in 1533).
This Latin edition was printed by Peter Drach in Speyer, Germany. Bibliographers give various dates between 1490 and 1495.
It includes the most abundant illustration made for this work, and is decorated with 313 woodcuts (some repeated) representing plants (cereals, trees, herbs, flowers), viticulture (vine care, making hoods, grape harvest, crushing grapes, putting into barrels, decanting, tasting... - IV), agricultural activities (plowing, haying, sowing, planting, tree pruning, stonecutters, carpenters, irrigation), animal care (horses, poultry, cattle, grazing, beekeeping - IX), fishing and hunting (falcon, crossbow, deer, wolf... - book X): most pages have 1 to 4 antlers. "It is one of the most interesting of the old German books as far as woodcuts are concerned" (Simon).
This precious edition thus offers a first-rate iconography of the agricultural world in the 14th century.
Title page soiled, with handwritten notes. Some leaves slightly shorter. F°ix reenlarged. Notebook N (f° lxxv to lxxx) placed after f° xxxii. Marginal annotations and old bookplates. Stains and stains. Some marginal losses due to paper defects. First counterpart lined with an old score. Binding stained, small worm holes.
Spine of the case slightly faded.
Simon, Bach. I, 36 (and pl. IV to XVIII) - Menessier de La Lance, I, 328 - Nissen 421 - Pritzel 1966 - Schreiber V, 3788 - Proctor 1441 - Thiébaud, 220: "One of the most beautiful illustrated German books of this period". - Hain 5826.