Erasmus in an Early Stamped Binding

Erasmus, Desiderius. Apophthegmatum ex optimis utrius que linguae scriptoribus per Des. Erasmum Roterod. Collectorum, libri octo. Cum gemino indice, personarum ac rerum, sive sententiarum memorabilium, ab eodem auctore ad calcem operis magna cum diligentia adiectus.

Coloniae Agrippanae [Köln]: Apud Gualtherum Fabricium, and Ioannem Gymnicum sub Monocerote, mdlxx [1570]. 168 x 109 mm (6.5 x 4.25 in). Octavo. [16] 753, [45] pages. In Latin. Table of contents on title page verso. Name and subject (“sententiarum”) indexes.

Bound in alum-tawed pigskin over beveled boards and rounded spine. Decorative blind rolls and blind stamped on both covers. All edges stained red. The large central stamp depicts a figure holding a sword and the scales of justice with an inscription beneath. Ownership inscription on front pastedown: Andreas Drischel Inre me possidet. Anno 1578.” Drischel lived in Breslau, at that time German Silesia, today Poland. Two other early ink inscriptions on front pastedown. Another early ink inscription in Latin and Greek on the front free endpaper. 

Good. Boards rubbed and soiled. Stain on the lower left corner of the front board. Corner of the rear board is bumped. Back cover image, which appears to be of a woman committing suicide, rather worn and damaged. 

Erasmus’s translations of extracts and short narratives—a smattering of things well said—from classical authors such as Plutarch, Quintillian, Socrates, Diogenes, Pliny, Seneca, Herodotus, and others. Topics are noted in printed marginal notes and include music, marriage, honor, glory, and sundry others. 

An adjunct to the education of princes. Erasmus’s approach in Apophthegmatum follows up on the pedagogy laid out in Institutio principis Christiani, written for the future Charles v, in which Erasmus recommends a short list of readings that will help guide an effective ruler. Similarly, these sayings attempt to distill practical knowledge from ancient sources. 

Pigskin binding illustrated with a blind stamp of a lawyer or judge on front and female suicide on back. The blind stamped illustration on the binding includes an inscription on the front stamp that reads: Iusticia quisquis Picturam Lumine Cernis dic deus est iustus iustaque facta probat.” Combined with the image of the man holding both sword and scales, indicating leadership and rule of law, suggests this book may have been owned by a lawyer, judge, or prince–precisely the kind of individual Erasmus sought to educate. The blind stamped illustration on the back is heavily faded and damaged, but appears to depict a woman committing suicide with a dagger. Likely an image of Lucretia, a Roman noblewoman who committed suicide after she was raped. The blind stamped illustrations make our copy a special one.


See, The Sixteenth Century Journal. Vol. 46, No. 3 (Fall 2015), pp. 814–816, wherein Peter A. Huff in an editorial review describes Erasmus’s Apophthegmatum as a Paper Academy”.

VD16 e 2050

USTC 612548

No auction records of this edition in Rare Book Hub. 


In stock

Stock Code: 1132B16 Collection: Catalogue:


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