Chancery folio (295 x 205mm.), 538 leaves (first and last leaves blank), double column, 48 lines plus headline, Gothic letter, 3- to 16-line initials supplied in red or blue, red initial-strokes, nineteenth-century limp vellum with fabric ties, early vellum wrapper bound in, Latin manuscript fragment on vellum bound at end, nineteenth-century manuscript notes and contents list at front, occasional slight damp-staining (causing some offsetting of coloured initials), first and last few leaves slightly damaged (not affecting text)
HC 3094; GW 4258; BMC iii 749; Goff B581
This is known as one of the "Fontibus ex Graecis" editions of the Bible, named from the verses appearing at the end of the text, claiming to be a more accurate version of the text. Darlow & Moule record 10 editions printed between 1479 and 1489, this being one of two produced in 1486.
Amerbach's bibles contained a marginal concordance for the New Testament (not just the Gospels),a register (describing the contents) of each Gospel, and some mnemonic verses. "Reinforcing the German trend of accumulation of texts found in B42, Amerbach provided an apparatus which aimed to make the Bible much more useful for serious scholarly study for which memorization was an important part" (K. Jensen, "Printing the Bible in the Fifteenth Century" in Incunabula and their readers, London 2003, p.121).
Amerbach had studied at the Sorbonne and set up his press in Basel in 1477. His productions were renowned for their accuracy and appearance, and he employed his teacher from the Sorbonne, Johann Heynlin, as editorial advisor. Amerbach later worked in partnership with Joannes Froben (see lot 31) who maintained the production and editorial standards of the Amerbach press.
The leaf of manuscript bound at the end is from a mid-twelfth century German missal, most probably a pastedown recovered from an earlier binding. It is a bifolium (somewhat trimmed) with 21-22 main text lines in a good German hand with rubrics in red, capitals touched in red, and numerous lines in a smaller script with cheironomic neumes.
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