2 parts in one volume, folio (265 x 185mm.), title printed in red and black in roman type beneath 2 woodcuts (an armillary sphere and royal arms), text mainly in 2 columns, woodcut border to title, ff. cxvi verso, cxix recto, cxxviii recto and title to part 2 (Miscellanea), woodcut device on V7v and final leaf, modern leather gilt, last 4 leaves (Ha Tavoada) repaired at edges without loss, a few other leaves with minor repairs to edges
a chronicle of the reign of john ii (1481-1495) and the events of subsequent years and an important work on portuguese discoveries and the return of columbus from the new world.
second edition, rare. The first edition was printed in 1545 and is known in only a handful of copies, indeed it was unknown to some early bibliographers such as Barbosa (Bibliotheca Lusitana), Salvá (Catálogo de la Biblioteca de Salvá) and Brunet (Manuel du Libraire) who considered this, the 1554 edition, to be the first. This second edition is itself very rare (see References, below) and we have found no record of a copy being sold at auction in over 100 years.
Garcia de Resende (?1470-1536) was a scribe at the court of John II and witnessed many events which he describes in his chronicle. "Resende's devotion to the great king, together with his wide knowledge, his intimacy with the sovereign, who reposed entire confidence in him, and his life at court, give his chronicle a great interest and charm" (Manuel).
John II was a keen supporter of Portuguese exploration. The mouth of the Congo river and the Cape of Good Hope were discovered during his reign and land expeditions were sent to India and also Ethiopia in search of Prester John. One of his chief concerns was to find a maritime route to India and in chapter ccv Resende describes the armada led by Vasco da Gama which was prepared for the expedition. Chapter clxiiii, 'De como se descobriram per Colombo as Antilhas de Castella', is an account of the interview between the king and Columbus in March 1493, when on returning from his first great voyage of discovery Columbus was driven ashore and made his first footfall back on the European mainland at Cascaes, 14 miles from Lisbon. In 1494 Juan II signed the Treaty of Tordesillas with Spain, dividing the non-Christian world between the two countries.
This second edition contains for the first time Resende's Miscelánea, a collection of 300 decimas, observations in rhyme, containing 'a diversity of histories, customs, cases, and things which happened in his time' (title-page), in which "he mentions the wonderful discoveries, and gives interesting pieces of information about the distant lands, enumerating their riches, their precious stones, metals, spices and other important products; he names the animals found there, making special reference to the 'amazing elephants'... He recounts the extraordinary practices of the inhabitants of these lands, such as the virgins of Malabar, Cambaya, Pegu and Meçuá (Musha), and certain rulers of these distant regions... He knew Vasco da Gama, who 'with so many terrors before him did not fear, nor yet turn back, until he had discovered India'" (Manuel).
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