Lot 5
  • 5


20,000 - 30,000 USD
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  • Daniel
  • Somnia Danielis. 
    [Rome: Bartholomaeus Guldinbeck, ca. 1475]
  • Ink, paper, vellum
Chancery quarto (213 × 143 mm). Collation: [110]: 10 leaves. 28 lines. Type 1:108R. Spaces for initials. Unrubricated. Washed. Modern vellum.


Goff D-12; Copinger 1873; GW 7919. M. Hélin, La Clef des songes (Paris, 1925), p. 92, no. 5; See Lawrence T. Martin, Somniale Danielis (Frankfurt/M, 1981).

Catalogue Note

First edition of this recension, extremely rare: one of three recorded copies. The Latin dream interpretation book known as the Somnia Danielis, alluding to the prophet Daniel as the interpreter of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, was translated in the pre-Carolingian period from Byzantine dream sources, and is attested, with considerable variation of contents, in a large number of manuscripts. The earliest vernacular versions are in Old English. Some three dozen Latin incunable editions survive, mostly in one to five copies each, suggesting the probability also of lost editions. Most belong to either of two recensions: one with 431 alphabetical dream interpretations and an introductory paragraph beginning “Ego sum Daniel propheta”; the other, as here, with 444 interpretations and without introductory paragraph, but preceded by a “Lunare”, identifying for each day in the lunar cycle a corresponding Biblical birth or other event, and giving a brief forecast for children born on that day of the cycle. Because they derived ultimately from pagan concepts of prognostication, dream books were highly but ineffectively disapproved by the Roman church.