Lycosthenes, Prodigiorum ac ostentorum chronicon, Basel, 1557, later calf
[Prodigiorum et ostentarum chronicon]. (Basel: Heinrich Petri, August 1557)
FIRST EDITION, folio (274 x 184mm.), woodcut initials and illustrations, contemporary calf, lacking 8 leaves (title-page, E5, S6, T1, X6, Cc3-4 and Hh1), preliminaries stained, A4, C2, R1 and Yy4 and CC2 torn with loss, occasional staining and marginal tearing; sold not subject to return
A fascinating "wonder book", a chronicle of strange events from the beginning of time to the present day, profusely illustrated with more than 1500 woodcuts. Lycosthenes based his work on that of Julius Obsequens, a late antique writer of the Liber de prodigiis (containing relevant extracts from Livy), which Lycosthenes had edited for publication in 1552 with woodcut illustrations, which were subsequently reused and the text expanded for his own work, bringing Obsequens's narrative up to modern times. The illustrations show monstrous births and human deformities, earthquakes, comets, and even a UFO over Arabia in the fifteenth century.
VD16 W 4314
nineteenth-century French armorial bookplate with the shelfmark 2.3.4; D.L. Cumming, signature on inside front cover
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