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Historia septem sapientum Romae
Johann Koelhoff sr

4to, [50] ff [a-g6, H8], 37 ll, gothic type, woodcuts, contemporary calf (skilfully rebacked), clasps gone. Very good copy

"Very rare (some 15 copies preserved, several incomplete) Latin Cologne edition of a popular medieval cycle of stories, 'The Seven Sages of Rome'. It tells the story of the Emperor Pontian's son Diocletian, who got accused by his jealous stepmother (who in vain had tried to seduce him), but was finally set free by his seven Masters (analogous to the 'Seven Wise Men of Greece'). The story shows oriental elements taken from the Old Testament (Joseph and Potiphar) and Arabian stories (1001 Nights, Sindbad). The 1st printed edition was also published in Cologne by J. Veldener in 1475. The present edition is remarkable for its 23 large woodcuts. They were first used in the Low German edition published by Claes Leeu (and printed by his brother Gerard) in Antwerp on 11 April 1488. The Leeu brothers lent them to Koelhoff, and re-used them in Antwerp Latin edition by Gerard Leeu of 6 November 1490 under the new Latin title 'Historia calumnie novercalis' Ref.: ISTC is00449000; GW 12853; Goff S-449; Polain 4440 (incompl. copy in KUL); IDL 2330; Vouilliéme (Köln) 587; BMC I 230. Woodcuts: Schramm VIII-301, 303-314 and Kok 92.1-12"