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Incunabula: The Printing Revolution in Europe, 1455-1500

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About this Collection

Introduction: Incunabula--The Printing Revolution in Europe, 1455-1500

Introduction: Incunabula--The Printing Revolution in Europe, 1455-1500

Based on the Incunabula Short-Title Catalogue at the British Library, this collection is an unprecedented research tool for classical and Renaissance historians, linguists, scholars of illustration and typography, and researchers in the history of medicine, philosophy and law.

Unit 1: Printing in Mainz to 1480
Introduction and selection; Dr. Lotte Hellinga (Former Deputy Keeper, British Library London)

This collection brings together all that survives from the origins of European printing and includes more than 130 publications originating in Mainz between 1454 and 1480 and two states of Gutenbergs 42-line Bible.

Unit 2: The Classics in Translation
Introduction: Professor John Monfasani (Professor of History, State University of New York at Albany)
Selection: Dr. Lotte Hellinga

Includes rare editions and single copies of Italian, French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Dutch and English versions of the Greek and Latin Classics. Among them are editions of the anonymous German translation of Aristotles "Problemata" and Caesars "Gallic War."

Unit 3: Image of the World: Geography and Cosmography
Introduction: Dr. Denis Cosgrove (Professor of Human Geography, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College)
Selection: Dr. Lotte Hellinga

An unparalleled collection depicting medieval thought on the world, including the first accurate printed maps and travelogues. Many cosmographic and cartographic images, as well as written descriptions are included.

Unit 4 and 5: Chronicles and Historiography
Introduction: Dr. Bettina Wagner (Librarian, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München
Selection: Dr. Lotte Hellinga

Presents a range of topics of historiographical works written between the 4th and 15th centuries. Included are editions of the "Historia ecclesiastica tripartita" written by Cassiodorus and Eutropiuss "Breviarium historiae Romanae."

Unit 6: Image of the World: Travellers Tales
Introduction: Dr. Pamela Neville-Sington
Selection; Dr. Lotte Hellinga

Provides remarkable insight into the influence early explorers had on the ideas and imaginations of the time, and includes all known versions and translations of Columbus letter on the discovery of the New World and Bernhard von Breydenbachs pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Units 7, 8, 9 and 10: Printing in Italy Before 1472
Introduction: Professor Luigi Balsamo (Professor of Bibliography, Università di Parma)
Selection; Dr. Lotte Hellinga

This collection contains books from the worlds major collections of Italian printing. Includes early administrative and statutory announcements printed in 1471 and five editions of the Bible.

Units 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 21: Medical Incunabula
ntroduction: Peter Jones (Librarian, Kings College, Cambridge)
Selection; Dr. Lotte Hellinga

This archive of medical thought and practice contains classical and Arabic works of medieval authors, including single sheet broadsides, massive scholarly tomes and case histories. Among the highlights: "Fasciculus medicinae," the most beautiful medical book printed in the 15th century.

Units 16 and 17: Incunabula Hebraica
Introduction and selection; Dr. Adri Offenberg (Curator, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Universiteitsbibliotek Amsterdam)

A comprehensive collection of the Hebrew Incunabula that appeared in Europe and the Ottoman Empire.

Units 18, 19 and 20: Printing in the Baltic Area
Introduction: Dr. Wolfgang Undorf (Librarian, Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm)
Selection; Dr. Lotte Hellinga

Presents illustrated texts published in the Baltic countries. Items include devotional texts such as the "Dialogus Creaturarum" as well as editions of Ovid and Lactantius.

Units 22 and 23: Rhetoric
Introduction and selection: Professor James Murphy (Emeritus Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Davis)

This selection includes classical and medieval rhetorical treatises, letter-writing manuals and original works composed by 15th-century orators and rhetoricians.

Units 24 and 25: Italian Humanism
Introduction and selection: Dr. Martin Davies (Former Head of Incunabula at the British Library, London)

The movement known as "humanism" is represented, reflecting the "rediscovery" of classical texts and the contributions of Italians to the interpretation and creative use of the classics.

Units 26, 27 and 28: Philosophy: Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance
Introduction and selection; Dr. Jill Kraye (Reader in the History of Renaissance Philosophy, Warburg Institute)

Includes classical texts in Greek and Latin, with commentaries by medieval and Renaissance thinkers.

Units 29, 30 and 40: Grammar
Introduction and selection: Dr. Kristian Jensen (Head of Incunabula, the British Library London)

Among the grammars included are the first edition of Aldus Manutiuss Latin Grammar and the first book printed entirely in Greek, Lascariss Erotemata (Milan, 1476).

Units 31, 32 and 33: Sermons
Introduction and selection: Dr. Stephan Borgehammar (Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Lund)

Provides a sample of the almost 200 different sermon collections, plenaria and Good Friday sermons published before 1501 in Latin and various vernaculars.

Units 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39: Law Incunabula
Introduction and selection: Dr. Douglas Osler (Academic Fellow, Max-Planck-Institut für Frankfurt am Main)

Offers important medieval jurisprudence printed before the close of the 15th century, including texts of Roman and canon law and national codes.

Units 41, 42, 43 and 44: Science
Introduction and selection: Dr. Robert Goulding (Member, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Princeton University)

These units survey texts in all fields of science, ranging in date from Antiquity to 1500.

Unit 45: Printing in Greek
Introduction and selection; Dr. Martin Davies

A collection of 60 editions printed in Greek in the 15th century and Latin books with extensive Greek passages.

Units 46 and 47: German Vernacular Literature
Introduction and selection: Professor John Flood (Institute of German Studies, University of London)

These units, offering a wide range of subject matter and literary forms, illustrate how original works created in Germany interlink with works translated or adapted from foreign sources and include medieval heroic poetry, Arthurian romance, exoticism, the didactic and the satirical.

Units 48 and 49: Printing in England
Introduction and selection: Dr. A.S.G. Edwards (FSA, Professor of English, University of Victoria)

William Caxton produced the first book in England at Westminster in 1476. This collection acknowledges the historical and cultural importance of Caxtons achievement by including most of his major works. These include his first and second editions of Chaucers Canterbury Tales (the second is the first illustrated edition of the poem).

Units 50 and 51: Liturgy
Introduction and selection; Dr. Christina Dondi (Lyell Research Fellow, Lincoln College, Oxford)

Liturgical texts were published under the authority of the various dioceses and monastic orders and defined the official order and forms of divine service. This collection of Incunabula liturgies represents the great variety of uses practiced in the period up to the Council of Trent in 1545 and enables comparisons between local churches and orders and their liturgies.

Units 52 and 53: Current Affairs
Introduction and selection: Dr. Margaret Meserve (Princeton University)

These units bring together a wide array of printed material about contemporary events in 15th-century Europe and its rapidly expanding global horizons. The collection includes vernacular ballads and prose accounts of battles, sieges, treaties, trials, coronations, royal marriages, scandals and murders, among many other significant events in the history of Renaissance Europe.

Units 54 and 55: Iberian Printing
Selection: Dr. Martin Davies

Texts printed in the Iberian Peninsula in Latin, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan.

Units 56, 57, 58 and 59: Bibles and Commentaries
Introduction and selection: Dr. Kristian Jensen

A collection of Latin bibles and commentaries as well as translations into German, French, Italian and Czech.

Units 60, 61 and 62: Academic Theology
Introduction and selection: Dr. Jill Kraye

Includes works by leading Medival academic theologians: Aquinas, Alexander of Hales, Anselm, Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Dionysius the Areopagite, Jean Gerson and Peter Lombard.