Historia rerum ubique gestarum

Historia rerum ubique gestarum

Venice (Italy) — 1477

The history and geography of Asia from the pen of a later Pope: Christopher Columbus' personal copy of the cosmographic masterpiece by Eneas Silvio Piccolomini, better known as Pius II

  1. The cosmographic work by the eventual Pope Pius II (1405–1464) concerns itself with the history and geography of Asia

  2. This is the personal copy of Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) with comments and notes from his hand

  3. Considered today to be a masterpiece of typography and the anthropology of Asia

Historia rerum ubique gestarum

Facsimile Copy Available!
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(1,000€ - 3,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Historia rerum ubique gestarum

The Historia rerum ubique gestarum, the cosmographic work by Eneas Silvio Piccolomini, who would become Pope Pius II, concerns itself with the continent of Asia and assembles the historical and geographic knowledge of its time accessible in Europe. A special edition of the papal work is housed in the Biblioteca Capitular y Colombiana in Seville: the personal copy of Christopher Columbus with detailed annotations and notes by his hand, sometimes occupying entire pages. Printed in 1477 by Johann von Köln and Johann Manthen in first-class quality, the Venetian incunabulum is an impressive testimony to the extensive preparations that the famous seafarer and explorer made for his expeditions on behalf of the Spanish Crown. For this, among other things, he drew on the findings of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum, which he apparently studied intesively!

Historia rerum ubique gestarum

The cosmographic work by Eneas Silvio Piccolomini, who would become Pope Pius II, concerns itself with the continent of Asia and assembles the historical and geographic knowledge of its time. A special edition of the papal work is housed in the Biblioteca Capitular y Colombiana in Seville: the personal copy of Christopher Columbus with comments and notes from his hand. The great explorer relied on the knowledge of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum during preparations for his expeditions!

A Typographical Masterpiece

The Historia rerum ubique gestarum was printed in 1477 in Venice by Johann von Köln and Johann Manthen, two Venetian book printers in the last quarter of the 15th century. Then 15th century incunabulum comprises 224 pages measuring 28.4 x 21.6 cm. Today, the book is considered to be “a typographical masterpiece”. Alongside the text, it contains illustrative and explanative plans, diagrams, and drawings, which helpfully support reading and study.

The Papal Cosmographer

The composer of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum was Eneas Silvio Piccolomini (1405–1464). This Italian humanist and politician was known as Pope Pius II (1458–1464). He also composed a comprehensive cosmographic work, of which only two volumes concerning Europe and Asia were realized, in addition to his humanistic writings. Under the title Historia rerum ubique gestarum cum locorum descriptione non finite Asia Minor, this text has long served as a fundamental work of Asian geography.

A Comprehensive Description of Asia

In this historical-geographical text, Piccolomini assembles the scientific and geographical knowledge of his time. The Historia rerum ubique gestarum cum locorum descriptione non finite Asia Minorcontains a description of Asia with the most contemporary knowledge of the time concerning the continent. At the same time, the most recent events between the Turks and the Christians are accounted for in a most elegant and objective way. Geography, history, and anthropology are assembled here together with other interesting descriptions and a comprehensive encyclopedia.

The Explorer of the Americas

This particular specimen of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum from the Biblioteca Capitular y Colombina in Seville possesses additional historical significance: it is the personal copy of Christopher Columbus! This significant explorer of the Americas relied on the work by Piccolomini while preparing for his expeditions to America at the behest of the Spanish crown. The numerous comments and notes from his hand, which cover the pages of the book, impressively convey how intensely Columbus grappled with the text.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Historium rerum ubique gestarum
La Historia rerum ubique gestarum del papa Pio II y el descubrimiento de América
Size / Format
300 pages / 22.0 × 20.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1477
Language
Script
Christopher Columbus' handwriting
Illustrations
1 colored chart
Content
Cosmographic work concerned with the history and geography of Asia with notes from the hand of Christopher Columbus
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Christopher Columbus (1451–1506)
Ferdinand Columbus (1488–1539)

Available facsimile editions:
Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1991
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1991
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Mudéjar leather with gold plated tacks and brads Presented with the commentary volume in a grey velvet case
Commentary: 2 volumes (386/372 pages) by Antonio Ramírez de Verger and Juan Pérez de Tudela
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
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