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This chasoslovets (book of hours or horologion) is the first book printed by the first Bulgarian printer, Iakov (Jacob) Kraikov. It is a collection of prayers, eulogies, saints’ lives, and apocrypha that both served as a daily handbook for priests and was valued by lay readers in search of knowledge and enlightenment. Kraikov printed the book in Venice, at the largest Slavic Cyrillic printing-house for Serbs and Bulgarians in the city, which he acquired in 1566. The selection of font, typesetting, pagination, and the rich artful decoration (more than 30 ...
Ismāʻīl, the Persian Ambassador of Ṭahmāsp, King of Persia
Melchior Lorck, or Lorichs (1527–circa 1590), was the most brilliant graphic artist in 16th-century Denmark. He was born in Flensburg of distinguished parents; the Danish kings took up residence in the Lorck house when visiting the city. In 1549 King Christian III gave Lorck financial support to go on an educational journey. Lorck’s wanderlust led him throughout Europe and in the end to Vienna, where he gained employment with Emperor Charles V. From 1555 to 1559 Lorck was one of three ambassadors sent by the emperor to Constantinople ...
Map of Denmark from the Atlas “Theatrum orbis terrarum”
The Flemish scholar and geographer Abraham Ortelius (1527–98) published the first edition of his Theatrum orbis terrarum (Theater of the world) in 1570. Containing 53 maps, each with a detailed commentary, it is considered the first true atlas in the modern sense: a collection of uniform map sheets and accompanying text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. The 1570 edition was followed by editions in Latin, Dutch, French, German, and Spanish, with an ever-increasing number of maps. Shown here is the first ...
General Business Ledger of the Plantin Press, 1563–67
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is the general business ledger of the press for the period 1563–67, when Plantin had to provide his financial partners with a ...
The Royal Bible. Missal. Accounts of the King of Spain, 1568–1578
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Antwerp was at that time under Spanish rule, and Plantin held the monopoly on printing religious works for the Spanish home and colonial market. Shown ...
This atlas has been attributed to the important Portuguese cartographer, navigator, and illuminator Fernão Vaz Dourado (circa 1520−80), based on similarities between other maps by Vaz and illustrations in this manuscript. Vaz spent his last years in Portuguese Goa (present-day India) and is known to have produced seven brilliantly illuminated sea atlases between 1568 and 1580. His portolan charts belong to a class of late-16th-century cartographic masterpieces, which reflect the period’s rising demand for cartographic works that were both visually impressive and accurate for practical navigation. This atlas ...
Presented here is the first printed edition of Os Lusiadas (The Lusiads), the national epic of Portugal, published in Lisbon in 1572. Composed by the poet, soldier, and sailor Luís de Camões (circa 1524−80), the poem celebrates the great Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1469−1524) and the achievements of Portugal and its people in venturing out into the Atlantic, rounding the tip of Africa, and forging a path to India. The poem is comprised of ten cantos, each with a variable number of stanzas. Each stanza is written ...
Emblems: With Many Images from Ancient Works; by Ján Sambucus of Tyrnavia in Pannonia
Emblemata: Cvm Aliqvot Nvmmis Antiqvi Operis (Emblems: with many images from ancient works) is by the notable Slovak poet, polymath, publisher, collector, and university professor Ján Sambucus (also known as János Zsámboki, 1531−84). Born in Trnava (also referred to as Tyrnavia) in western Slovakia, Sambucus was considered to be the outstanding humanistic personality of Central Europe. He maintained contacts with many European scholars, with whom he collaborated in his publishing and collecting activities and his historical research. A substantial part of his life was spent at the imperial court ...
Explanation of the Gospels that the Sacred Mother Church Reads and Proclaims Throughout the Year on Sundays and Other Holidays
Az Evangeliomoknac, Mellyeket Vasarnapokon, Es Egyeb Innepeken Esztendö Altal, Az Anyaszentegyhazban oluasni es Praedicallani szoktanac, Magarazattyanac. Masodic Resze : Mely Magaban Foglallya, Hvsvettvl Fogva, Adventig Valo Vasarnapi Evangeliomokat (Explanation of the Gospels that the Sacred Mother Church reads and proclaims throughout the year on Sundays and other holidays) is the second volume of a large multivolume work of sermons in Hungarian by church dignitary and religious writer Mikuláš Telegdy (also seen as Miklós Telegdi, 1535−86). The second volume also contains sermons for Sundays from Easter to Advent. The work was ...
Modern Geographic Table of Geography
Antoine du Pérac Lafréry (1512-77) was a French engraver who settled in Rome, probably in the early 1540s, where he became a celebrated publisher of maps. Lafréry assembled and bound collections of maps from various sources, which he sold under the title Tavole moderne di geografia...di diversi autori raccolte et messe secondo l’ordine di Tolemeo (Modern geographical maps...from various authors, collected and organized according to Ptolemy’s geographical order). This work dates from around 1575, a few years after Abraham Ortelius, working in Antwerp, published the first ...
The Special Features of French Antarctica, Otherwise Called America, and of Several Lands and Islands Discovered in Our Time
André Thevet (1516/17-92) was a Franciscan friar who traveled widely and, through his writings, helped to establish cosmographie--as geography was called at the time--as a science in 16th-century France. After making trips to Africa and the Middle East in the 1540s, he was appointed chaplain to the expedition of Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon, which set out from Le Havre in May 1555 to establish a colony in Brazil. The expedition landed near present-day Rio de Janeiro in November of the same year. In January 1556, Thevet fell ill ...
Sixth Map of Asia: Which Includes Arabia Felix, Carmania, and the Persian Gulf
This map from Ptolemy’s Geographia was published in 1578 and reprinted on many occasions between 1584 and 1704. It is much more finely engraved than maps in previous Ptolemy editions. The map mentions several places in present-day Qatar (Abucei, Leaniti, Themi, Asateni, and Aegei). Names added to this edition of the map include Mesmites Sinus, Idicar, and a second Idicar, located in present-day Kuwait. This name is similar to the island of “Ichara” found near Magorum Sinus. Contemporary research has confirmed that Kharj is the island known to the ...
A Modern and Quite Precise Depiction of America (or the Fourth Part of the World)
In 1554, Diego Gutiérrez was appointed principal cosmographer to the king of Spain in the Casa de la Contratación. The crown commissioned the Casa to produce a large-scale map of the western hemisphere, often called the “fourth part of the world.” The purpose of the map was to assert Spain’s claims to new world territories against the rival claims of Portugal and France. Spain claimed all lands south of the Tropic of Cancer, which is shown prominently. The map was engraved by the famous Antwerp engraver Hieronymus Cock, who ...
Chavero Codex of Huexotzingo
The Chavero Codex concerns economics and taxation. It is written in Latin characters and contains 18 plates of glyphs and numerical counts using the Mesoamerican system of numbers and measurement, with variations that originated in the region of Huexotzingo (in present-day Puebla, Mexico). The codex is a part of the documentation of a judicial proceeding in the royal court, initiated by the community of Huexotzingo against indigenous officials accused of levying unjust and excessive taxes. The officials, responding to a questionnaire, describe the different taxes paid by the 21 districts ...
Anatomical Fugitive Sheets of a Skeleton, Male Figure and a Female Figure
These woodcut anatomical sheets of male and female figures, published in Germany in 1573, reflect the state of anatomical knowledge at that time. The explanatory texts on each sheet are in Latin, with some names of anatomical parts also given in Greek. The sheets use movable flaps that can be raised to show cut-aways of the viscera attached beneath. The sheets have accessory figures that depict various parts of the body, with corresponding explanatory texts.
Theater of Instruments and Machines
A new type of book appeared in Europe in the late 16th century, representing a genre of literature known as the “theater of machines.” The first of the theaters was produced by Jacques Besson (circa 1540–73), a French Protestant, born in Grenoble, who worked primarily as a mathematics teacher until royal patronage came his way. In 1559, Besson published a book on extracting oils and waters from simple drugs. His second book, Le Cosmolabe, published in 1567, described an elaborate instrument that could be used for navigation, surveying, cartography ...
Opening Proclamation from University Authorities Prior to an Academic Term
The University of Vienna was founded by Duke Rudolph IV of Austria in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. As at other European universities, the primary language of scholarship was Latin. This proclamation in Latin is by Petrus Muchitsch, a classical philologist and theologian who twice served as rector of the university, in 1577–78 and again in 1578. In this greeting, Petrus invites the students of the university to resume their studies following the end of the 1578 epidemic of plague in Vienna. Printed in ...
Wolfgangus Lazius is the Latinized name of Wolfgang Laz (1514–65), an Austrian humanist, historian, cartographer, and physician who produced the first set of maps of the hereditary lands of the Austrian crown. Lazius was professor of medicine on the faculty of the University of Vienna, where he was several times dean and rector. Emperor Ferdinand I appointed him his personal physician, historiographer, and adviser, as well as curator of the imperial collections. Like many 16th century scholars trained in the sciences, Lazius was drawn to the emerging art of ...
An Illustrated Survey of Dikes and Dams in Jianghan Region
The work was compiled by Shi Duchen, who received the title of jin shi (doctoral degree) in the 35th year of the Jiajing reign (1556) and later became the governor of Shuntian Fu (present-day Beijing). The work depicts the dams and dikes of the Huguang region, which included Hubei and Hunan provinces. The Xiang, Zi, Yuan and Li Rivers converge on the Yangtze River at Lake Dongting in northeastern Hunan, which is known as the water country. During the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming dynasty (1522-1566), three imperial ...
Abstracts on the Physiognomy of Horses
This is a two-volume manuscript, by an unknown author. The material originated from a wide range of works on horses dating from earlier times. It records in great detail the shapes of horses, which were often used to judge the quality of a horse. The work also contains about 100 verses on the treatment of horses, written in a folk-song style, listing the equine diseases that were prevalent at the time and the remedies. The illustrations are included at the end of the second volume. The manuscript dates from the ...
Treatise on Material Medica
Zheng zhi ben cao (Treatise on materia medica) was compiled by Lu Zhizhu, a native of Tongcheng, Anhui Province, and edited and printed by Ruan Zisong. According to the compiler’s preface and a postscript in the work, Lu Zhizhu, although clever and versatile, was unsuccessful as a candidate for the imperial examinations. He gave up his previous studies, devoted himself to medicine, and became known for his deep knowledge and effective treatments. He eventually became a famed court physician. This work in 14 juan was compiled by Lu, based ...