BURLEY, Walter (1275-?1345). De vita et moribus philosophorum. [Nuremberg:] Friedich Creussner, 30 June 1479.


BURLEY, Walter (1275-?1345)De vita et moribus philosophorum. [Nuremberg:] Friedich Creussner, 30 June 1479. (Bound with )Pseudo-HIERONYMUS. Vitae sanctorum patrum, sive Vitas patrum. [Cologne: Conrad Winters, de Homborch, c. 1481-82]. (And) MARTYROLOGIUM — Viola sanctorum. [Augsburg: Johann Keller,] 1482.

3 works in one volume, chancery 2° (278 x 202mm). Contemporary German blindstamped pigskin over thick wooden boards, panelled sides with central diapering and 5 brass bosses, brass corner-strips, 2 fore-edge clasps, “Vita Patrum” lettered along lower edges, a few MS quire guards (rubbed, darkened, bosses and clasps later).

Collation first work: Collation: [16 2-98 106] (1/1 blank, 1/2r table, 2/1 text, 10/6v colophon). 76 leaves. 35 lines, table in two columns. Type: 1:110G. 2- to 4-line initial spaces, rubricated. (Some staining, mostly marginal but occasionally more extensive).

Collation second work:[1-410 5-68; 7-108 1-126 13-188 1010] (1/1 blank, 1/2r Bks. 1-2, 7/1r Bks. 3-4, 10/10 blank). 157 leaves (of 158, without final blank). 39 lines, double column. Type: 1:99G, 3:168G. 2- to 5-line initial spaces, rubricated, adding headlines. (Some staining, occasionally repaired, small hole in 3/9.) An additonal 8-leaf quire bound in before this work contains an extensive contemporary MS index. Not in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

Collation third work: [110 2-78 88(8+1); 9-138 1412] (1/1 blank, 1/2r January-July, 9/1r August-December). 119 leaves. 30 lines and headline, printed shoulder notes. Woodcut and lombard initials. Rubricated. (8/3.6 disjoint, a few corners and final fore-margin renewed, marginal staining, repaired tear with minimal loss in 8/6, small hole in 11/2 with minor loss.). Third edition.

Provenance: contemporary contents listing the three works on first blank; Henricus Grumbach (contemporary inscription); extensive contemporary annotations; Johann Georg Strignitius, of Büttstadt (inscriptions in first work, dated 1716); Augustinus Bischoff, Rector of Büttstadt (inscription dated 1716) — two notes on early printing, one on Gutenberg; inserted flyleaves with late 18th-century notes on the bibliography of Burley, citing Panzer and Reimann.


The three works provide a comprehensive biographical dictionary of secular and religious men and women throughout history. It unites Burley’s Lives of Poets and Philosophers (including Archimedes, Homer, Hermes, Plotinus, Virgil and Zoroaster) and two collections of saints’ lives. The works were brought together soon after printing, as the contemporary contents list makes clear, possibly by the Henricus Grumbach who signed the first leaf. It was later in the hands of several generations of bibliophiles who added endpapers with bibliographical notes on the editions, citing 18th-century authorities such as Panzer. One earlier note discusses Schoeffer’s printing of versal initials and another rehearses the Coster claim, giving Laurens of Haarlem as the inventor of printing, an art then perfected by Gutenberg in 1442, leading to printing the Latin Bible in 1450. The Viola sanctorum is one of only 4 works known to have been printed by Keller at Augsburg.


Additional information




Provenance: Bookshelf note on title; Domus Prob. Prov. Veneto Med. S.J. (stamp) – Christie's 2013, asta 9702, lotto 296.