Admiral of the Ocean Sea

   Posted by: rring   in Uncategorized

Today is Columbus Day, and we librarians are busily working as the students are off visiting family, watching the game (whichever game is on in your part of the country), or sleeping off last night’s party.

Plumbing the depths of the Watkinson today, I drew up quite a nice nugget–Noviter historiarum omnium repercussiones, printed in Venice in 1506.  This is a chronicle that contains one of the earliest printed accounts of Columbus and his voyages.  The great Americana bibliographer Henry Harrisse gives us the following description in 1866:

“Many of the historians of the fifteenth century were mere chroniclers, who kept a historical register of events in the order of time, beginning a mundi incunabulis[i.e., the cradle or beginning of the world], and ending with the year when the manuscript was intrusted to the printer.  Every two or three years, additions were made and new new editions published under the name of the author who had given celebrity to the work, even after he was dead and buried within the walls of the monastery, which had often been his only sphere of action and personal influence.  The present chronicle is one of that character.”

The author was Jacopo Filippo Foresti da Bergamo (1434-1520), who “was of a noble family, and abandoned the world to become a monk of the Augustine order.”   The first edition of this work was printed in Venice in 1483, and it was reprinted with additions as late as 1581.  The first edition to mention Columbus was printed in Venice in 1503.  Aside from this 1506 edition, the Watkinson has an edition printed in 1492, which (of course) makes no mention of the world-changing event that happened that year (it only covers events up to 1490).


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