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Early European Books (EEB)

Printed sources from continental Europe to 1700, now on the ProQuest Platform

Collection 17

Collection 17 - French Culture in the Early Modern Period - Statecraft and LawJournal de M. le Cardinal duc de Richelieu 1648

To be released in May 2020

  • Titles:  approx. 1180
  • Pages: approximately 501,000
  • From the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

Early European Books Collection 17 follows on from a previous focus on the early modern French cultural scene by bringing together items on the theme of Statecraft and Law. Selected entirely from the holdings of Paris’s Bibliothèque nationale de France, a rich assembly is provided which has contemporary French political discourse and legal documents at its core but gives a broader European context through its inclusion of texts by the likes of Hobbes, Machiavelli and many others. Collection 17 is also enhanced by the further inclusion of cherished items from the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, this time featuring a selection of Mazarinades, bitingly satirical pamphlets written and distributed at the time of the series of civil wars known as La Fronde.

The history of early modern France was a bloody and fractious one. Yet it was also a time which saw France’s emergence as a nation-state and the consolidation of the territorial space it still occupies today. Including coverage of customary, canon and Roman law, collection items show how France codified its legal system by building on a shared European inheritance of surviving classical codices and their medieval glosses. Among these is the Codicis legum Wisigothorum (Paris, 1579) and the Codicis Theodosiani (Paris, 1586). Both are Sebastian Nivellium printings, the latter edited by Jacques Cujas (d.1590), who also annotated the featured 1618 Lyon edition of Justinian’s Corpus juris civilis, the touchstone 6th-century revision of Roman law. Collection 17 additionally gathers print editions of seminal medieval canon law works by Burchard of Worms and Gratian, as well as incunable editions of the glossator Accursius and the French canonist Gilles de Bellemère.

The legacy of the Justinian Corpus is attested in myriad items featured in Collection 17. These include texts by François Baudouin (d.1573), who was first to reconstruct the code, and Florum sparsio ad jus Justinianeum (Paris, 1642) by the Dutch founder of international law, Hugo Grotius (d.1645). Items on customary law also abound. These include works by Renée Choppin (d.1606) and Claude de Ferrière (d.1715), plus documents relating to specific French cities or regions. Another prominent figure is Charles Dumoulin (d.1566). His Commentarii – found here in a 1576 Paris edition – provides both a common law of custom and a defence of the French monarchy as an absolutist institution. This absolutist idea had earlier also been shared by Guillaume Budé (d.1540), whose Annotationes (1508) is included in two editions.

Other political items cover a rich mixture of areas and embrace a broader range of sources. For example, a concern for international diplomacy is reflected in items like Antoine Varillas’s (d.1696) La Politique de la maison d''Autriche (The Hague, 1689) and a selection of Arnaud d’Ossat’s (d.1604) letters written while Henri IV’s ambassador to Rome. More famous figures include Thomas Hobbes (d.1679), examples of whose work appear in the earliest French translations. Also featured are titles by Nicolò Machiavelli (d.1527), notorious author of Il Principe (1513). Alongside printings of this key work are collected translations of his Discorsi (1517) and of Dell’Arte della Guerra (1519), among other crucial texts.

A wealth of contemporary ordinances, edicts and proclamations is also featured, as well as further examples of French legal factums. These official publications instance the machinery of government and law in action, giving a window onto day-to-day proceedings and habits as no abstract thesis ever could. A fresh level of insight can be glimpsed too in print editions of correspondence by figures like the Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, and Marie de’ Medici. Grouped side-by-side, these varied strata of political and legal items are sure to help conjure and provoke new understandings of the early modern French and European polity.

Collection 16

Collection 16 - French Culture in the Early Modern PeriodLes Ouvres des Mr Moliere Tome I ed Paris 1673 - Coat of Arms

Released November 2019

  • Titles:  approx. 1374
  • Pages: approximately 515,000
  • From the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

Early European Books Collection 16 presents a generous survey of early modern French culture through a selection of printed items from the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Panoramic in its scope, Collection 16 extends across a multitude of subject areas to highlight the many facets of the French cultural scene. The collection also significantly builds on previous BnF-based releases through the premiere inclusion of items from the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, a treasured part of the national library which houses numerous unique historic archives.

Included among the survey are print editions of classical and medieval works. Classical items, printed in France and often in French translation, speak jointly of a sense of shared European heritage and the importance of the classics to the emergence of a distinctive French identity and culture. Featured among over a hundred texts are editions by France’s leading classical scholars including Isaac Casaubon (1599-1614), Michel de Marolles (1600-1681) and André Dacier (1651-1722). Also featured are influential burlesques of classical literature such as a 1669 two-volume edition of Paul Scarron’s (1610-1660) Virgile travesty and a 1665 L’Ovide Bouffon by Louis Richer. Meanwhile, medieval items provide a mixture that look to a broader European culture and beyond. Among these are copies of a 1678 edition of Petrarch’s prose in French translation, incunable editions of Jean Gerson and Lyon imprints of the works of the Islamic Golden Age physician Avicenna.

Early modern French literary works are well-represented across the genres. Poetry items include a 1587 edition of Pierre Ronsard’s (1524-1585) Les Eclogues et Mascarades, an original 1686 printing of Balthazar de Bonnecorse’s (1631-1706) Lutrigot and versions of Ovid by the dramatist Thomas Corneille (1625-1709). A 1682 edition of his Poèmes dramatiques also features, sitting alongside a 1648 printing of the tragedy Polyeucte martyr by the author’s more celebrated brother, the great Pierre Corneille (1606-1684). Central to Collection 16’s drama selection, however, is the work of France’s pre-eminent comedic playwright, Molière (1622-1673), whose collected plays are presented in late-17th century illustrated editions printed in Paris, Lyon and Toulouse. Prose works include satirical dialogues by Eustache Le Noble (1643-1711), a 1646 first edition of Mlle de Sénecterre’s Orasie, and a 1699 Paris edition of the multifarious Oeuvres of François de La Mothe Le Vayer (1588-1672).

Among other things, La Mothe Le Vayer was a champion of Scepticism and Collection 16 further features individual editions of his philosophical dialogues such as La Promenade (1663). Other philosophy titles include a 1626 edition of the 17th-century bestseller Summa philosophiae quadripartite by Eustache de Saint-Paul (1573-1640) and Rouen editions of Scipion Dupleix’s (1569-1661) Corps de philosophie. A 1666 edition of La Rochefoucauld’s famous Maximes can also be found, as can copies of Michel de Montaigne’s great Essais, originally published in 1580 but featured here in corrected editions dating from the mid-1600s. Works of a more spiritual nature include an early edition of Léon de Saint-Jean’s (1600-1671) Le Portrait de la sagesse universalle and a 1675 first edition of the poet Jean Desmarets de Saint-Sorlin’s (1595-1676) Les Délices de l’esprit.

A leading literary figure of his day, Desmarets de Saint-Sorlin was also an inaugural member of the Académie française, the national institution established in 1635 tasked with regulating the French language. As part of its survey, Collection 16 likewise encompasses writings on the French language, as well as incorporating items reflecting France’s development as a nation-state, such as legal documents, political tracts and historical writings. Items on the French language include a 1647 edition of Remarques sur la langue françoise by Claude Favre de Vaugelas (1585-1650) and a 1692 Réflexions ou remarques critiques sur l'usage présent de la langue françoise by Nicolas Andry de Boisregard (1658-1742). Legal documents featured include some intriguing 17th-century factums or memoires judiciaires outlining court case arguments. History books featured cover a range of topics but tend towards French ecclesiastical and civic history, as well as to royal and heraldic ancestry. One highlight is Marcus Vulson de la Colombière’s (d. 1658) Les portraits des hommes illustre françois which features full-length portraits of the many historical figures he celebrates.

Works on pedagogy constitute another survey strand. These include a 1539 Lyon edition of the earliest handbook on child education, De Civilitate morum puerilium (1530) by Erasmus (1456-1536), as well as a 1542 Paris edition of Christoff Hegendorff’s (1500-1540) Christiana studiosae juventutis institutio. Similar texts by homegrown French authors include Christophe Plantin’s (d.1589) Dialogues françois pour les jeunes enfans (Antwerp, 1567) and a 1687 Paris edition of Pierre Coustel’s (1624-1704) Les règles de l'éducation des enfants. Instructional volumes also include titles on etiquette and the art of conversation. Among these number Le parfait courtesan, a 1690 translation of Castiglione’s (1478-1529) Il Cortegiano (1528) which first established the genre. Also featured are editions of Nicolas Faret’s (d.1646) L’Honneste homme, a first edition of La Fortune des gens de qualité (Paris, 1661) by Jacques de Callières (d.1662) and a 1676 edition of Antoine de Courtin’s (1622-1685) hugely popular Nouveau traité de la civilité. A selection of related items ponder the institution of marriage and the role of women within it. These range from Guillaume Le Roy’s (1610-1684) Du Devoir des mères, to Antoine de Courtin’s (1622-1685) Traité de la jalousie and to François Poullain de La Barre’s (1647-1725) De l'éducation des dames, all Paris publications from the mid-1670s.

Collection 16’s reach even extends to the everyday as reflected through popular almanacs, catalogues and periodical news books. Highlights include a 1692 catalogue of the curiosity cabinet of the Abbey of Saint-Genevieve and a first edition of Mathieu La Porte’s (d.1722) Le Guide des négocians et teneurs de livres, a double-entry bookkeeping manual which went through an impressive 23 editions between 1685 and 1787.

Taken together, the many printed items which make up Collection 16’s eclectic survey offers a fitting tribute to France’s cultural richness and diversity during a formative period of its history and a worthy addition to past Early European Books collections.

Collection 15

Collection 15 - Revolution and Reformation: Early Modern Science and ReligionComet tail changing shapes across time observed by Johann Hevelius

Released June 2019

  • Titles:  3106
  • Pages: 685,524
  • Includes 72 incunabula editions
  • From the Wellcome Library (London), the Kongelige Bibliotek (Copenhagen), the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague) and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence).

Early European Books Collection 15 brings together items chosen from four of our partner libraries to present a selection based on the twin themes of science and religion. The early modern period marked a time of significant change in both these areas. In 1517 Martin Luther’s famous Ninety-Five Theses sparked the Reformation which would bifurcate and transform western Christendom. Thirty years later, Nicolaus Copernicus’ posthumously published De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1547) introduced the idea of a heliocentric universe and helped trigger what is often called the scientific revolution and the beginnings of modern science as we recognise it today. Pivotal to both these changes was Johannes Gutenberg’s introduction of mechanical moveable type in around 1450. Early European Books Collection 15 reflects and reveals this intimate connection between the advent of printing, the Reformation and the scientific revolution through its balanced mixture of key titles and lesser-known works. Together they form a rich seam of research material adding context and depth to subject areas more often considered in isolation.


  • A beautifully colour‐illustrated Petri Vander Meersche edition of the Theatrum cometicum (Leiden, 1681), an anthology of comets sighted and recorded since Biblical times written by the Polish astronomer Stanislaw Lubieniecki (1623‐1675).
  • First editions of El ente dilucidado [The Entity Elucidated] (Madrid, 1676) by the Capuchin friar Antonio de Fuenta la Peña (1628‐1702), a treatise which combines an argument for the existence of fantastic creatures such as gnomes and goblins with meteorological and other observations pertaining to natural phenomena.
  • A 1659 Amsterdam Latin edition of René Descartes’ Geometria, the philosophers only published mathematical work first published in French as part of his Discours de la methodé (1637).
  • A 1680 Rome and a 1685 Leiden edition of Giovanni Alfonso Borelli’s (1608‐1679) posthumous opus, De motu animalium, a pioneering work of biomechanics investigating the movements of animals.
  • A 1674 Schleswig edition of the Gottorffische Kunst‐Cammer, the catalogue by Adam Olearius (1599‐1671) of the famous Holstein‐Gottorp Cabinet of Curiosities, an assembly of unusual objects collection by Olearius’s patron, Duke Frederick III of Holstein‐Gottorp Olearius was himself a noted traveller as well as a scholar and translator of Persian literature.
  • A 1493 Ferrara incunable edition of the Islamic Golden Age astronomer Farghānī (d.870 CE), Alfragani astronomi differentia prima in annis Arabum & Latino[rum] which provides a summary of Ptolemy.



Collection 14

Collection 14

  • Titles:  approx. 1150
  • Pages: 490,000
  • From the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

Early European Books Collection 14 marks a return to the holdings of the prestigious Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Drawing from three of the library’s many extensive departments – Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l’homme, the Département Sciences et techniques and La Réserve des Livres Rare – the collection presents a selection of titles focused on the themes of philosophy, medicine and science.

A central strand of the collection relates to René Descartes (1596-1650) and the Cartesian revolution named after him. Often aligned with the values of religious reformers, the ideas of the Stoics grew in popularity during the early modern period, and Collection 14 also includes editions of Epictetus and Seneca, as well as of the Neo-Stoic Joseph Hall (1574-1656). Aristotle inevitably also features strongly both through his own work and in scholastic commentaries.

In terms of medical texts, Collection 14 embraces multiple editions of the two giants of classical medicine, Hippocrates and Galen. Also included are works by the Italian surgeon Giovanni da Vigo (1450-1525), who was one of the first physicians to discuss treatment of wounds from firearms. Collection 14 covers texts by prominent anatomists, such as Jean Riolan the Elder (1539-1605) and the Younger (1580-1657). As well as philosophical and medical texts, Collection 14 presents a wealth of fascinating material relating to botany, agriculture and veterinary science. As with all Early European Books releases, Collection 14 also comes complete with USTC subject classifications for enhanced discovery.

Collection 13

Collection 13Orlando Furioso By Ariosto 1580 edition frontispice

  • Titles:  5,050
  • Pages: 460,000
  • From the Wellcome Library (London), the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague), the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, and Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library, Copenhagen)

Collection 13 brings together a body of works focused around literature, poetry and drama from the Early Modern Period.  Sourced from four prestigious library partners – the Wellcome Library in London, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence, the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague – and demonstrating a rich assembly of content from numerous countries and from different epochs and eras.

At the heart of the collection are key literary works from classical times and print editions of selected medieval texts creating a body of works documenting the remarkable flowering of national and vernacular literatures that so characterizes the early modern period across Europe.

One of the defining aspects of Renaissance and early modern Europe was its rediscovery of texts from the classical world.  Collection 13 includes a selection of literary works by Greek and Roman authors ranging from giants like Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and Ovid to lesser-known figures such as the Latin poets Persius (34-62 CE) and Claudian (c.370-c.404 CE).  

The collection also includes prose pieces such as a 1624 Amsterdam edition by noted Dutch scholar Petrus Scriverius (Peter Schrijver) to the works of Apuleius (c.124-c.170 CE), whose Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass is the only so-called “Roman novel” to have survived fully intact.  Petronius’ Satyricon, a satirical narrative mixing prose and verse, is another bawdy inclusion (Amsterdam edition from 1700).

Collection 12

Collection 12Joan D'Arc portrait

Collection 12 contains:

  • Titles:  1250
  • Pages: 570,000
  • From the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris. 

For Collection 12, the focus is on the themes History and works related to Politics and Governance and the selection was made using the USTC Subject Classification that is added to each work. The collection has a strong emphasis on ‘History and Chronicles’ (circa 50%) and a substantial number of ‘Political tracts’, ‘Discourses on government and political theory’ and ‘Classical’ works.  Since these themes are often part of a larger bound width volume, other topics in the bound width have been included.

All items are drawn from the Rare Books and the Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l'homme departments of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Including 29 incunabula, Collection 12 presents a fascinating array of titles, bringing together works on French history of remarkable variety and depth, as well as hundreds of titles relating to the classical past, the rest of Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

Among the many highlights:

  • A 1476 incunabula edition of Cicero (106-43 BCE), published in Angers: Rhetorica nova Marci Tullii Ciceronis.
  • French historian Michel Baudier's (1589-1645) work on the Turkish court, Histoire générale du serrail, et de la cour du Grand Seigneur empereur des Turcs in a Lyon, 1652 edition which also includes l'Histoire de la cour du roy de la Chine.
  • A 1489 incunabula edition of the Spanish historian and soldier Diego de Valera's (b.1412) La Crónica de España.
  • Volumes in French and Latin translation of the writings of Persian physician, scientist and philosopher Avicenna or Ibn Sina (980-1037), one of the leading figures of the Islamic Golden Age. The selection includes three incunabula dating from 1498 and a Paris, 1658 edition of La Logique du fils de Sina, communément appelé Avicenne, Prince des Philosophes et Medecins Arabes.
  • French geographer Pierre Duval's (1619-1683) book of educational maps, Diverses cartes et tables, pour geographie ancienne, pour la chronologie, et pour les itineraires, et voyages modernes published by the author from his workshop on the Quai de l'Horloge, Paris in 1677.
  • Multiple editions dating from the 1640s of Maximilien de Béthune, the Duke of Sully's (1560-1641), Memoires, ou, Oeconomies royales d'estat, domestiques, politiques et militaires de Henry le Grand.

Collection 11

Collection 11Le religions du mond

Collection 11 contains:

  • Titles: 2,300
  • Pages: 480,000
  • From the Wellcome Library (London), the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague), the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, and Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library, Copenhagen)

Launched to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Collection 11 is the first Early European Books release to be curated fully thematically, made possible by the addition of a new search field. Since 2016, Early European Books has been enriched by the inclusion of 38 different USTC subject classifications, allowing the user to identify titles by subject area and to navigate the product with enhanced selectivity. Curation steps from this collection onwards will also be informed by subject themes in Early European Books.

Collection 11 focuses squarely on religious works. The titles selected include devotional literature, bibles and bible commentaries, but also mystical writings, works on witchcraft and demonology and books of funeral orations, all of which reflect the rich terrain of early modern religious, spiritual and popular belief.

Beyond the inclusion of earlier Christian writings, Collection 11 focuses strongly on texts of the early modern period, and in particular on titles which relate to the religious debates of the Reformation. What began in 1517 with the circulation of Martin Luther’s “Ninety-Five Theses” – originally prompted as an outcry against the selling of indulgences by the Church – led to the most decisive schism within Western Christendom. Reflecting this historic shift, Collection 11 contains writings by many of the best-known figures of the Reformation. Editions of Luther’s postils are exampled, together with numerous works and commentaries by Jean Calvin.

Collection 10

Collection 10Caribbean cannibals in Voyage en Afrique, Asie et le Indies

Collection 10 contains

  • Titles:  over 2,650
  • Pages:  1,360,000
  • From the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

Collection Description - This selection of books is drawn from the Philosophy, History and Human Science (PHS) department of the BnF and features sixteenth- and seventeenth century titles published within the borders of modern-day France. It offers a range of works from a period that transitions to the Enlightenment and the epistemological revolutions of French philosophers and theorists.

Unlike previous selections from the BnF which reflected the dominance of Paris and - to a lesser extent - of Lyon in the early-modern French publishing world, this corpus gives wider representation to the provincial press that came to emerge particularly during the seventeenth century. The new selection therefore includes contributions from Rouen, then France’s second city, as well as from Douai (ceded to France in 1668), Caen, Bordeaux, Troyes, Toulouse and a further network of towns both large and small, of bishopric offices, and of courts and schools.

In philosophy, of particular interest are the editions from the big names of the Grand Siècle such as René Descartes and Nicolas Malebranche, or the so-called “erudite libertines” like Gabriel Naudé (1600-1653). The significance of the seventeenth century is clearer still in the categories of geography and general history where the century's major reference works are well represented. These titles include a series of editions of the Grand Dictionnaire Historique by Louis Moréri (1643-1680), a further series on world history in French and Latin by the Jesuit Horace Turcelin (Orazio Torsellino), the Rationarium temporum of Father Denis Petau (1583-1652), the learned treatises of fellow Jesuit Philippe Labbé (1607-1667), and in particular his Concordia chronologica published in 5 folio volumes by the Imprimerie Royale. These reference works stand alongside many accounts of travels around the continent (Claude Jordan, Charles Patin, Théodore Turquet de Mayerne, among others) as well as of journeys beyond Europe (Jean Mocquet, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and others). Demonstrating a similar diversity, two editions from the Discours sur l’histoire universelle by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704) sit with the series of “exemplary” and moral stories of the prolific bishop of Belley, Jean-Pierre Camus (1584-1652), published mainly in the provinces.

Coverage of Ancient history and Catholic theology is balanced between French and Latin editions. Although Roman history is predominantly covered in Latin, French translations of historians such as Tacitus, Plutarch, Suetonius, Quintus Curtius, Sallust and Florus abound in the seventeenth century. Meanwhile, modern scholars such as the prelate Nicolas Coeffeteau (1574-1623) and the French historiographer Scipion Dupleix (1569-1661) make their contributions in folio format in their Histoire romaine.

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of this selection, works on theology reflect equally the extensive output of scholarly works and dogma (mainly sixteenth-century titles published in Paris and Lyon), the intensity of the disputes – particularly those surrounding the emergence of Jansenism (from the mid-seventeenth century onwards) - and the progress of “Christian humanism” advocated by St Francis de Sales and extended through a rich literature intended for the faithful, among them Tridentine and diocesan catechisms. Through these texts, links can be traced between the religious controversies and conflicts that marked the sixteenth century, and the equally virulent debates that characterized the seventeenth century.

Collection 9

Collection 9Dialogus creaturarum moralisatus Incipit edit Gouda 1480 Coll 9

Collection 9 contains:

  • Titles:  3,350
  • Pages:  1,410,000
  • From the Wellcome Library (London) and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague).

Among the treasures to be discovered in Collection 9 are selections from the Wellcome Library's prestigious collection of incunabula, or earliest printed books. These include medical titles in particular, from editions of Aulus Cornelius Celsus's De Medicina, to a 1496 Venice edition of the Liber Teisir by the 12th-century Arab physician Ibn Zuhr, to works by Alessandro Benedetti, the 15th-century surgeon general of the Venetian army, and to the 1491 Venice printing of Antonio Gazio's treatise on health, Corona florida medicinae.

Literary works include a 1480 Gouda edition of the Dialogus creaturarum by Nicholaus Pergaminus.

A typically rich and intriguing variety of science and medical titles can be found in the later material from the Wellcome Library. In medicine, these range from standard works of the classical world by Galen and Hippocrates to the writings of the Arab physician Serapion the Younger and to more specialized studies of the early modern period. Included are multiple works on anatomy and surgery by the likes of Fabricus ab Aquapendente (1533-1619), Caspar Bartholin (1585-1629) and Johann Dryander (1500-1560). Also included is Jean Riolan's writings on blood circulation, multiple works by the "Dutch Hippocrates" Pieter van Foreest and a 1539 Paris edition of Guillaume Budé's work on gout and diseases of the joints. As well as scientific titles on chemistry and astronomy, also included is a fascinating range of titles pursuing alchemical enquiry and the occult sciences. Numerous works touching on alchemy by the 13th-century Iranian polymath Geber and by Paracelsus (1493-1541) are supplemented by titles such as Robert Fludd's (1574-1637) Integrum morborum mysterium and a 1541 Strasbourg edition of Walther Hermann Ryff's work on the art of memory, De memoria.

Beyond these, the Wellcome selection is supplemented by a mix of natural history and classical literature. A work by Robert Boyle on air pumps and even a book on beards: Marcus Antonius Ulmus' Physiologia barbae humanae (1602).

Content from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek provides a variety of material but also gives an emphasis to science, mathematics and astronomy titles. Starting with 17th-century editions of Pliny the Elder's writings on natural history in both Latin and Dutch translation, the selection moves to a 1682 Amsterdam edition of the Dutch botanist and artist Abrahamus Munting's Waare oeffening der planten and numerous other works of early modern scientific enquiry. Astronomy titles include Jacob Cats' Aenmerckinghe op de tegenwoordige steert-sterre (1618) as well as works by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Antonio Magini who devised the Maginian System of planetary theory. In mathematics, the selection includes a 1691 Amsterdam edition of Jacques Ozanam's Dictionaire Mathematique and Abraham de Graaf's De geheele mathesis (1694). A further science highlight from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek is a selection of writings by the Dutch doctor and philosopher Heydentryk Overkamp collected in Alle de medicinale, chirurgicale en philosophische werken in another Amsterdam publication of 1694. Political science and history titles feature too in Collection 9 works from The Hague, but the selection is also marked by titles reflecting Dutch engineering and entrepreneurship such as Johan Sems's Practijck des lantmetens (1648) and Sybrandt Hansz Cardinael's Boeckhouden (also 1648), a work on financial bookkeeping.

Together these evenly balanced selections from the Wellcome Library and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek form a richly rewarding body of material, making Collection 9 an essential addition to Early European Books.

Collection 8

Collection 8Portrait of Madeleine de SCudery from Clelie Histoire Romane Coll 8 1656

Collection 8 contains:

  • Titles:  5,350
  • Pages:  1,720,000
  • From the Bibliothèque nationale de France

Particularly strong on religious texts, Collection 8 includes works ranging from liturgy and ritual to the writings of the Church Fathers and examples of the impassioned spiritual debates prompted by the Protestant Reformation. From works by St Cyprian and St Augustine through to more than 30 titles by Bernard of Clairvaux, a founder of the reformist Cistercian Order, Collection 8 underlines how the early modern print revolution brought key texts of the early Western Church to a wider audience. Works by Jean Calvin and the Huguenot minister Pierre Du Moulin (1568-1658) give Protestant writings of the period a particular French inflection. In the meantime, Roman Catholic viewpoints are evinced in works by Savonarola, Bonaventure and Alphonse Rodriguez, as well as by French churchmen Jean-Pierre Camus, Guy de Roye and Joseph Lambert, among others.

Print editions of classical Roman authors are also well represented in Collection 8 with an abundance of titles from the likes of Cicero, Virgil, Juvenal, Martial and Terence, as well as editions of Ovid in both Latin and French translation. French poetry and literature, too, is richly exampled with multiple editions of François Villon, Pierre de Ronsard, Rabelais and numerous titles by Madeleine de Scudéry. French translations of foreign works also include editions of Cervantes, Boccaccio and Leon Battista Alberti. Another great strength of Colllection 8’s selection is its fascinating diversity of titles giving accounts of French history, society and topography, ranging from the lives of individual monarchs to legal documents, and from descriptions of specific regions within France to the history of Gaul. Works of natural history are also much in evidence from translations of classical texts like Pliny to handsomely illustrated contemporary taxonomies of flora and fauna. Venturing beyond the boundaries of France, Collection 8 additionally includes histories of a range of other European countries as well as of Asia and the Americas, including letters from a 16th-century Jesuit priest stationed in Japan, a life of Tamerlane and L’histoire naturelle et generalle des Indes (1555), a French version of a work originally written in Spanish by the historian Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo (1478-1557). Supplemented also by works on ancient history, on medicine and geography, on political science, linguistics and rhetoric, and on Italian, Greek and Spanish poetry, Collection 8 constitutes a hugely rewarding source of study and a worthy addition to previous Early European Books collections.

Collection 8 reflects in depth the variety of early modern France’s intellectual, spiritual, political and everyday concerns while at the same time giving space to a broader European outlook during a period of radical scientific advancement and of overseas exploration and expansion.

New highlights include:

  • Age of Discovery: Nicolas Gervaise’s Histoire naturelle et politique du royaume de Siam (1688) published in Paris by C. Barbin; Histoire nouvelle et curieuse des royaumes de Tunquin et de Lao (Paris: G. Clouzier, 1666), a French translation from the Italian written by Giovanni Filippo de Marini.
  • Science: Le traictie des comettes et signification (Paris: Ph. Le Noir, 1540), a collection of extracts on comets by noted astrologers and astronomers from Ptolemy to Haly Abenragel and Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi and to Gilles de Rome.
  • Literature: Jean L’Archer’s Breton verse Le Mirouer de la mort (1575); Veteris philosophi Syru De Sapientia divina Poema aenigmaticum (Paris: Antoine Vetré, 1628), poetry by Gregory Bar Hebraeus (1226-1286), a bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church and noted polymath.

Collection 7

Collection 7Sir Walter Raleigh Chronicles in Dutch

Collection 7 contains:

  • Titles: 7,500
  • Pages: 1,960,000
  • From the collections of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague), the Wellcome Library (London) and from the Kongelige Bibliothek (Copenhagen).

This final instalment of content from Copenhagen, includes more than 2,700 new titles with sixteen incunabula, one of which is the first printed edition of Leon Battista Alberti’s seminal work on architecture De re aesdificatoria (Florence, 1485). Also included are works by the pioneer Danish physician Thomas Bartholin on his discovery of the thoracic duct and the lymphatic vessels, as well as his 1658 translation of the Venetian nobleman Luigi Cornaro’s book on healthy aging. Added to this are titles on a range of subject areas including astronomy, philosophy, literature and aesthetics, as well as classical literature and curiosities such as household calendars and the first ever Danish cookbook (published in 1616).

Works from the Wellcome Library include editions of the Fasciculus medicina by the German physician Johannes de Kethem, as well as illustrated titles on anatomy, midwifery, and an extensive range of 16th-century titles on the new disease of syphilis. Other highlights include Paracelsus’ groundbreaking study on the health of a single occupational group, Von der Bergsucht oder Bergkranckheiten drey Bücher (Dillingen, 1567) and William Harvey’s Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus (Frankfurt, 1628), the first edition of his account of his discovery of blood circulation. Also included are religious texts such as the Dutch Anabaptist David Joris’s T’ wonder-boeck (1551) and a 1681 French translation of Leon Modena’s study of Jewish ceremonies and customs. Also from the Wellcome are two editions of Italian geographer Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s Navigatione et viaggi, a compendium of explorers’ first-hand accounts of their navigations and travels.

As well as six incunabula, Koninklijke Bibliotheek selections incorporate a number of exploration narratives, including Dutch translations of Sir Walter Raleigh’s The Discovery of Guiana (Amsterdam, 1617) and of Leo Africanus’ Della descrittione dell’Africa (Rotterdam, 1665). History titles incude accounts of the Dutch Revolt by the likes of Samuel Ampzing, Pieter Bor and the Flemish historian Emanuel van Meteren, as well as a Dutch history of the British Isles during the period of the English Civil War, Jacob van Oorts’s Ontlokene roose, bloeyende distel-bloem, en Hersnaerde Harp door (Dordrecht, 1661). Philosophy and religious titles include a 1674 Amsterdam edition of Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus, as well as works by Descartes and the influential German mystic Jacob Böhme, by Dutch humanists like Janus Dousa and Erasmus, and by key figures of the Reformation such as Jean Calvin, Theodore Beza and Martin Luther.

Collection 6

Collection 6La Toyson d'or

Collection 6 contains:

  • Titles:  3,750
  • Pages:  1,400,000
  • From the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

Collection 6 is distinguished by its wealth of French-language content, including original works, as well as translations from classical literature and from contemporary works in English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and German.

Reflecting Renaissance interest in classical texts, this collection includes editions of Homer, Herodotus, Plato and Aristotle, as well as Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Cicero and Julius Caesar. In terms of contemporary French texts, early-modern French philosophy is represented by, for example, works by Pascal and Descartes, while literary texts include the fables of La Fontaine. Examples of religious writings extend from works by the Church Fathers Augustine, Althanasius and John Chrysostom to figures engaged in the disputes of the Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation such as Luther, Calvin, Erasmus and Gabriel du Preau. There are also modern Latin texts by the Italian heretic Giordano Bruno and the Florentine firebrand preacher Savonarola are also included. Interest in science, medicine and alchemy is reflected in a colorfully illustrated La Toyson d'Or (Paris, 1613) by Salomon Trismosin, as well as French translations of Hermes Trismegistus and of William Salmon's Hermetic Dictionary. Along with various accounts of French regional customs and folklore, descriptions of further-afield discovery and exploration include a French edition of Francisco López de Gómara's account of the Spanish conquest of the New World. Adding further dimensions to this rich collection are works on mathematics, astronomy, politics, the arts of warfare, agriculture, falconry and tulip growing, as well a French translation of Ruy López de Segura's work on chess.

Collection 5

Collection 5Girolamo_Cardano_Metroposcopy

Collection 5 contains:

  • Titles 5,700
  • Pages:  1,660,000
  • From the collections of  the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague), the Kongelige Bibliotek (Copenhagen) and the Wellcome Library (London).

Collection 5 once again helps embellish and extend our understanding of the period with titles relevant to countless aspects of the Reformation, the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. Among the notable highlights are works by the legendary self-proclaimed seer Nostradaus, numerous titles by pioneering Danish physician Thomas Bartholin and by the 15th-century English alchemist George Ripley. It also includes classical texts by the likes of Aesop, Juvenal, Hippocrates, Catallus and Aristotle printed for widespread distribution to early modern audiences.

In addition to works by Bartholin, this collection is especially strong on volumes relating to medicine, anatomy and empirical science. These include works by Oluf Borch (1626-1690), one of the fathers of Danish experimental science, the naturalist Niels Steensen (1638-1686) and Paracelsus, the alchemist and founder of toxicology. Medical works include titles by Geralomo Cardano (1501-1576), Donato Altomare (1520-1566) and Giambattista della Porta (1535?-1615).

Reflecting contemporary thought and complementing works of philosophy from classical times are works of philosophy including an edition of writings by the medieval theologian Duns Scotus published in Venice in 1503 and a 1643 Amsterdam edition of Sir Francis Bacon's Nova Atlantis. A similarly rich mix of titles in modern and classical languages is to be found in areas of writing such as literature and poetry, theology, narratives of maritime discovery and works of political science.

Collection 4

Collection 4Ovidius Ars Amandi owned by William Morris

Collection 4 contains:

  • Volumes:  9,250
  • Pages: 2,900,000
  • From the Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library, Copenhagen) the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (National Central Library of Florence, Italy), the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) and The Wellcome Library (London).

Like its immediate predecessor, Early European Books Collection 4 contains almost 3 million pages and includes works from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Wellcome Library and the Kongelige Bibliotek. As a new addition, Collection 4 also sees the first inclusion of some 1,700 volumes from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

The contents of Collection 4 as a whole are as wide-ranging as previous collections and reflect in a kaleidoscope of detail the social, intellectual and religious concerns of the day. Among the highlights from our existing partner libraries are titles from the Wellcome Library once owned by the Victorian writer and designer William Morris, scholarly works of history and theology from Florence, literary translations and legal texts from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague (including a large number of volumes by the Elzevir Press), and titles relating to the Protestant Reformation from the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen.

Works from the BnF featured in Collection 4 once again open out Early European Books to new areas of knowledge and greater levels of detail. In religious matters, a number of works illuminate the rites and ceremonies of religious life: the celebration of festivals such as Christmas, marriage and funeral rites, practices relating to prayer, fasting, giving alms and processions. Alongside texts on law and regulation sit illuminating accounts of the customs of the French provinces. In the meantime, the realm of philosophy is represented by, among titles, Plato's Republic and works by the French political thinker Jean Bodin (1530-1596), as well as numerous French translations of works by figures from the Italian Renaissance such as Machiavelli and Giovanni Botero.

Collection 3

Collection 3Joannes de Laet History of New World map West Indies

Collection 3 contains:

  • Volumes:  10,250
  • Pages:  2,830,000
  • From the Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library, Copenhagen) the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (National Central Library of Florence, Italy), the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) and The Wellcome Library (London).

This breadth of scope gives a wide-ranging overview of the intellectual life and historical upheavals of early modern Europe, touching on all areas of cultural, scientific, intellectual and social life from the Reformation to the Renaissance and to the Age of Discovery. It encompasses works in all major European languages, printed in the cities which led the explosion of the print industry in the early modern era, such as Nuremberg, Basel, Leiden, Paris and Venice. The collection contains founding works of modern science, together with accounts of travel, exploration and warfare, as well as influential works of literature, philosophy, religious debate and humanist thought.

The inclusion of volumes from London's Wellcome Library has extended the product's range of scientific titles. Collection 3 provides scholarly editions and translations of the works of Galen, Galileo, Dioscorides, Fuchs and Aldrovandi, as well as works on alchemy and demonology, falconry and even cookery titles such as La Varenne's Le cuisinier françois of 1656. Volumes from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek widen the scope of philosophical debate of the period with titles by Descartes and Spinoza, as well as providing a wealth of contemporary historical analysis in the form of pamphlets relating to the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule, the persecution of the Huguenots, and the assassination of William of Orange.

Religious texts are represented in the collection through examples of Reformation and Counter-Reformation debate, and supplemented by editions of the works of the Church Fathers, early Bible editions in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and vernacular translations, missals, psalters and breviaries, Protestant sermons and tracts. Literary works include Molière's L'avare (Paris, 1693), Torquato Tasso's Gierusalemme liberata (Paris, 1678) and Sebastian Brant's Ship of Fools (Latin edition; Basel, 1498). Titles reflecting the Age of Discovery can be found in several editions of Theodor de Bry's America (from 1595 onwards), and Joannes de Laet's History of the New World (Leiden, 1625), together with surveys, chronicles and illustrated natural histories of Brazil, Peru, Ethiopia, India, Persia and the Portuguese East Indies (in Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch and Latin).

Lastly, as well as reflecting the intellectual currents of the day, highlights from the collection also include splendid examples of the art of printing, from Nicolas Jenson's Venetian imprints of the 1470s and examples of Dutch 'prototypography', to Christophe Plantin's prolifically illustrated editions of Monardes' survey of plants of the New World (1574) and the House of Elzevir's editions of the Classics and the Greek New Testament (Leiden, 1624). Works of fine art and illustration include Albrecht Dürer's Four Books on Human Proportion (Arnhem, 1622), and volumes with engravings by Jacob de Gheyn (Waffenhandlvng, or The Exercise of Arms; Amsterdam, 1608), Johan Bara (Emblemata amatoria, Netherlands, c.1620) and Jöst Amman (Panoplia, Frankfurt, 1568).

Collection 2

Dante's Inferno 1515Collection 2

Collection 2 contains:

  • Volumes:  2,750
  • Pages:  610,000
  • From the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (BNCF)

The selection of works focuses on four collections of particular historic and bibliographic importance within the library's holdings from this period.

The first of these, the Nenci Aldine Collection brings together more than 770 editions printed by Aldo Manutius and the Aldine Press, founded in Venice in 1495. The Aldine Press was one of the most historically significant institutions in the early history of printed books, with numerous innovations including the first use of italic type and the adoption of the smaller, readily portable, octavo paper size. The second significant collection is of 64 16th- and 17th-century volumes identified for the importance of the postillati, or marginal annotations. Researchers will be able to read marginal notes written by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) on his own personal copies of works by Euclid, Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso and Horace.

Third in this prestigious list comes almost 1,200 volumes of Incunabula, including rare first editions of the works of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, and 100 volumes by the controversial preacher Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498). The fourth collection presents over 780 16th- and 17th-century editions of sacre rappresentazioni, popular verse plays depicting Biblical scenes, episodes from the lives of the saints and Christian legends, which were originally performed throughout Tuscany and which scholars consider to form the foundations of Italian theatre. Although many of the texts are anonymous, those by named authors include Castellano Castellani's Figliuol prodigo and Lorenzo de' Medici's Rappresentazione di San Giovanni e Paolo.

Collection 1

Collection 1Gesta Danorum

Collection 1 contains:

  • Volumes:  2,600
  • Pages:  510,000
  • From the Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library, Copenhagen)                                                                               

Collection 1 offers a comprehensive survey of the Royal Library's holdings of items listed in Lauritz Nielsen's Dansk Bibliografi 1482–1600 and its supplement (1919–1996). All of the Royal Library's Danish and Icelandic imprints produced in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries fall within its scope, from the earliest works printed in Denmark through to works by the alchemist and pioneer astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) issued from his private press at Uranienborg before 1597. Other notable works of Tycho Brahe in this collection include his De nova et nullius ævi memoria prius visa stella ('On the new and never previously seen star'), published in Copenhagen in 1573 (Lauritz Nielsen 429).

Lauritz Nielsen's Dansk Bibliografi 1482–1600 includes material printed across Europe and works in many European languages, including Latin, Danish, German, English, Icelandic, Swedish and Ancient Greek. Authors whose works are represented among the Royal Library's collection of pre-1601 books include humanists such as Erasmus (d. 1536), Boccaccio (1313–1375), and Petrarch (1304–1374), figures of the Reformation such as Martin Luther (1483–1546), Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560), Hans Tausen (1494–1561), and Johann Bugenhagen (1485–1558), and classical authors such as Cicero, Demosthenes, and Livy.

Among the landmark Latin texts included in this survey of the Royal Library's collections are copies of the three sixteenth-century printed editions of the Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus (13th Cent), the first printed with the title Danoru[m] Regu[m] heroumq[ue] historiæ ('Histories of the kings and heroes of the Danes') by Josse Badius (1462–1535) in Paris in 1514 (LN 240), the second, Saxonis Grammatici Danorum Historiae libri XVI, printed by Joannes Oporinus (1507–1568) in Basel in 1534 (LN 241), and the third, Danica Historia libris XVI, printed by Philipp Lonicer (d. 1599) in Frankfurt am Main in 1576 (LN 1450). Also included are several copies of De Denscke Kroneke, an excerpt of the Gesta Danorum in Low German printed by Matthäus Brandis in around 1502 (LN 242) and Den Danske Krønicke som Saxo Grammaticus screff, a Danish version by Anders Sørensen Vedel (1542–1616) printed in Copenhagen in 1575.

In total the Royal Library's collection of pre–1601 printed books consists of more than 2,600 items, comprising around 500,000 pages and occupying about fifty metres of linear shelving. Although Collection 1 consists substantially of material printed before 1601, the Royal Library's holdings of seventeenth-century editions of works by Tycho Brahe and his follower Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) have also been included.