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Voragine, Jacobo de

Lombardica historia que a plerisque Aurea Legenda factorum appellatur (Legenda Aurea Sanctorum)

Strassburg (Georg Husner?) August 16, 1490

(Goff J124; Reichling Cop. 6454)

In folio (28,5x19.5 cm)

Contemporary full calf over wooden boards

Tooled front and back. Embossed title: Passionale

Messing corner and central pieces. One central piece and both clasps missing. Spine renewed.

Title page with printed title (illegible owners stamp)

14 lvs, including title page; text in 6 and 8 alternating: a-z; A-R, including last authentic blank. Gatherings F and L have 6 when expected to have 8, but complete 264 leaves in all. Rubricated throughout.

Condition: spine restored, else in original condition with minor damage to the upper right corner of the first gathering. Strong imprint on sturdy paper.


The Legenda Aurea was the book widest read and quoted in mediaeval Europe. It survives in hundreds of manuscripts and many printed editions. Each city, region and country had its own saint and its birthday signified "fiesta". Later on the European discoverers tended to name places after the saints day in which the discovery occurred. The saints lives provided examples of courage, faith and other positive characteristics that men should aspire too. That is why the Legenda Aurea were so often quoted and used.

The original text (if ever there was one) written by Jacobo de Voragine, Bishop of Genua in the late XIII century, consisted of the lives of 857 Saints!! That text ends in this copy at H5 in recto. With the additional saints the book has the lives of 931 Saints in all.

This copy mentions no printer, but - according to Goff and Reichling (that is additions to Hain Copinger) - the printer was Georg Husner. In the catalogue of incunables of the British Museum, the printer of the original version is called the Printer of the Jordanus de Quintlinburg of 1483. This printer was also responsible for the printing of a version of the Legenda Aurea of 1486 under the title: Lombardica historia (IB 1803) just as the title of this incunable. The construction of the 1486 edition is also equal to the construction of the book: 1;2; a-z in 8 and 6 alternating etc. However the BMC does NOT mention a later, 1490 edition. Neither does it name the anonymous printer Georg Husner. As stated, other do.

Price: € 15000