Incunabula Leaf Historia Naturalis

Leaf 2 verso sideLeaf 2 verso side Item: Two Incunabula Leaves
Title: Historia Naturalis
Author: Plinus Secundus

Printer: Nicolas Jenson
Place of Printing: Venice
Date of Printing: 1476
Format: Folio
Language: Italian
Reference: Stillwell P730

Biography of Pliny the Elder

Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder, 23-79). He served in the Roman military on the Rhine, plead in the law courts, and held important offices in the government. Pliny was a great reader and would make notes when he found an interesting fact. He wrote a number of books, including 20 volumes on the wars with the German tribes. His greatest work was his Natural History which was published after his death by his nephew. Pliny died in 79 A.D. during the eruption of Vesuvius. He was the admiral of the fleet at the time of the eruption and sailed close to observe it. He then rescued a friend from the danger of the eruption and used the fleet to save others but ultimately died studying Vesuvius when he was unable to escape.

Historia Naturalis

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Leaf 1 -<br />recto side
Leaf 1 -
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Leaf 1 -<br />verso side

Historia Naturalis was a compilation of scientific knowledge from Greek and Roman authors (327 Greeks, 146 Romans) compiled by Pliny. It also contained work of history, medicine and art. It was divided into 37 sections. It may be considered the first encyclopedia. His work was completed by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, following Pliny’s death. This is the only work of Pliny’s that has survived from Roman times.

Our Copy

Our two leaves are in Roman type. They have 48 lines per page. There are blank spaces with guide letters left for the illuminator to complete with enlarged initials.

Nicolas Jenson

Guide letterGuide letterGuide lettersGuide letters Nicolas Jenson (1420-1480) was Master of the French royal mint. He was sent by Charles VII in 1458 to Germany to learn to be a printer. When Charles VII died in 1461, Jenson moved to Venice where he established his printing business. He was noted for his use of Roman type. Jenson printed almost a hundred different books. He was made a papal count (count palatine) by Pope Sixtus IV in 1475.


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