Rerum Germanicarum Sub Matthia, Ferdinandis II. & III. IMPP. Gestarum, Libri LV...

Rerum Germanicarum Sub Matthia, Ferdinandis II. & III. IMPP. Gestarum, Libri LV...
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Nuremberg , & Framkfurt, C. S.: Froberger, 1683. Francofurti ad Moenvm: Typis exscripti Wolfgangi Hoffmani, Impensa Matthaei Meriani, 1646-50. Two volumes, folio, [xl], 8, 1154, [21], [3] pp.; [xxxiv], 984, [20] pp., woodcut headpieces, tailpieces, and initials, engraved title-pages, vignette on printed titles, four illustrations in text, engraved portrait of Lotichius, and 115 engraved plates the vast majority of which are double-page, including six maps, and six four-page folding views of battles. Contemporary paneled calf, roll-tolled in gilt and blind with fleuron cornerpieces in blind, six raised bands with seven elaborately gilt compartments, title stamped in gilt to two compartments, armorial centerpiece in top compartment and calligraphic monogram at tail, marbled edges and endpapers. Joints, bands, and extremities a bit rubbed, boards slightly scufffed with a few small areas of superficial worming, small tears in backstrips of both volumes at head and tails. The text is printed on inferior stock with light to moderate foxing and some minor internal defects (small wormhole, faint dampstains, one small burn hole, a few trivial wax stains), plates are printed on high quality hand-made paper, and are completely clean and bright, overall a very good set. First edition. This is a rare copy of a massive chronicle covering the reigns of three Hapsburg rulers, with detailed coverage of the 30 Years War. At least as important, it is a book full of wonderful engravings that provide a convincing view of the Medieval cities and other environs where the events in the present account unfold. The first of our Hapsburgs , Matthias (1557-1619), a son of the German emperor Maximilian II, showed an early aptitude for political affairs and was king of Hungary and Bohemia (both then in the Hapsburg realm) long before, on his brother’s death, he succeeded in 1612 to power in Austria in the position of German Emperor. Matthias being childless, was followed by his cousin Ferdinand II, who was immediately challenged by Frederick of the Palatinate, whom the Bohemian Protestants favored for king and emperor. This contest triggered the 30 Years War, which drew in most of Europe. The conflict raged during much of the reign of Ferdinand III (ruled 1637-57), although he was anxious to procure peace, which was arranged (with no clear winner) in 1648, two years after our author began to publish his history. A revered physician and professor of medicine, Johann Peter Lotichius (or Lotich, 1598-1669) was appointed official historian of the German Empire. Amoung his publications are medical treatises, Latin poems, a work in praise of women, and a general imperial history beginning with Caesar and ending with Ferdinand II. The present work is most valued for its engravings, done by Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650), who was largely responsible for two of the most famous illustrated series ever published. The first, the “Theatrum Europaeum,” was a massive set of 21 large folio volumes with a great deal of historical text punctuated with breathtaking engraved views. The second, called in aggregate simply the “Topographia,” is a series comprising 30 folio volumes issued between 1642-88 and containing the largest number of engraved views of towns, villages, and castles ever assembled (Merian was responsible for the plates in the first 19 volumes, while his son and namesake furnished the others). In the present work is the same kind of artistry that made Merian famous in these other, larger undertakings. Here, as in the other series, the intricately realized city views (not infrequently seen as the focus of animated battle scenes), are exceptionally fine in detail and delicacy, achieving success in conveying a strong sense of place and atmosphere that earlier atlases full of urban views did not approach. As with all of the Merian topographical works, this one has several exceptionally fine views of mostly walled cities and towns that appear to be remarkable in the fidelity of their historical detail, impressive in the crystalline vividness of their engraved lines, and pleasing emotionally in the luminous tranquility they project. In this copy, those features are heightened by the rich quality of the engraved impressions which are rarely found complete. Brunet III 1180, Graesse IV 264. (Item Id: 106491)

$17,500.00
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