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Azevedo-Samodães copy of the rare first Portuguese edition of a classic biography of Thomas à Becket

[BECKET, Thomas à (subject)]. [Diego Afonso de MIRANDA, translator].
Historea da vida e martyrio do glorioso Sancto Thomas Arcebispo, Senhor de Cantuaria, Primas de Inglaterra, legado perpetuo da sancta see apostolica, trelada da novamente de Latim em lingoagé Portugues.
(Colophon: Coimbra, João Alvarez, printer to the University, 12 November) 1554. 4to. With several woodcut decorated initials. With the 4 preliminary leaves in facsimile. 20th-century Portuguese tree calf, gold-tooled spine, red spine label, brown sprinkled edges, marbled endpapers. [8], “CCCI” [= 303], [1 blank], [20] pp.
€ 7,500
Rare first and only Portuguese edition of a classic biography of Thomas à Becket (ca. 1118-1170), Archbishop of Canterbury. It is a free translation into Portuguese, probably by Diego Afonso de Miranda, of the Latin "quadrilogus", a conflation of four biographies written by Beckets contemporaries, which was the first biography of Becket to be printed, published in four books in 1495 (that edition added a supplementary fifth book containing documents and letters, not included in the present translation). The quadrilogus brings together information from four of the most important primary sources, written soon after Beckets death by William of Canterbury (active 1170-1174), John of Salisbury (1120-1180), Herbert of Bosham (Beckets own clerk, active 1162-1189) and Alan of Tewkesbury (d. 1202). There are two versions of the quadrilogus: the earlier one, compiled ca. 1198/99, was not published until 1682, while the present one, compiled ca. 1212/13 was first printed in 1495. The present is therefore confusingly known both as the "second quadrilogus" and as "quadrilogus I".
From the library of the 19th-century Condes de Azevedo e de Samodães, renowned as "one of the best collections of Portuguese books" (Borba de Moraes), auctioned in 1921, with its ink stamp in the margin of A1r and José dos Santoss catalogue description inserted on a slip (formerly tipped onto the front endpaper). With the title-page in facsimile and the preliminaries in a neat manuscript facsimile. Binding slightly worn, head and foot of spine slightly damaged, some browning and water stains, some repaired flaws, tears or wormholes affecting the text. Adams B439; José dos Santos, Catálogo da importante e preciosissima livraria que pertenceu aos notaveis escritores e bibliófilos Condes de Azevedo e de Samodães, pp. 10-11; Suarez & Woudhuysen, eds., The book: a global history (2013), p. 410; USTC 340817 (7 copies); Wilkinson, Iberian books, 18342 (same 7 copies); cf. Borba de Moraes, p. 973.
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