Acquired at Romantic Agony, Brussel
Size: 20 x 14 cm.
Call number: 2901 C 32
In 2001 the Koninklijke Bibliotheek bought an unusual sixteenth-century school textbook at an auction in Brussels. It is the only complete copy of the Epigrammata ad Falconem by Baptista Mantuanus [Mantuan] (1448-1516). Mantuan was the son of a Spanish nobleman who had taken up residence at the court of Mantua. At 19 years of age he entered the Carmelites, a Catholic order of mendicants after a 'wild' youth. He then studied philosophy and classical languages. Within his order he was elected Vicar-General - one of the highest positions - a few times. In the meantime he wrote over 55,000 lines of verse which were used intensively in schools throughout Europe. Apparently even Shakespeare learnt Latin from Mantuan's poetry and in Love’s Labour’s Lost to ‘Good old Mantuan’.
His poetry was also frequently printed and used for teaching purposes in the Netherlands in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
In the *Short Title Catalogue, Netherlands **(STCN)* which describes all books printed in the Netherlands before 1801, 121 editions of his work are listed, all but two of which were printed before 1532. About seventy editions were published in Deventer, by Pafraet Father and Son, the most important textbook publishers of the period. This book was also printed by them. As is often the cases with textbooks, this copy was used intensively. Here and there a word of explanation has been added between the lines, and in the margins beside topographic or personal names whole passages of text have been added to explain which place, river or individual is referred to. The last page was apparently used as a scribbling pad. At the top of the page is a sort of motto and beneath it a few loose scribblings and a drawing of a serious-looking man holding a banderole. (MvD)