De Proprietatibus Rerum (On the Properties of Things)


De Proprietatibus Rerum (On the Properties of Things)

German (Nuremberg), 1492

Language: Latin

height 31 cm

University of Oregon Library, Special Collections and Archives Rare Books
Edward Burgess Early Printed Book Collection, Burgess 020


Diebold, William. The Illustrated Book in the Age of Printing: Books and Manuscripts from Oregon Collections. Portland, OR: Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, 1993, p. 14 - Quoted with permission

These two volumes [reference applies to exhibition from which this text was originally a catalog entry] were printed by Koberger in the same year. Although the two books are almost identical in size, they are otherwise remarkable for the differences in their appearance.

Number 24, the works of the ancient Roman poet Vergil, was fittingly printed in a Roman type derived from Humanist minuscule, which the scholars of Renaissance Italy wrongly believed imitated the script of ancient Rome. (The script, in fact, was first used in ninth-century Europe). Bartholomaeus Anglicus's De proprietatibus rerum, a thirteenth-century encyclopedia that was extremely popular in the later Middle Ages, was printed by Koberger in a more angular Gothic type based on the script used in the Middle Ages for liturgical books. Through the use of these different types Koberger allowed readers to distinguish the classical from the medieval text at a glance.