Monday, August 30, 2010

Continental Book Ownership I

Prize Inscription

Daniel van Papenbroeck, Responsio Danielis Papenbrochii ex Societate Jesu theologi ad Exhibitionem errour per Adm R.P. Sebastianum a S. Paulo, ordinis Carmelitani in Belgio bis Provincialem, olim sacrae theologiae professorem Lovanii, evulgatam anno MDCXCIII Coloniae : pars prima ad XII priores articulos.
Antwerp: Hendrik Thieullier, 1696. [2], 2 leaves, 3-318 [i.e. 320], [10] p., 1 leaf of plates : ill., port. ; 23 cm. (4to). Contemporary (?) marbled boards, spine repaired with brown cloth.

This book’s front pastedown offers an example of a prize inscription, a handwritten congratulatory dedication accompanying a rewarded book and often combined with a unique prize binding. Presenting a theological work by the Jesuit Bollandist Daniel van Papenbroeck (1628-1714) to a Hubertus Eelkens of Antwerp, the inscription commemorates and praises the student’s performance in syntax, a class of study commonly offered in Catholic secondary schools and colleges. A note at the end of the inscription illuminates the educational context in which this prize was awarded: “our Turnhout gymnasium” refers to an elite secondary grammar school in Oud-Turnhout, Belgium. While I haven’t been able to identify the exact school (if it still exists), the remainder of the note indicates it was directed by an “R.R. D.D. Can. Reg. de Corssendoncq.” The identity of “R.R.” may remain a mystery at the moment, but the titles accompanying the initials indicate his educational experience (Doctor of Divinity) and devotional affiliation (Canon Regular of St. Augustine, in residence at the Corsendonk Priory). This information places the presentation of the prize book within a specific educational context, one in which Augustinian canons taught secondary-school students syntax and related subjects (such as grammar and rhetoric). As befitting the pomp of the occasion, the majority of the inscription is comprised of a panegyric Latin poem, one praising the virtues of piety and wisdom: 

Palladis ingenuus laudatur ab omnibus ast is

laudandus magis est, qui pietate viget:

Nam recta pietate potens, lætatur utroque

nam pius est doctus quærere regna dei;

Ergo pius doctusque simul, tantummodo docto

præfertur, quoniam solus utrumque tenet.

Other marks of provenance in the book link its ownership to a number of Dutch Jesuit theological libraries in Maastricht, Netherlands.

Ausonius van Popma, Ausonii Popmae, Frisii: De differentiis verborum, libri IV. et De usu antiquae locutionis, libri duo / nunc primum in Germania Magno juventutis bono editi, curante Bartholomaeo Musculo, JC [Hesse, Germany: Josephus Dietericus Hampelius, 1660]

Isocrates, Isocratis Orationes tres : I. ad Demonicum. II. ad Nicoclem. III. Nicocles : cum Plutarchi Chaeronei Paedagogia, seu, De liberorum institutione libello, è graeco in latinum verbotenus in gratiam tyronum linguae graecae translatae, prioribus multò emendatiores : quibus accesserunt Pythagorae Carmina aurea, & Phocylidis Pöema admonitorium, cum versione Michaelis Neandri [Jena, Germany: printed by Kaspar Freyschmidt at the expense of Martin Müller, 1659]
8vo. Contemporary vellum binding. 

A seventeenth-century German owner bound these two texts together and added a detailed index to create a customized philological handbook. Entitled “Index vocum omnium, quarum hoc libro differentiae traduntur” (“Index of all the words, the differences of which in this book are related”), the index was designed to supplement the grammarian and philologist Ausonius van Popma’s De differentiis verborum, a landmark book on synonyms frequently reprinted in the seventeenth century. Its title page has an inscription (dated 1667) most likely belonging to the index-maker and book owner, Johann Betichius of Zerbst-Anhaltini, Germany. This is probably the hymn writer Johann Betichius (1650-1722), who studied theology at the University of Wittenberg (1666-1670s) before serving as pastor of the Trinity Church in Zerbst (from 1689). 

The index and De differentiis verborum are bound with an edition of Isocrates’ (426-338 BCE) orations, a book also containing Phocylides’ Poema admonitorium, the Carmina aurea attributed to Pythagoras, and Pseudo-Plutarch’s De liberis educandis. If the identification of the owner is correct, Betichius acquired these books, bound them, and wrote the index during his academic career. Taken all together, this book demonstrates the academic function of the sammelband as textbook in the educational context of the seventeenth-century German university.

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