Vita e miracoli della Beata Limbania Vergine, et Monaca del Monasterio di San Tomaso di Genova.
Vita e miracoli della Beata Limbania Vergine, et Monaca del Monasterio di San Tomaso di Genova.
Vita e miracoli della Beata Limbania Vergine, et Monaca del Monasterio di San Tomaso di Genova.

Vita e miracoli della Beata Limbania Vergine, et Monaca del Monasterio di San Tomaso di Genova. Genoa: Giuseppe Pavoni, 1615 (colophon: 1612).

4to (197 x 137 mm). [8], 101, [3] pp. Title within woodcut architectural border with allegorical figures, emblematic motifs, and four armorial shields including the arms of Genoa (St. George’s cross), below the title a bird’s-eye view of the port of Genoa; four full-page engravings, historiated woodcut initials, type-ornament page borders throughout. Repairs to gutters in first two quires, a few other small rmarginal repairs, title cut shaved at top, first plate cropped to border, occasional foxing or staining. 18th-century speckled boards, ms. title on paper lettering-piece, edges sprinkled red (corners bumped). Provenance: inkstamp of the Florentine bibliophile Gustavo Camillo Gallétti (1805-1868).***

Only edition of an illustrated hagiography and miracle book of a Cypriot-Genovese saint with maritime connections. A 12th-century Cypriot from a noble family, Limbania supposedly fled her home at the age of twelve to avoid a forced marriage. Several miracles brought her to her final home in Genoa: protected in the wilds of Cyprus by wild animals, she was saved from abandonment when the Genoese ship that had broken its promise to transport her was miraculously becalmed and forced to turn back to retrieve her. Arriving in Genoa, a sudden storm threatened shipwreck onto the rocks near the Convent of San Tommaso. Realizing that she had arrived at her destination, Limbania bade the crew farewell, and divine aid carried the ship to its usual anchorage. The earliest known record of her legend dates to 1294, mentioning the veneration of her head in the Church of San Tommaso in Genoa, where she is said to have lived out her days in an underground cell, engaged in self-flagellation. Historians have speculated that Limbania may have been born in Cyprus of a Genovese merchant. She was patron of travelers, coachmen and mule-drivers. Vannini’s detailed account of her life and her religious practice is integrated with accounts of miracles, including that of her head, which, after being handled with a lack of respect by a cleric, floated through the air and landed on the church altar, an occurrence that inspired the creation of a confraternity and which was commemorated in a yearly procession. The author is identified on the title as Priest of S. Girolamo della Charità, who presently assists the Monte di Pietà of Rome in their activities.

The anonymous engravings of this edition depict the beatified Saint holding the Bible and the “pettino di lino,” the tool for carding linen with which she scourged herself, with Genoa and the church of San Tommaso in the background; the youthful saint surrounded by wild animals on Cyprus; her death in her cave and ascension to heaven; and worship of her head, after its miraculous self-propulsion in the S. Tommaso. The Genoese printer Giuseppe Pavoni (1551-1641) did not have a large shop and his yearly output was correspondingly small, but he remained active for so long that by the end of his career he had published over 500 editions (including of music), most commissioned by the Republic of Genoa or other clerical or lay institutions. Many of his books were decorated with initials, woodcut borders, etc., from his rich stock (cf. Treccani, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 81 [online]).

Gustavo Camillo Gallétti (1805-1868), historian and editor of early Florentine literature, many of whose works remained unpublished, amassed an important library of manuscripts and rare printed books, of which the majority were purchased after his death by Baron Horace de Landau. Many of these were subsequently acquired by the Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze.

Not in OCLC. ICCU lists 4 Italian locations. G. Ruffini, Sotto il segno del Pavone: annali di Giuseppe Pavoni e dei suoi eredi, 1598-1642 (Milan, 1994), p. 145. Item #2914

Price: $3,200.00

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