16mo (142 x 99 mm). Collation: A-G16 (G16 blank, removed).  pages. Double column, small roman types. Large woodcut on title, 20 small woodcuts in the text, printed from four blocks (two used once each, the others repeated). Printing flaw, A9v. A couple of tiny marginal tears, slight creasing to leaves at end. 20th-century tree-marbled glazed paper over flexible pasteboards. Provenance: “Bagio,” inscription on front pastedown; Ex fondatione Giorgii ---, illegible ownership inscription on title. ***
Unrecorded edition of a popular verse account of the fall of Troy. Part of the “prehistory of the Italian romance epic” (Everson), the Trojan tale circulated in several versions during the late medieval period. Like the other Italian versions, this anonymous poem in 20 cantos in ottava rima may have been loosely based on the 13th-century Latin prose narrative Historia Troiana by Guido delle Colonne. Both poems emphasize Rome’s Trojan lineage. The earliest recorded edition of this version dates to 1483 (GW 12519, 1 extant copy), an inconvenient fact for a later attribution to the poet Jacopo di Carlo, who was in fact the printer of the 1491 edition.
In the sixteenth century the educated classes enjoyed the tale, which was sometimes even read in schools. The spread of literacy stimulated the production of cheaper, chapbook editions, like this one, thriftily printed in very small types, with repeated impressions of the woodblocks of battle scenes. The larger title cut, printed from a worn block which is missing part of the border, shows a small skirmish of soldiers in medieval armor.
Editions appeared throughout the 17th century, mainly in Venice, but also in Padua and Verona. Together ICCU and OCLC list thirteen 16th and 17th century editions (from 1562 to 1671), NOT including this one. All are rare. This edition not in ICCU, OCLC, USTC, etc. See Brunet 5: 964-5; Melzi, Anonime e pseudonime 3: 177; J. E. Everson, The Italian Romance Epic in the Age of Humanism (2001), pp. 43 ff; Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy (1989). Item #4177