Item #3100 Totius terrae sanctae urbiumque et quicquid in eis memoria dignum Actum gestumve fuit: Secundum Bibliacos libros ac divum Hyeronimum, authore Martino Brionaeo Parisiensi, elaborata Descriptio. Martin de Brion, Martinus Brionaeus.
Scarce Historical Geography of the Kingdom of Jerusalem

Totius terrae sanctae urbiumque et quicquid in eis memoria dignum Actum gestumve fuit: Secundum Bibliacos libros ac divum Hyeronimum, authore Martino Brionaeo Parisiensi, elaborata Descriptio.

Paris: : per Gullielmum de Bossozel [Guillaume de Bossozel], 1540. First edition. In later vellum. Woodcut bird's-eye view of Jerusalem on title page. Printed signet mounted on title page with the name of Pope Honorius II and his motto. Sign.: [A]4 B-N4 O6; Pag.: ff. 58. Joseph (José) Canovai’s bookplate on last leaf. The title page and the lower edge of E1 are strengthened with old paper. A piece of old paper mounted on F2r lower outer margin. Light foxing throughout, occasional stains. A water stain to the lower outer edge affects sign. F and G, and partly reoccurs in K. Last leaf thinned and washed in the center. Otherwise in fine condition.

An early and extremely scarce historical geography of the Holy Land, with an uncommon woodcut view of Jerusalem.

This rare historical geography Totius terrae sanctae was written by Martin de Brion, a curious figure of the Frech Renaissance, of whose life, except for his cousinship to Philippe Chabot, seigneur of Brion, nothing is known.

The book is dedicated to Francis I of France and organized in the form of a dictionary. The sites of interest in the Kingdom of Jerusalem are listed alphabetically from Arbee (Kiryat Arba) to Ziph (Zif), and each is described in a scholarly way, giving geographical, historical, and scriptural details. The entries follow roughly the same structure, after the name of the place De Brion gives its geographical position and relation to other known locations, the related significant biblical event — sometimes in greater detail, occasionally supplemented with original verses by the author — and finally the citation of the biblical book, chapter and verse where the place or the linked event is described.

De Brion’s opus magnum is somewhat better known and recorded in its manuscript French version, which was never published in print, and titled Tresample description de toute la Terre Saincte. Only three copies are known today of this version, of which two were presented for the French and the British Kings, Francis I (Paris, BnF, MS fr. 5638), and Henry VIII (London, British Library, Royal MS 20 A. IV) and the third one for the author’s relative, Philippe Chabot, Admiral de Brion, one of Francis I’s closest friends, ambassador to England, and the Grand Master of the Knights Templar (Lamenius Descent) (sold by Les Enluminures). We also know about a sole manuscript copy with the Latin text, which was dedicated and given by de Brion to Pope Paul III (Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. lat. 5536). This copy is illuminated with the same symbolic bird’s-eye view of Jerusalem as the woodcut illustration seen on the title page of the present printed version, indicating the cardinal directions and the twelve gates of the city are named after the Twelve Tribes of Israel, inspired by Ez. 48. 31–34.

As mentioned, only the Latin version was published in print. Besides the present one, we could not trace any other copies in the trade, and USTC lists only eight copies in institutional holdings (Copenhagen, Det Kongelige Bibliotek; Paris, BnF; Paris, Arsenal; Dublin, Trinity College; Perugia Biblioteca comunale Augusta; Oxford, Bodleian Library; Oxford, St John's College Library; Cambridge, Houghton Library, Harvard University).

Provenance: Gross family collection; Joseph (José) Canovai’s bookplate on the last leaf

Ref.: USTC 147919; Röhricht 664; Literature: Drimmer S. (2011) “Martin de Brion, Tresample description de toute la Terre Saincte” Royal Manuscripts. The Genius of Illumination. [Exhibition catalogue; no. 146.] London: The British Library.; Les Enluminures. (n.d.). Martin de Brion, Tres ample description de toute la Terre Saincte et choses memorables faictes en plusieurs villes et lieux d'icelle, extraicte de la Bible et livres sainct Hierosme par Martin de Brion parisien.; Röhricht R. (1890). "Bibliotheca geographica palaestinae". Chronologisches Verzeichniss der auf die Geographie des Heiligen Landes bezüglichen Literatur von 333 bis 1878 und Versuch einer Cartographie. H. Reuther. (p. 185).

Price: €20,000.00