The man in the weighing chair is supposed to be a portrait of Sanctorius Sanctorius himself. The British Library‘s version of this is missing its frontispiece. I was reluctant to include a picture of a book published by Vlacq, who was a mathematician as well as a publisher, and published a book of logarithm tables. How well I remember throwing my log tables into the bin as I left the maths O level exam hall. (Why did I assume I’d passed?)
I enjoy using the British Library‘s Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC). If you know Le Marche, try typing in the name of a comune and see what comes up. Ostra Vetere has 80 incunabula. That’s about one for 42 inhabitants. You can also find some amusement in seeing what other large and famous libraries have copies of little Ostra Vetere’s books: Bodley and the British Library have copies of Marchesinus’ 1489 Mammotrectus.
The library also has a 1481 Mammotrectus, printed in Milan by Leonardus Pachel and Uldericus Scinzenzeler, but I couldn’t photograph it as it wasn’t on display. In fact they hadn’t displayed any other incunabula.
Ostra Vetere’s collection of antiquarian books derives from the Frati Minori, or Franciscan Friars Minor, whose collection the comune took over at the time of the unification of Italy, when many religious houses were suppressed, as happened in Mondavio. As you would expect,the friars had many medical books, for they were expected to doctor the townsfolk. In my previous post I showed you one book by Jean Fernel, and here is another.