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About Early European Books

In order to develop a collection from Europe in the Early Modern Period, the Early European Books Project is working in partnership with 5 National Libraries to digitize their curated collections from this period.

The National Library partners are:

  1. The Royal Library – Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Copenhagen, Denmark)

  2. National Central Library in Florence – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence, Italy)

  3. The National Library – Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague, The Netherlands)

  4. Wellcome Library (London, UK)

  5. National Library of France - Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)

Over time, other significant national libraries will be adding specific collections to Early European Books.

Early European Books provides scholars with new ways of accessing and exploring all works printed in Europe before 1701, drawing together a diverse array of printed sources, regardless of language, as well as works published further afield. Developed and produced in close collaboration with scholars, rare book librarians, bibliographers, and other experts from the library world, this resource opens the door to some of the world's most significant collections of early printed books.

All works printed in Europe before 1701, regardless of language, fall within the scope of the project, together with all pre-1701 works in European languages printed further afield. Early European Books builds upon and complements Early English Books Online (EEBO) and is largely concerned with non-Anglophone materials; however, books in English or printed in the English-speaking world that are already represented in EEBO are not omitted from Early European Books where they form an integral element of the predominantly non-Anglophone collections that have been made available for digital capture.

Early European Books offers full-colour, high-resolution (400 ppi) facsimile images scanned directly from the original printed sources. Each item in the collection is captured in its entirety, complete with its binding, edges, endpapers, blank pages, and any loose inserts, providing scholars with a wealth of information about the physical characteristics and provenance histories of the original artefacts.

Detailed descriptive bibliographic metadata accompanies each set of facsimile Document Images to support browsing and searching. Users of Early European Books are also provided with functionality that allows them to pinpoint particular images containing manuscript annotation and various kinds of non-textual printed matter including illustrations and maps.

Early European Books will be issued as a series of collections, each offering access to the early printed books of one or more major libraries. These collections will build to form a seamless and increasingly comprehensive survey of printing in Europe to 1700.

About Collection 1

The first Early European Books collection has been made possible by a partnership between ProQuest and Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This collection offers a comprehensive survey of the Royal Library's holdings of items listed in Lauritz Nielsen's Dansk Bibliografi 1482–1600 and its supplement (1919–1996). All of the Royal Library's Danish and Icelandic imprints produced in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries fall within its scope, from the earliest works printed in Denmark through to works by the alchemist and pioneer astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) issued from his private press at Uranienborg before 1597. Other notable works of Tycho Brahe in this collection include his De nova et nullius ævi memoria prius visa stella ('On the new and never previously seen star'), published in Copenhagen in 1573 (Lauritz Nielsen 429).

Lauritz Nielsen's Dansk Bibliografi 1482–1600 includes material printed across Europe and works in many European languages, including Latin, Danish, German, English, Icelandic, Swedish and Ancient Greek. Authors whose works are represented among the Royal Library's collection of pre-1601 books include humanists such as Erasmus (d. 1536), Boccaccio (1313–1375), and Petrarch (1304–1374), figures of the Reformation such as Martin Luther (1483–1546), Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560), Hans Tausen (1494–1561), and Johann Bugenhagen (1485–1558), and classical authors such as Cicero, Demosthenes, and Livy.

Among the landmark Latin texts included in this survey of the Royal Library's collections are copies of the three sixteenth-century printed editions of the Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus (13th Cent), the first printed with the title Danoru[m] Regu[m] heroumq[ue] historiæ ('Histories of the kings and heroes of the Danes') by Josse Badius (1462–1535) in Paris in 1514 (LN 240), the second, Saxonis Grammatici Danorum Historiae libri XVI, printed by Joannes Oporinus (1507–1568) in Basel in 1534 (LN 241), and the third, Danica Historia libris XVI, printed by Philipp Lonicer (d. 1599) in Frankfurt am Main in 1576 (LN 1450). Also included are several copies of De Denscke Kroneke, an excerpt of the Gesta Danorum in Low German printed by Matthäus Brandis in around 1502 (LN 242) and Den Danske Krønicke som Saxo Grammaticus screff, a Danish version by Anders Sørensen Vedel (1542–1616) printed in Copenhagen in 1575.

In total the Royal Library's collection of pre–1601 printed books consists of more than 2,600 items, comprising around 500,000 pages and occupying about fifty metres of linear shelving. Although Collection 1 consists substantially of material printed before 1601, the Royal Library's holdings of seventeenth-century editions of works by Tycho Brahe and his follower Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) have also been included.

About Collection 2

Early European Books Collection 2 contains early printed volumes from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (National Central Library of Florence). The selection of works focuses on four collections of particular historic and bibliographic importance within the library's holdings from this period.

The first of these, the Nenci Aldine Collection brings together more than 770 editions printed by Aldo Manutius and the Aldine Press, founded in Venice in 1495. The Aldine Press was one of the most historically significant institutions in the early history of printed books, with numerous innovations including the first use of italic type and the adoption of the smaller, readily portable, octavo paper size. The second significant collection is of 64 16th- and 17th-century volumes identified for the importance of the postillati, or marginal annotations. Researchers will be able to read marginal notes written by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) on his own personal copies of works by Euclid, Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso and Horace.

Third in this prestigious list comes almost 1,200 volumes of Incunabula, including rare first editions of the works of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, and 100 volumes by the controversial preacher Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498). The fourth collection presents over 780 16th- and 17th-century editions of sacre rappresentazioni, popular verse plays depicting Biblical scenes, episodes from the lives of the saints and Christian legends, which were originally performed throughout Tuscany and which scholars consider to form the foundations of Italian theatre. Although many of the texts are anonymous, those by named authors include Castellano Castellani's Figliuol prodigo and Lorenzo de' Medici's Rappresentazione di San Giovanni e Paolo.

About Collection 3

Early European Books Collection 3 is substantially larger than the previous collections, containing nearly 3 million pages in total, from more than 10,000 volumes scanned at four different libraries: the Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library, Copenhagen) the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (National Central Library of Florence, Italy), and our two new partner libraries, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) and The Wellcome Library in London.

This breadth of scope gives a wide-ranging overview of the intellectual life and historical upheavals of early modern Europe, touching on all areas of cultural, scientific, intellectual and social life from the Reformation to the Renaissance and to the Age of Discovery. It encompasses works in all major European languages, printed in the cities which led the explosion of the print industry in the early modern era, such as Nuremberg, Basel, Leiden, Paris and Venice. The collection contains founding works of modern science, together with accounts of travel, exploration and warfare, as well as influential works of literature, philosophy, religious debate and humanist thought.

The inclusion of volumes from London's Wellcome Library has extended the product's range of scientific titles. Collection 3 provides scholarly editions and translations of the works of Galen, Galileo, Dioscorides, Fuchs and Aldrovandi, as well as works on alchemy and demonology, falconry and even cookery titles such as La Varenne's Le cuisinier françois of 1656. Volumes from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek widen the scope of philosophical debate of the period with titles by Descartes and Spinoza, as well as providing a wealth of contemporary historical analysis in the form of pamphlets relating to the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule, the persecution of the Huguenots, and the assassination of William of Orange.

Religious texts are represented in the collection through examples of Reformation and Counter-Reformation debate, and supplemented by editions of the works of the Church Fathers, early Bible editions in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and vernacular translations, missals, psalters and breviaries, Protestant sermons and tracts. Literary works include Molière's L'avare (Paris, 1693), Torquato Tasso's Gierusalemme liberata (Paris, 1678) and Sebastian Brant's Ship of Fools (Latin edition; Basel, 1498). Titles reflecting the Age of Discovery can be found in several editions of Theodor de Bry's America (from 1595 onwards), and Joannes de Laet's History of the New World (Leiden, 1625), together with surveys, chronicles and illustrated natural histories of Brazil, Peru, Ethiopia, India, Persia and the Portuguese East Indies (in Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch and Latin).

Lastly, as well as reflecting the intellectual currents of the day, highlights from the collection also include splendid examples of the art of printing, from Nicolas Jenson's Venetian imprints of the 1470s and examples of Dutch 'prototypography', to Christophe Plantin's prolifically illustrated editions of Monardes' survey of plants of the New World (1574) and the House of Elzevir's editions of the Classics and the Greek New Testament (Leiden, 1624). Works of fine art and illustration include Albrecht Dürer's Four Books on Human Proportion (Arnhem, 1622), and volumes with engravings by Jacob de Gheyn (Waffenhandlvng, or The Exercise of Arms; Amsterdam, 1608), Johan Bara (Emblemata amatoria, Netherlands, c.1620) and Jöst Amman (Panoplia, Frankfurt, 1568).

About Collection 4

Like its immediate predecessor, Early European Books Collection 4 contains almost 3 million pages and includes works from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Wellcome Library and the Kongelige Bibliotek. As a new addition, Collection 4 also sees the first inclusion of some 1,700 volumes from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

The contents of Collection 4 as a whole are as wide-ranging as previous collections and reflect in a kaleidoscope of detail the social, intellectual and religious concerns of the day. Among the highlights from our existing partner libraries are titles from the Wellcome Library once owned by the Victorian writer and designer William Morris, scholarly works of history and theology from Florence, literary translations and legal texts from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague (including a large number of volumes by the Elzevir Press), and titles relating to the Protestant Reformation from the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen.

Works from the BnF featured in Collection 4 once again open out Early European Books to new areas of knowledge and greater levels of detail. In religious matters, a number of works illuminate the rites and ceremonies of religious life: the celebration of festivals such as Christmas, marriage and funeral rites, practices relating to prayer, fasting, giving alms and processions. Alongside texts on law and regulation sit illuminating accounts of the customs of the French provinces. In the meantime, the realm of philosophy is represented by, among titles, Plato's Republic and works by the French political thinker Jean Bodin (1530-1596), as well as numerous French translations of works by figures from the Italian Renaissance such as Machiavelli and Giovanni Botero.

About Collection 5

Early European Books Collection 5 contains more than 5,690 titles and over 1,671,000 pages of pre-1700 printed works from the following three libraries: the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen and the Wellcome Library in London.

Sharing with previous collections a rich variety of classical and original early modern texts, Collection 5 once again helps embellish and extend our understanding of the period with titles relevant to countless aspects of the Reformation, the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. Among the notable highlights are works by the legendary self-proclaimed seer Nostradamus, numerous titles by pioneering Danish physician Thomas Bartholin and by the 15th-century English alchemist George Ripley. It also includes classical texts by the likes of Aesop, Juvenal, Hippocrates, Catullus and Aristotle printed for widespread distribution to early modern audiences.

In addition to works by Bartholin, Collection 5 is especially strong on volumes relating to medicine, anatomy and empirical science. These include works by Oluf Borch (1626-1690), one of the fathers of Danish experimental science, the naturalist Niels Steensen (1638-1686) and Paracelsus, the alchemist and founder of toxicology. Medical works include titles by Geralomo Cardano (1501-1576), Donato Altomare (1520-1566) and Giambattista della Porta (1535?-1615).

Reflecting contemporary thought and complementing works of philosophy from classical times are works of philosophy including an edition of writings by the medieval theologian Duns Scotus published in Venice in 1503 and a 1643 Amsterdam edition of Sir Francis Bacon's Nova Atlantis. A similarly rich mix of titles in modern and classical languages is to be found in areas of writing such as literature and poetry, theology, narratives of maritime discovery and works of political science, making Collection 5 a diverse and rewarding repository, and a worthy addition to previous collections in Early European Books.

About Collection 6

Early European Books Collection 6 is the first collection dedicated solely to a selection from the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris and contains over 1,400,000 digitally-preserved pages from over 3,500 different works. As wide-ranging in subject matter as previous collections, Collection 6 is also distinguished by its wealth of French-language content, including original works, as well as translations from classical literature and from contemporary works in English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and German.

Reflecting Renaissance interest in classical texts, Collection 6 includes editions of Homer, Herodotus, Plato and Aristotle, as well as Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Cicero and Julius Caesar. In terms of contemporary French texts, early-modern French philosophy is represented by, for example, works by Pascal and Descartes, while literary texts include the fables of La Fontaine. Examples of religious writings extend from works by the Church Fathers, Augustine, Althanasius and John Chrysostom to figures engaged in the disputes of the Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation such as Luther, Calvin, Erasmus and Gabriel du Preau. There are also modern Latin texts by the Italian heretic Giordano Bruno and the Florentine firebrand preacher Savonarola included. Interest in science, medicine and alchemy is reflected in a colorfully illustrated La Toyson d'Or (Paris, 1613) by Salomon Trismosin, as well as French translations of Hermes Trismegistus and of William Salmon's Hermetic Dictionary. Along with various accounts of French regional customs and folklore, descriptions of further-afield discovery and exploration include a French edition of Francisco López de Gómara's account of the Spanish conquest of the New World. Adding further dimensions to this rich collection are works on mathematics, astronomy, politics, the arts of warfare, agriculture, falconry and tulip growing, as well as a French translation of Ruy López de Segura's work on chess.

About Collection 7

The first new release of Early European Books in 2015, Collection 7 is published in its entirety and brings together over 7,400 titles and more than 1.9 million pages from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, the Wellcome Library in London and from the Kongelige Bibliothek in Copenhagen. The collection marks the final instalment of content from Copenhagen, with over 2,700 new titles including sixteen incunabula, one of which is the first printed edition of Leon Battista Alberti's seminal work on architecture De re aesdificatoria (Florence, 1485). Also included are works by the pioneer Danish physician Thomas Bartholin on his discovery of the thoracic duct and the lymphatic vessels, as well as his 1658 translation of the Venetian nobleman Luigi Cornaro's book on healthy aging. Added to this are titles in numerous languages on a range of subject areas including astronomy, philosophy, literature and aesthetics, as well as classical literature and curiosities such as household calendars and the first ever Danish cookbook (published in 1616).

Continuing with the medical theme, works from the Wellcome Library include editions of the Fasciculus medicina by the German physician Johannes de Kethem, as well as illustrated titles on anatomy, midwifery, and an extensive range of 16th-century titles on the new disease of syphilis. Other highlights from the Wellcome include Paracelsus' groundbreaking study on the health of a single occupational group, Von der Bergsucht oder Bergkranckheiten drey Bücher (Dillingen, 1567) and William Harvey's Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus (Frankfurt, 1628), the first edition of his account of his discovery of blood circulation. Beyond medicine and works on science, selections from the Wellcome also include religious texts such as the Dutch Anabaptist David Joris's T' wonder-boeck (1551) and a 1681 French translation of Leon Modena's study of Jewish ceremonies and customs. Also from the Wellcome are two editions of Italian geographer Giovanni Battista Ramusio's Navigatione et viaggi, a compendium of explorers' first-hand accounts of their navigations and travels, the first of its kind.

As well as six incunabula, selections from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek also incorporate a number of exploration narratives, including Dutch translations of Sir Walter Raleigh's The Discovery of Guiana (Amsterdam, 1617) and of Leo Africanus' Della descrittione dell'Africa (Rotterdam, 1665). Material from The Hague is similarly strong on history titles, with accounts of the Dutch Revolt by the likes of Samuel Ampzing, Pieter Bor and the Flemish historian Emanuel van Meteren, as well as a Dutch history of the British Isles during the period of the English Civil War, Jacob van Oorts's Ontlokene roose, bloeyende distel-bloem, en Hersnaerde Harp door (Dordrecht, 1661). Philosophy and religious titles are also well-represented, with a 1674 Amsterdam edition of Spinoza's Tractatus theologico-politicus, as well as works by Descartes and the influential German mystic Jacob Böhme, by Dutch humanists like Janus Dousa and Erasmus, and by key figures of the Reformation such as Jean Calvin, Theodore Beza and Martin Luther.

About Collection 8

The second Early European Books collection to be dedicated solely to content from the prestigious Bibliothèque nationale de France, Collection 8 brings together over 5,300 titles and more than 1.7 million pages of new material.

Particularly strong on religious texts, Collection 8 includes works ranging from liturgy and ritual to the writings of the Church Fathers and examples of the impassioned spiritual debates prompted by the Protestant Reformation. From works by St Cyprian and St Augustine through to more than 30 titles by Bernard of Clairvaux, a founder of the reformist Cistercian Order, Collection 8 underlines how the early modern print revolution brought key texts of the early Western Church to a wider audience. Works by Jean Calvin and the Huguenot minister Pierre Du Moulin (1568-1658) give Protestant writings of the period a particular French inflection. In the meantime, Roman Catholic viewpoints are evinced in works by Savonarola, Bonaventure and Alphonse Rodriguez, as well as by French churchmen Jean-Pierre Camus, Guy de Roye and Joseph Lambert, among others.

Print editions of classical Roman authors are also well represented in Collection 8 with an abundance of titles from the likes of Cicero, Virgil, Juvenal, Martial and Terence, as well as editions of Ovid in both Latin and French translation. Another work found in Collection 8 that was reintroduced by print is De Proprietatibus rerum (Paris; 1480) by Barthélemy l'Anglais (Bartholomeus Anglicus), a famous book of the Middle Ages dated back to 1240 and a forerunner of the modern encyclopedia. Alongside Latin verse, French poetry and literature is richly exampled with multiple editions of François Villon, Pierre de Ronsard, Rabelais and numerous titles by Madeleine de Scudéry. French translations of foreign works also include editions of Cervantes, Boccaccio and Leon Battista Alberti. Another great strength of Colllection 8's selection is its fascinating diversity of titles giving account of French history, society and topography, ranging from the lives of individual monarchs to legal documents, and from descriptions of specific regions within France to the history of Gaul.

Venturing beyond the boundaries of France, Collection 8 additionally provides histories of neighboring countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy, as well as of Asia and the Americas, including letters from a 16th-century Jesuit stationed in Japan, narratives of the earliest European encounters with the Tartars, a life of Tamerlane and L'histoire naturelle et generalle des Indes (1555), a French translation from the Spanish by the historian Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo (1478-1557). Collection 8 also contains numerous, fascinating contemporary accounts of journeys to the Middle East by French travelers such as Gabriel Giraudet and Jean Doubdan. A 1664 edition of Eugéne Roger's La Terre Sainte offers a nicely illustrated guide to the Holy Land and its people, as well as a discourse on the Koran. Meanwhile an earlier, 1603 work by Denis Lebey de Batilly gives colorful narration to the history of the medieval Middle East's secret order of the Assassins.

Works of natural history, too, are also much in evidence in Collection 8 from translations of classical texts like Pliny to handsomely illustrated contemporary taxonomies of flora and fauna. Other highlights from a generous range of subject areas include Nicolas de Locques' Les Rudimens de la philosophie naturelle (Paris, 1665), a 1668 edition of Descartes' Discours de la méthode and a 1580 edition of Jean Bodin's influential work on witch trials, La Démonomanie des sorciers. Finally, and bringing good food and drink to the table, also included is a 1482 German translation of the medieval Catalan's Arnaud de Villeneuve's treatise on wine and one of the earliest popular French cookery books, a 1670 edition of François Pierre de la Varenne's La Cuisinier françois. Altogether, Collection 8 constitutes a hugely rewarding source of study and a worthy addition to previous Early European Books collections.

About Collection 9

Collection 9 combines a balanced selection from the Wellcome Library in London and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague and includes approximately 3,300 titles and around 1.37 million pages of new material.

Among the treasures to be discovered here are selections from the Wellcome Library's prestigious collection of incunabula, or earliest printed books. These include medical titles in particular, from editions of Aulus Cornelius Celsus's De Medicina, to a 1496 Venice edition of the Liber Teisir by the 12th-century Arab physician Ibn Zuhr, to works by Alessandro Benedetti, the 15th-century surgeon general of the Venetian army, and to the 1491 Venice printing of Antonio Gazio's treatise on health, Corona florida medicinae.

A typically rich and intriguing variety of science and medical titles can be found in the later material from the Wellcome Library. In medicine, these range from standard works of the classical world by Galen and Hippocrates to the writings of the Arab physician Serapion the Younger and to more specialized studies of the early modern period. Included are multiple works on anatomy and surgery by the likes of Fabricus ab Aquapendente (1533-1619), Caspar Bartholin (1585-1629) and Johann Dryander (1500-1560). Also included is Jean Riolan's writings on blood circulation, multiple works by the "Dutch Hippocrates" Pieter van Foreest and a 1539 Paris edition of Guillaume Budé's work on gout and diseases of the joints. As well as scientific titles on chemistry and astronomy, also included is a fascinating range of titles pursuing alchemical enquiry and the occult sciences. Numerous works touching on alchemy by the 13th-century Iranian polymath Geber and by Paracelsus (1493-1541) are supplemented by titles such as Robert Fludd's (1574-1637) Integrum morborum mysterium and a 1541 Strasbourg edition of Walther Hermann Ryff's work on the art of memory, De memoria.

Content from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek provides a variety of material but also gives an emphasis to science, mathematics and astronomy titles. Starting with 17th-century editions of Pliny the Elder's writings on natural history in both Latin and Dutch translation, the selection moves to a 1682 Amsterdam edition of the Dutch botanist and artist Abrahamus Munting's Waare oeffening der planten and numerous other works of early modern scientific enquiry. Astronomy titles include Jacob Cats' Aenmerckinghe op de tegenwoordige steert-sterre (1618) as well as works by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Antonio Magini who devised the Maginian System of planetary theory. In mathematics, the selection includes a 1691 Amsterdam edition of Jacques Ozanam's Dictionaire Mathematique and Abraham de Graaf's De geheele mathesis (1694). A further science highlight from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek is a selection of writings by the Dutch doctor and philosopher Heydentryk Overkamp collected in Alle de medicinale, chirurgicale en philosophische werken in another Amsterdam publication of 1694. Political science and history titles feature too in Collection 9 works from The Hague, but the selection is also marked by titles reflecting Dutch engineering and entrepreneurship such as Johan Sems's Practijck des lantmetens (1648) and Sybrandt Hansz Cardinael's Boeckhouden (also 1648), a work on financial bookkeeping.

Together these evenly balanced selections from the Wellcome Library and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek form a richly rewarding body of material, making Collection 9 an essential addition to Early European Books.

About Collection 10

Early European Books Collection 10 introduces a new collection from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) with over 2,500 titles and approximately 1.3 million pages.

This selection of books is drawn from the Philosophy, History and Human Science (PHS) department of the BnF and features sixteenth- and seventeenth-century titles published within the borders of modern-day France. It offers a range of works from a period that transitions to the Enlightenment and the epistemological revolutions of French philosophers and theorists.

Unlike previous selections from the BnF which reflected the dominance of Paris and - to a lesser extent - of Lyon in the early modern French publishing world, this corpus gives wider representation to the provincial press that came to emerge particularly during the seventeenth century. The new selection therefore includes contributions from Rouen, then France's second city, as well as from Douai (ceded to France in 1668), Caen, Bordeaux, Troyes, Toulouse and a further network of towns both large and small, of bishopric offices, and of courts and schools.

In philosophy, of particular interest are the editions from the big names of the Grand Siècle such as René Descartes and Nicolas Malebranche, or the so-called "erudite libertines" like Gabriel Naudé (1600-1653). The significance of the seventeenth century is clearer still in the categories of geography and general history where the century's major reference works are well represented. These titles include a series of editions of the Grand Dictionnaire Historique by Louis Moréri (1643-1680), a further series on world history in French and Latin by the Jesuit Horace Turcelin (Orazio Torsellino), the Rationarium temporum of Father Denis Petau (1583-1652), the learned treatises of fellow Jesuit Philippe Labbé (1607-1667), and in particular his Concordia chronologica published in 5 folio volumes by the Imprimerie Royale. These reference works stand alongside many accounts of travels around the continent (Claude Jordan, Charles Patin, Théodore Turquet de Mayerne, among others) as well as of journeys beyond Europe (Jean Mocquet, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and others). Demonstrating a similar diversity, two editions from the Discours sur l'histoire universelle by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704) sit with the series of "exemplary" and moral stories of the prolific bishop of Belley, Jean-Pierre Camus (1584-1652), published mainly in the provinces.

Coverage of Ancient history and Catholic theology is balanced between French and Latin editions. Although Roman history is predominantly covered in Latin, French translations of historians such as Tacitus, Plutarch, Suetonius, Quintus Curtius, Sallust and Florus abound in the seventeenth century. Meanwhile, modern scholars such as the prelate Nicolas Coeffeteau (1574-1623) and the French historiographer Scipion Dupleix (1569-1661) make their contributions in folio format in their Histoire romaine.

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of this selection, works on theology reflect equally the extensive output of scholarly works and dogma (mainly sixteenth-century titles published in Paris and Lyon), the intensity of the disputes - particularly those surrounding the emergence of Jansenism (from the mid-seventeenth century onwards) - and the progress of "Christian humanism" advocated by St Francis de Sales and extended through a rich literature intended for the faithful, among them Tridentine and diocesan catechisms. Through these texts, links can be traced between the religious controversies and conflicts that marked the sixteenth century, and the equally virulent debates that characterized the seventeenth century.

About Collection 11

Total Pages: 471,000

Total Items: 2,200

Launched to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Collection 11 is the first Early European Books release to be curated fully thematically, made possible by the addition of a new search field. Since 2016, Early European Books has been enriched by the inclusion of 38 different USTC subject classifications, allowing the user to identify titles by subject area and to navigate the product with enhanced selectivity. Curation steps from this collection onwards will also be informed by subject themes in Early European Books.

Where previous collections have tended to be assembled according to broader or more complex parameters, Collection 11 focuses squarely on religious works. The collection draws on material from 4 libraries in Europe: the Wellcome Library in London as well as from three national libraries - Italy's Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Denmark's Kongelige Bibliotek and Holland's Koninklijke Bibliotheek. The titles selected include devotional literature, bibles and bible commentaries, but also mystical writings, works on witchcraft and demonology and books of funeral orations, all of which reflect the rich terrain of early modern religious, spiritual and popular belief.

Establishing the theme of Collection 11 is one of the central works of devotional literature for the early modern period and beyond, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. Originally composed in the early 15th century, in print the work proved hugely popular and was translated into many different languages. As well as Dutch translations of the work, Collection 11 includes a number of editions of the original Latin-text version, De imitando Christo, all dating from the 1600s. Other religious works from the pre-Gutenberg era are also in evidence. These include a Venice, 1489 edition of St. Augustine's De civitate Dei as well as a multi-volume edition of his works published in Antwerp in 1700. Collection 11 also features an Antwerp edition of the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiasticae historiae dating back to 1550, as well as late-fifteenth century editions of Anselm of Canterbury published in Germany and Italy.

Beyond the inclusion of earlier Christian writings, Collection 11 focuses strongly on texts of the early modern period, and in particular on titles which relate to the religious debates of the Reformation. What began in 1517 with the circulation of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses originally prompted as an outcry against the selling of indulgences by the Church - led to the most decisive schism within Western Christendom. Reflecting this historic shift, Collection 11 contains writings by many of the best-known figures of the Reformation. Editions of Luther's postils are exampled, together with numerous works and commentaries by Jean Calvin. Among a multitude of other significant Protestant texts, a variety of writings by Huguenot minister Pierre du Moulin (1568-1658) are to be found, as well as works by the prolific French clergyman and scholar, David Blondel (1591-1655). Numerous titles by the Calvinist theologian Friedrich Spanheim (1600-1649) include a 1690 edition of his Disquisitio historica de papa foemina investigating the legend of Pope Joan, a frequent topic of discussion during these times. Reflecting the Reformation's impact on state and secular matters, Collection 11 features several German editions of lawyer Dietrich Reinking's Tractatus de regimine seculari et ecclesiastico. Other items of interest include a 1685 Dutch translation of The Pilgrim's Progress author John Bunyan's The Holy War (1682), further Dutch editions of the writings of William Penn and an Amsterdam, 1637, Latin-text edition of Conrad Heresbach's letters to Erasmus on the subject of Anabaptism.

Roman Catholic voices are well represented in Collection 11 by a range of figures both spiritual and scholarly. A Brussels, 1692 paraphrasis of the Psalms written by Cornelius Jansen, the father of Jansenism, is included, as are a number of works by the French priest and orientalist Richard Simon (1638-1712). Collection 11 also features sermons by the notorious Florentine Dominican friar, Giralomo Savonarola, as well as two works by the Paris-born Oratorian and thinker Nicolas Malebranche, who sought to reconcile the teachings of St. Augustine with the new Cartesian philosophy. The collection also gathers a handful of works by the fascinating, polymathic figure of Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), the German Jesuit whose interests embraced medicine, comparative religion and the subterranean make-up of the Earth. These titles include his famous book on Egyptology, Oedipus Aegyptiacus (Rome, 1653-4) and his Arca Noë (Amsterdam, 1675), a work exploring the biblical story of Noah's Ark and speculating upon the plight after the flood of the many different animal species Noah rescued.

Although the early modern period is known to mark the emergence of state and secular institutions and the birth of modern science, it remained a time of overlap in which, for example, even as giant a figure of the scientific revolution as Sir Isaac Newton could still be drawn to alchemy and other occult studies. As much as the Reformation was a break with the past, in the realm of religion and popular belief too, older ideas persisted, merging with or opposing the new religious dispensation in all kinds of ways. The place of mysticism in Christianity has always been a central one and Collection 11 reflects this through its selection of mystic writings from medieval times like those of Gertrude the Great (1256-1302), and into the early modern period, with numerous works by the visionary Protestant theologian Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), including an Amsterdam, 1682 edition of De Signatura Rerum. The work of another influential German mystic, Valentin Weigel's Der güldene Griff, is also featured in a 1613 edition published in Halle. Venturing into the territory of popular belief, the prolific Jesuit theologian Martin Delrio's Disquisitionum Magicarum (known in English as Magical Investigations) proved hugely popular as an exploration of magic, superstition and witchcraft. The edition included here was published in Mainz in 1600. Collection 11 also features a 1604 edition of the Daemonologia, the famed study of necromancy by James I of England (James VI of Scotland) that was written in support of witch hunts and that is thought to have been a source for Shakespeare's Macbeth (1606). An earlier work on witchcraft, the Italian philosopher Giovanno Pico della Mirandola's Strix (1523), similarly spread knowledge about witches across Italy, chiefly through its translations into vernacular Italian. The first translation appeared as early as 1524, while the edition featured in Collection 11 is the 1555 version by Turino Turini printed in Pescia. While much of this literature served partly to fuel the witch hunt craze that was entwined with the religious upheavals of the Reformation, among the many Collection 11 titles by the Dutch pastor Balthasar Bekker (1634-1698) is a 1693 German translation of his De Betoverde Weereld (1691). Usually known in English as The World Bewitched, through his writing Bekker attacked popular superstitious belief in sorcery and magic and, in doing so, made an early contribution to the eventual demise of witch trials in Europe nearly a century later.

As well as marking the anniversary of a crucial turn in the history of Europe, Collection 11 is also a milestone in the story of Early European Books, providing, as it does, the first fully thematic gathering of content from four different libraries of world standing. Beyond some of the highlights detailed above, Collection 11 provides extensive access into the religious and spiritual writings of the early modern and Reformation period, and also includes a range of much older texts freshly circulated through the medium of print. Bearing the further distinction of incorporating around 60 incunabula titles, Collection 11 constitutes a richly rewarding addition to Early European Books.

About Collection 12

Total Pages: 570,651

Total Items: 1,236

Early European Books Collection 12 gathers an exciting new selection of titles from the prestigious Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. As with its immediate predecessor, this new collection also represents a thematically curated body of works. While Collection 11 commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Collection 12 is themed on the topics of history and governance and is drawn from works published across France, from the earliest incunabula to items dating from the late 17th century. Also like its predecessor, Collection 12 is enhanced by the inclusion of item-by-item USTC subject categorizations throughout, an additional search feature enabling and enhancing navigation across the product.

As one might expect, at the heart of Collection 12 are items covering French history, beginning with the times of ancient Gaul and continuing through the Middle Ages up to and including the early modern period itself. The titles range from royal biographies and genealogy to provincial chronicles to memoirs of senior statesmen and to ecclesiastical history. In addition to this already estimable content, Collection 12 also reaches beyond France's borders, covering classical times, histories of Europe, of the Middle East or Holy Land and accounts of the New World, as well as studies in military history, antiquities and numismatics.

Texts preserved since classical times were largely the only source of knowledge about the ancient world during the early modern period, and Collection 12 provides numerous editions of the works of major ancient Greek and Roman historians - Xenophon, Livy, Tacitus, Quintus Curtius and Plutarch among them - in both Latin and in French translation. These editions can often demonstrate an interest in the classical past not simply for its own sake, but as a measure by which to judge the early modern present. For example, Collection 12 features a handful of versions of Julius Caesar's Commentaries, and included with these is a Paris, 1625 edition by the historian and alchemist Blaise de Vigenère (1523-1596) which appends a comparison between the exploits of Caesar and the achievements of the French king Henry IV (1553-1610). Beyond this, Collection 12 also includes the volumes which make up a landmark work of the early 17th century, the Histoire romaine by Nicolas Coeffeteau (1574-1623), a Catholic theologian and historian heralded in his day as one of the finest living exponents of French prose. Coeffeteau's work spans the history of Rome from the time of the first emperor, Augustus, to that of the first Christian emperor, Constantine, who relocated the centre of the empire to Constantinople in 330 CE. Collection 12 builds from this end-point with a gathering of histories covering the later Roman Empire, its eventual bifurcation and the story of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire. These include editions of Esprit Fléchier's (1632-1710) life of Theodosius the Great, the last emperor to rule over both parts of the empire, as well as the multi-volume Histoire de Constantinople first published in Paris by Damien Foucault in 1685. Works focusing on the Middle East also include titles on the medieval Crusades such as the Jesuit Louis Maimbourg's (1610-1686) Histoire des croisades (Paris, 1676) and Samuel de Bröe's edition of the Histoire de la conqueste du royaume de Jérusalem (Paris, 1679) which submits an account of the famous 12th-century Crusader defeat at the hands of Saladin. A contemporary fascination with the East, and with the Ottoman Empire in particular, is reflected by Collection 12's inclusion of a swathe of titles concerned with the history of the Turks. Among them can be found a 1614 edition of René de Lucinge's Histoire de l'origine, progrez et déclin de l'empire des Turcs, a 1682 Histoire des trois derniers empereurs des Turcs translated from an original work by the English diplomat of Huguenot descent, Sir Paul Rycaut (1629-1700), and a 1696 edition of Abra-Mulé, ou l'Histoire du dethronement de Mohamet IV by the colourful French author and playwright Eustache Le Noble (1643-1711).

Not restricted to European depictions of the East, Collection 12 contains a handful of titles originally written in Arabic during the Middle Ages. These include a Paris, 1651 edition of the Latin version of the Chronicon Oriental, a tabulated history of the world that was originally composed in Egypt during the 13th century. Also featured is another work written by a 13th-century Coptic Christian, Ibn al-Amid's account of Saracen history, L'histoire Mohametane, in a French translation published in 1657 by Remy Soubret of Paris. Meanwhile, Soubret's 1658 French edition of Ahmad ibn Arabshah's (1389-1450) L'histoire du grand Tamerlan offers the story of the Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur or Tamerlane as written by an author who lived under his rule. Other works dealing with non-European subject-matter include L'estat de la religion et republique du people judaique in a Lyon, 1569 edition from the German-language original by Lutheran pastor Paul Eber (1511-1569) and Tyrannies et cruautez des Espagnols, an impassioned indictment of Spain's treatment of the New World's native population, written by the Dominican Friar Bartolemé de las Casas (1484-1566), and presented here in a 1582 French translation.

Returning to France and Europe, Collection 12 profiles work by three noted historians from the medieval period, Gregory of Tours (538-594), Jean Froissart (1337-1405) and Enguerrand de Monstrelet (1400-1453). Gregory is included with copies of a Paris, 1561 edition of his best-known work, the Historia Francorum or History of the Franks as it is usually called in English. In turn, Froissart's most famous work, the Chroniques or Chronicles - an influential account of the Hundred Years' War - is represented in a multi-volume 16th-century Anthoine Verard edition. An eye-witness to the English interrogation of the Maid of Orléans, Joan of Arc, Monstrelet's Chroniques covers the latter part of the Hundred Years' War and is presented in a selection of editions including that of Marc Orry from 1603. Later works centring on medieval times include a 1590 copy of Bishop Jean du Tillet's (d.1570) history of the Albigensian Crusade, Sommaire de l'histoire de la guerre faicte contre les heretiques Albigeois, a Rouen, 1658 edition of Gabriel du Moulin's (d.1660) Les conquestes et les trophies des Norman-François, and several volumes returning to the subject of the Hundred Years' War, the siege of Orléans and to the enigmatic figure of Joan of Arc.

Collection 12's coverage of French history truly comes into its own with the abundance of items relating to the venerable histories of the cities and provinces that now make up modern France. These include a Henri Martel, 1696 edition of Antoine de Ruffi's (1607-1689) Histoire de la ville de Marseille, two mid-16th century editions of the poet and chronicler Jean Bouchet's (1476-1557) Les Annales d'Aquitaine and a Rouen, 1631 copy of Gabriel du Moulin's (d.1660) Histoire générale de Normandie. This range of titles also includes ecclesiastical histories such as Vincent Sablon's (1619-1693) Histoire de l'auguste et venerable eglise de Chartres and L'histoire ecclessiastique de la ville d'Abbeville by Jacques Sanson (1596-1665). Another subject area that is generously represented in Collection 12 is that of French monarchy, either at the level of individual reigns or within the context of much broader chronicles. These include Charles IX's official historiographer Bernard de Girard Haillan's (d.1610) Histoire generale des roys de France (Paris, 1627), Bouchet's Les anciennes et modernes genealogies des roys de France (Paris, 1536) and Claude Barbin's late-17th century editions of royal biographies of Charles VIII, Charles IX and Loius XI by Antoine Marillas (1624-1696). Also included is the Scottish Lord Ormond's (d.1592) Histoire abbregée des tous les roys de France, Angleterre et Ecosse (Paris, 1579), as well as lives of less well-known rulers such as Philippa of Guelders (1467-1547), the Duchess consort of Lorraine and great-grandmother to Mary, Queen of Scots.

Moving to more recent history, Collection 12 also features a grouping of titles that reflect on the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598), for example Pierre Matthieu's (1562-1621) Histoire des derniers troubles de France published in Lyon in 1597. Another title, although not directly about these wars, demonstrates once more how distant history could be turned into a commentary on modern times. L'histoire des scismes et heresies des Albigeos (Paris, 1589) by the Catholic lawyer Jean Gay is ostensibly another retelling of the Albigensian Crusade, but written in such a way as to posit an equivalence between medieval heretics and modern-day Protestants. This strategy proved unfortunate for the author in one way at least since a detail of the work - Gay's likening of a many-times-married patron of the Albigensians to the Tudor king Henry VIII - prompted a rebuke from the court of Elizabeth I and constraints were put in place by the French authorities to limit the volume's future republication.

As well as history titles, threaded throughout Collection 12 are works which touch on political matters and governance, either implicitly or explicitly. These include classical texts by the likes of Cicero, Sallust and Seneca, chronologies of French ministries, and memoirs by France's highest officials and generals. Chief among the highlights from these titles are a multi-volume 1663 edition of the Memoires, ou, Oeconomies royales d'estat, domestiques, politiques, et militaires de Henry le Grand by Maximilien de Béthune, the 1st Duke of Sully (1589-1611) and an emblem-book riposte to Machiavelli by the Spanish diplomat Diego de Saavedra Fajardo (1584-1648), originally published in 1640 and translated here into French as Le prince chretien et politique (Paris, 1668).

Consolidating a new phase of thematically linked selections of titles, Collection 12 reflects the sheer wealth of material found in the holdings of France's national library and delivers a richly rewarding addition to Early European Books.

Popular Works

Based on usage analysis of the titles viewed from 2013 to 2015, the top titles on EEB are:

  1. [Panoplia] omnium illiberalium mechanicarum aut sedentariarum artium genera continens quotquot vnquam vel à veteribus aut nostri etiam seculi celebritate excogitari potuerunt breuiter & dilucidè confecta carminum liber primus ...
    by Schopper, Hartmann

  2. Pandora :Das ist, die edlest Gab Gottes, oder der Werde vnd heilsame Stein der Weysen, mit welchem die alten Philosophi, auch Theophrastvs Paracelsvs, die vnvollkommene Metallen durch gewalt des Fewrs verbessertbsampt allerley schedliche vnd ...
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  3. Ethica of zeden-konst, zynde een kennisse syns selvs. By Arnold Geulings. Edited by Filaretus [pseudonym of C. Bontekoe]. Translated by A. de Reus
    by Geulings, Arnold
    943 F 97

  4. Prima pars descriptionis itineris navalis in Indian Orientalem, earvmqve rervm qvæ navibvs Batavis occvrrervnt: vna cvm particvlari enarratione conditionum, morum, œconomiæ populorum, quos adnavigarunt. Præterea de numismatis ...
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  5. Missale Romanum. Ed: Philippus de Rotingo
    by Anon
    Pal. D.7.6.10

  6. Cerebri anatome :cui accessit nervorum descriptio et usus. Accessit viri cujusdam clarissimi [i.e. William Croone's] de ratione motus musculorum tractatus singularis / [Thomas Willis]
    by Willis, Thomas

  7. Ritmi. [segue:] P. Franciscus Tancius Corniger lectori salutem
    by Visconti, Gaspare

  8. [Tractatus theologico-politicus. By Benedictus de Spinoza
    by Spinoza, Benedictus de
    344 J 26

  9. Dasypodius catholicus, hoc est, Dictionarium Latino-Germanico Polonicum, Germanico.Latinum, et Polono-Latino-Germanicum, olim quidem à Petro Dasypodio adornatum, sed post in Academia Coloniensi reformatum, ... Cum appendice nominum propriorum ...
    by Dasypodius, Peter
    CFMAGL. 03.01.008

  10. Dyalogus creaturarum dat is Twispraec der creaturen ...
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Other Project Partners

The Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC)


ProQuest is collaborating with the Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC) at St. Andrews University in Scotland to leverage the USTC to improve access and discoverability of materials essential to researchers of the early modern era.

USTC is a fast-growing, online analytical database of books published from the first age of print through to 1601. The database of 364,000 bibliographical items identifies the physical location of surviving copies throughout the world. In June 2016, USTC coverage will be extended to 1650, doubling the size of the resource. ProQuest will use the database to identify the location of collections that can be digitised and made available to researchers through the continuously growing number of volumes in its Early European Books (EEB) collections.

Created in conjunction with academics specialising in early modern literature, the USTC database is funded by grants, including a recent award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, enabling the project to continue through 2018.

Cataloguing all books relevant to the era, the database records where titles can be found throughout the world - an invaluable aid to ProQuest's ongoing project to identify and preserve these rare resources through digitisation.

ProQuest and USTC have been partners since the inception of the Early European Books project. Users of Early European Books will find that the bibliographic metadata for many items in the collection includes a USTC number in the Bibliographic Number field.

More recently, the USTC have reviewed and standardized the EEB dataset for Collections 1-8 on the following fields:

  • - Place of printing
  • - Language
  • - Year/date range
  • - Region of printing

USTC subject classifications have been added, providing a new, fully searchable component to the EEB platform.

The CERL Thesaurus

This collaborative project by members of the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL, www.cerl.org ), contains forms of imprint places, imprint names, personal names and corporate names found in Early Modern printed books, including variant spellings, forms in Latin and other languages, and pseudonyms. The Thesaurus, comprising more than 700,000 records, has been integrated into the search feature of Early European Books, allowing users to search for modern forms of city names in a variety of languages (Venezia, Venice, Venedig) and return hits for historical and Latin variants, or search for personal names such as Virgil and retrieve hits for 'Virgilius Maro, Publius' or 'Vergilio'.


Dr Paul Ayris, President of the Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche (LIBER):

"LIBER is delighted to be associated with ProQuest's Early European Books project and with the vision to include all imprints from across the whole of Europe between 1475 and 1700. It is a compelling vision and will result in a magnificent tool for European scholarship. LIBER feel that a viable model has been established to create a high-quality resource with huge benefit to scholars, students and beyond"

Cheryl LaGuardia, Library Journal, 04/01/2010:


"How do you rate a product that brings the contents of the great libraries of Europe to your desktop with this kind of precision, quality, and attention to detail? You give it a ten! When completed, EEB is going to fulfill the dreams of scholars around the world. A natural complement to EEBO, this is essential for every library supporting scholarly humanities research".

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Case Studies

Early European Books: From Decision Maker to End-User
A look at how Early European Books is being used in a leading international university.

Using Early European Books
An overview by Dr Edward Wilson-Lee, Fellow in English at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge.

Please note that only English language versions of the case studies are available for download.