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Original price £1,100.00 - Original price £1,100.00
Original price
£1,100.00 - £1,100.00
Current price £1,100.00

[Ignatius of Loyola, Saint] [Jesuits]: Constitutiones Societatis Iesu cum earum Declarationibus. Romae In Collegio eiusdem Societatis. 1583.

This copy of a landmark edition of the Jesuit Constitutions – with attractive intaglio architectural title page – survives in an early binding and is associated with a notable community of Jesuits. 

The Jesuit Constitutions were primarily written by the founder of this religious order, Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556). The Spanish version was ‘approved by the first general congregation held in 1558, two years after Ignatius’s death, but it was not until 1581 that the official Latin translation came out, submitted to Pope Gregory XIII in 1583 and approved’ (Mostaccio 2014, p. 63). On the basis of the chronology of surviving editions listed in Backer Sommervogel, the present edition is seen as ‘the first printing of the authoritative final recension of the Latin text’ (Quaritch 2006). 

This copy was owned by Jesuits in Genoa, specifically belonging to the House of Probation for novices. The Jesuit community in Genoa was notable especially for its College, which has been described as ‘one of the most prestigious’ of its kind in Italy and later included among its students the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625-1712) (Bernardi 2017, p. 9).


Printed. One volume, 17 x 12.5 cm in binding, octavo, pp. 309 [71]. Final page blank. With engraved title page (shaved). Woodcut decorative initials. Bound in vellum over boards with ink lettering to spine (‘Constit’). ‘Domus Probat[ion]is Genuen[sis] Socis Jesu’ (inscription to title page). Pencil note to rear pastedown.

Condition (textblock): browning (of varying degrees), foxing, and spotting to paper, tear affecting three lines of text on p. 112. Condition (binding): light staining, slight loss and tearing to vellum on spine, early(?) repair to upper left hand corner of front pastedown, old repair to tailband.  

Backer Sommervogel V 77. EDIT 16 CNCE 20779. USTC 832476

Bernardi, Gabriella, ‘Genoa and the College of the Jesuits’, in Bernardi, Giovanni Domenico Cassini: A Modern Astronomer in the 17th Century (Cham: Springer International Publishing AG, 2017). 

Forbes Johnson, Alfred, A Catalogue of Italian engraved title-pages in the sixteenth century (Oxford, printed at the Oxford University Press for the Bibliographical Society, 1936), p. 19 (no. 20 in the ‘Anonymous’ section).

Mostaccio, Silvia, Early Modern Jesuits between Obedience and Conscience during the Generalate of Claudio Acquaviva (1581-1615) (Farnham, Ashgate, 2014), p. 63.

Quaritch; Payne, Anthony; Auvermann, Detlev, The Society of Jesus 1548-1773: A Catalogue of books by Jesuit authors and works relating to the Society of Jesus … (Quaritch, first published in 1996 as Catalogue 1226; this edition 2006), no. 95.