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Esteve i Joan, Josep: Sacri Rosarii Virginis Mariae ab haereticorum calumniis defensio una cum mysteriis et bullis Romanorum pontificum. Ex typographia Dominici Basae Romae [typis Bartholomaei Bonfadini & Titi Diani] 1584.

First edition of this profusely illustrated work on the rosary, assembled by a native Valencian churchman and scholar living in Rome, Josep Esteve i Joan (1550-1603). Esteve had been a professor of philosophy in Siena and was later bishop of Vieste in southern Italy, and Orihuela in southern Spain.

In the present work, he reveals a strong interest in writers of the ancient eastern church. He includes Latin versions of texts of sermons, on the Annunciation, by Epiphanius of Salamis (Cyprus); on the Nativity, by Proclus of Constantinople; on the Presentation of Christ at the Temple, by Cyril of Jerusalem; on Good Friday, by Athanasius of Alexandria; on the Resurrection, by Gregory of Antioch; on the Ascension, and on Pentecost, by Gregory of Nyssa; on the Dormition of the Virgin Mary by Juvenal of Jerusalem; and on the Lord's Prayer by John Chrysostom. Every part (including these) is preceded by a full-page illustration. Illustrations of note also include the important devotional images for the rosary the Rosario Gaudioso (p. 48) and the Rosario Doloroso (p. 85). A collection of papal bulls in favour of the rosary (147-190) is preceded by a depiction of a pope flanked by kings or princes, sitting before a preacher who dangles a rosary from the pulpit.


One volume, 20.7 cms. x 16.4 cms. in binding, quarto, pp. [12] 209 [1] [2]. With final blank. Signed: *6A-Bb4Cc6. Intaglio title-page and 22 further full-page intaglio illustrations, all unsigned. Roman and italic letter. Woodcut headpieces and initials, typographical decoration. Some soiling and staining, light browning. A touch of worming to outer margin of title-page (blank), also to final blank. Bound in early stiffened vellum, fore edge cover extensions, remains of ties, edges mottled red, covers double-filletted in purple ink, the letter 'I' in manuscript to front cover. Spanish titling to spine. MS shelfmark under remains of paper label to head of spine. Title page with inscription "del convento" (rest crossed out). Ink stamp, to front free endpaper and at colophon, of Biblioteca Bentura, Ejea de los Caballeros.


USTC 828435. CNCE 18322. CCPB000009194-4. OCLC shows three copies outside Europe (UCLA, Cincinnati & Hamilton County Library, and University of Dayton). Copies located in UK at British Library and Bodleian.

For biography see Vittorio Peri, 'Il numero dei concili ecumenici nella tradizione cattolica moderna'. Aevum, 37, fasc. 5/6 (September-December 1963) 430-501, see 461-463.