not before 1469] · [Mainz
Scholars have pondered and theorized about the printing history of "The Mainz Catholicon" for decades. For a long time it was thought that the Catholicon was printed in 1460 and very possibly by Gutenberg, but this view has changed. As the notes for its ISTC record observe: "Three issues can be distinguished in spite of identical typesetting: a) printed on vellum or Bull's Head paper; b) on Galliziani paper; c) on Tower & Crown paper. This has given rise to the theory that issue a) was printed in 1460, issue b) in 1469 and issue c) about 1472; see P. Needham, in BSA 76 (1982) pp. 395–456 and the articles 'zur Catholicon-Forschung' in Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte 13 (1988) pp.105–232. For an alternative theory that all three states were printed about 1469, see L. Hellinga in G[uten]b[erg] J[ahr]b[uch]1989 pp. 47–96 and in the Book Collector (Spring 1992) pp. 28–54."
In March of 1286 Balbus, a Dominican friar, completed this study of five aspects of the Latin language: orthography, prosody, grammar, etymology, and rhetoric. Four-fifths of the work is devoted to etymology, making it more a dictionary than any other type of reference book, but it did provide a one-volume reference work for the study of Latin. It was most definitely => the dictionary most used by Boccaccio, Petrarch, and other writers of the early Renaissance.
The present leaf is unwatermarked, so we do not know to which issue it belongs. It is printed in double-column format, using a small font used here for the first time and cast in imitation of a fine semicursive Gothic hand, with 66 lines per column. => It is nicely rubricated with numerous small initials and pilcrows.
Goff B20; HC 2254*; Stillwell, Gutenberg and the Catholicon of 1460; IGI 1154; BMC, I, 39; GKW 3182. Removed and with irregular margins. Very good. (Inventory #: 38154)