PRAECLARA FERDINADI CORTESII DE NOVA MARIS OCEANI HYSPANIA NARRATIO.... [bound with:] Martyr, Peter: DE REBUS, ET INSULIS NOVITER REPERTIS...
by [Cortés, Hernando]: [Martyr, Peter]
[Nuremberg: Fridericus Peypus], 1524. ,49,12 leaves. Lacks the map, supplied in expert facsimile, and blank leaf H8. Folio. 18th-century three-quarter vellum and marbled boards, gilt leather label. Bookplate of John Carter Brown on front pastedown, with deaccession stamp. Minor soiling in the text, else very good. The first Latin edition of Cortés' second letter, after its original publication in Seville in 1522. The work was translated by Petrus Savorgnanus. This copy bears the portrait of Pope Clement VII on the verso of the fourth preliminary leaf, which is not found with all copies. Cortés' second letter, dated Oct. 30, 1520, provides a vivid account of the people he encountered and fought en route to Tenochtitlan, painting a picture of an impressive empire centered around a great city. He relates his scrape with rival Velazquez and gives a wonderful description of the buildings, institutions, and court at Tenochtitlan. It is here that Cortés provides a definitive name for the country, calling it "New Spain of the Ocean Sea." This letter is also important for making reference to Cortés' "lost" first letter, supposedly composed at Vera Cruz on July 10, 1520. Whether that letter was actually lost or suppressed by the Council of the Indies is unknown, but there is little doubt it once existed. The text is the first major announcement to the world of the discovery of major civilizations in the New World, and as such is a work of surpassing importance. As usual, the second letter is here bound with Peter Martyr's DE REBUS, ET INSULIS NOVITER REPERTIS..., which provides an account of the recently discovered islands of the West Indies and their inhabitants. It is often considered a substitute for the lost first Cortés letter. One of the most important early descriptions of Mexico and the first encounter of the West with the Aztec civilization, and a work of bedrock importance to the New World. No complete copy has appeared for sale since 1985. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 524/5. SABIN 16947. HARRISSE BAV 125. SANZ 933-934. MEDINA BHA 70. CHURCH 53. WINSOR 2:404. BURDEN 5. VALLE 11. JCB GERMAN AMERICANA 524/4. STREETER SALE 190. STREETER, AMERICANA-BEGINNINGS 7.
(Inventory #: WRCAM32873B)
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