Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First printing of rules for the lottery game Chronicon Cameracense et Atrebatense, sive historia utrisque ecclesiae, III libris, ab hinc DC sere annis conscripta. Nunc primum in luce edita, & notis illustrata Per G. Colvenerius.
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Book Description: Douay, Ioan. Bogarde, 1615., 1615. Sm.8vo. Contemp. vellum. With engraved printer's vignette on title, 9 engraved illustrations of seals and dice in text, and 3 large folding plates, 2 in woodcut and 1 engraved, showing three different playing boards for a lottery game. (40), 601, (1 blank, 16) pp. Rare first edition of a medieval chronicle of Cambray and Arras, containing also the first printed description and illustration of a lottery game, invented by Wibold, a French divine from Cambray who died in 965. Inspired by the "Rythmomachia" or "Philosophical Game" of Pythagoras, the game was called by Wibold "Ludus regularis seu clericalis", but it was also known as "Alea regularis contra alea secularis". It was played with a dice with letters instead of numbers and a playing board with the names of 56 virtues arranged in squares around the centre. At the end of the book 3 different playing boards are shown to play the game, two with square boards to be played with dice, and one circular board to be played as a wheel of fortune with a turning pointer in the middle. On verso of the two woodcut plates explanatory text is present, and the game is extensively explained in chapter 88 of the first book, pp. 143 ff., and is further discussed in the notes at the end, on pp. 461 ff. The folding plates, sizes ca. 42 x 37 cm, were meant to be cut and mounted and to be actually played with, including the engraved figures of dice, which should also be cut and used in practise. In the text the list of names of the virtues and the figures on the dice are given as well. The chronicle itself is of interest too, written by the French historian Balderic the Red, bishop of Noyon and Tournay. The work presents numerous accounts of scholarly research and curious historical details, covering the period from Clovis to 1090. The author died in 1097. But the most important is today the first description and illustration of the lottery game in print, which according to the inventor could be used at schools or played for charity. The importance of this chronicle was discovered in 1834 by Le Glay, who published a new text-edition based on three manuscipts, and in the preface he discussed and explained the lottery game found in it. This new Latin edition then was also translated into French in 1836, by Faverot and Petit. But our copy is from the very rare early 17th century 'editio princeps'. Good copy, with ms. note on bottom of title: "Dono Compilatoris".- (Old owner's ms. notes on first blank; sl. browned; sl. traces of use). Brunet I, 621; Graesse I, 260; cf. Introduction to the new edition by Le Glay, Cambray & Paris, 1834; NUC lists one copy only. Bookseller Inventory # 17310

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