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Silenos de Alçibiades (The Sileni of Alcibiades).

Erasmus of ROTTERDAM (Author)

Bernardo PÉREZ (Translator)

Jorge Costilla (Printer)

Origin: Valencia, XVI c.
Biblioteca Nacional de España.

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ISBN 13:
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Facsimile. Old Books. Collection of Incunabula and Old Books.

14 x 20 cm.
21+3 crd.
42+6 crd.
4th September 1529.
17th May 2002.
Parchment on wooden board.
Presentation dust jacket cloth lined with gold engraved leather spine containing facsimile.
Numbered by notary and signed by the printer-publisher.
Specially made laid paper.
Optional: Study in Spanish: author yet to be determined. Included in
Bibliofilia Antigua IX.
Gothic script in three font sizes. Apostille (notes) in the margins. Printer's watermark at the end. Many everyday figures (factotum) and xylographic engravings of different sizes. Unnumbered sheet.

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No one better than Marcel Bataillon in his Erasmus and Spain to tell us about the book of the great humanist. He says (and very well) literally copied:

"In 1529, the Master Bernardo Pérez... published in Valencia his translation of the Silenos de Alçibiades. This witty essay, part of the Adagios treasure, circulated for a long time. In the platonic Symposium, Alcibiades compares the rustic coating of the great Socrates, with those boxes that showed outside the face of Sileno; but in which were kept, as the author of Gargantua says, “fine medicines, precious stones and other precious items”. The image, famous amongst the wise men, served as a starting point for Erasmus. Other philosophers such as Diogenes and Epictetus hid their wisdom under their humble clothing. Erasmus however, as you can guess, is elevated to the same level as Christ, an image of supreme wisdom, which gets rid of all pomp and is covered by humility; Saint John the Baptist and the Apostles are also Silenos in their way. The stories of the Old Testament, the parables of the New Testament, force us to see through the appearances and be surprised by the divine secret. However, inversely, one must know when to spot fake grandeur, discover a tyrant masked by royalty, the warrior or the business man under the Episcopal vestments, the sensual man and full of passions under the friars' vests, the bandits who used the name of a 'just war', the preparation for war under the beautiful name of peace.  Finally, the true Church must be found ( the community of the faithful), behind the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

The translator softened (and censured) Erasmus' text: "Atenuación de las críticas contra la Iglesia jerárquica y los frailes, exaltación del sentimiento de la gracia que renueva los corazones: tales son, decididamente, los dos aspectos complementarios de la metamorfosis que sufre el pensamiento de Erasmo en tierra española" (“Minimising the criticisms against the church's hierarchy, friars, exaltation of Grace which renews the hearts: those are, decidedly, two side aspects of metamorphosis, which Erasmus' thinking takes in Spanish land”). Bataillon dixit.


IBIC Rating:

AC History of art / art & design styles
ACN History of art & design styles: c 1400 to c 1600
ACND Renaissance art
AFF Drawing & drawings
AFH Prints & printmaking
AFJ Other graphic art forms
AFT Decorative arts
DNF Literary essays
DSBD Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
HBJD European history
HBLC Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500
HBLC1 Medieval history
HBLH Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700
HPCB Western philosophy: Medieval & Renaissance, c 500 to c 1600
HPQ Ethics & moral philosophy
HRA Religion: general
HRAX History of religion
HRC Christianity
HRCC2 Church history
HRCC7 Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholic Church
HRCG Biblical studies & exegesis
HRCM Christian theology
WCS Antiques & collectables: books, manuscripts, ephemera & printed matter

1D Europe
1DDN Netherlands
1DSE Spain
1DSET Valenciana, Autonomous Community
2ADS Spanish
3JB c 1500 to c 1600