Boccaccio (Giovanni).Genealogia Deorum

(Venice: Vindelinus de Spira, 1472)

House of Troy

Editio princeps of this first compendium of mythological knowledge, and first critical treatise of the Renaissance. The work was a milestone in the revival of knowledge of the classical past and of the worldly learning held undesirable during the Middle Ages.

Written in 1366, when Boccaccio was travelling on various diplomatic missions, it shows him in his most important role as one of the founders of humanism. This is also the first humanistic wqork to contain quotations in Greek. An outstanding feature of the work is the sequence of genealogical trees, inked in outline and painted, prefacing each book in the volume. The tree for ‘liber sextus’ demonstrates the line of gods descending from Dardanus, mythical ancestor of the Kings of Troy. The work was completed by the Spira brothers, the earliest printers to work in Venice.