Early editions of «Historia Naturalis» by Plinius Maior in Saint Petersburg: An account of libraries and bibliophiles

Pliny’s «Natural History» is a literary work that has been transmitted through the ages since it was firstly published. Incunabula are an outstanding part of its transmission, and twelve of them can be found in libraries of Saint Petersburg (the Russian National Library and the Library of the Academy of Sciences). In addition, there are ca. 60 editions dated to the first half of the sixteenth century. Careful search of owners’ records and any other indications of this kind – in order to get to know the “history” of these texts since they were printed – connects them with bibliophiles and humanists, such as the Zaluskis, B. V. Nikolski, and F. A. Tolstoi. Some gaps in the transmission can be filled in with the role played by other collections (Suchtelen, Schwarz), monasteries (e. g., the Carmelites), and individuals: information concerning them is kept in the incunabula.

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