Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana In Qua manuscriptos Codices Syriacos, Arabicos, Persicos, Turcicos, Hebraicos, Samaritanos, Armenicos, Aethiopicos, Graecos, Aegyptiacos, Ibericos, & Malabaricos….. THREE VOLUMES IN FOUR.


Book ID: 4437


Folio. 390 x 264 mm, Volume I: Part I: De Scriptoribus Syris Orthodoxis: [38], 648 pp., [1 errata], lacking engraved frontispiece, Latin and Syriac text / Volume II: De Scriptoribus Syris Monophysitis: [167], 546 pp., [2 errata] / Volume III: De Scriptoribus Syris Nestorianis: [36], 709 pp., Latin, Syriac and Arabic text / Volume III: Part II: De Syris Nestorianis: [32], 963 pp., half-titles, titles printed in red and black with engraved vignette, a few engraved vignettes in the text, double column per page, index, contemporary vellum boards, soiled and worn, with portions of top and bottom spine compartments missing, ink shelf number on spines, Volume 1 front joint cracked, cords intact, Volume 2 spine missing leather lettering piece; occasional browning and marginal damp staining, Bookplates of St. Caroli Borromei, a wide-margined set, Typis Scarae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide, Rome, 1719-1728.


First edition of the author’s magnum opus, a monumental bio-bibliography of Syriac literature based on the manuscript holdings of the Vatican Library. This edition was almost entirely destroyed by fire which broke out in 1768 in Assemani’s apartment near the Vatican Library. The large part of this monumental work was collected by Assemani himself, who returned from a collecting expedition to Egypt and Syria that took place from 1715 to 1717, carrying more than 150 manuscripts, which were placed in the Vatican Library, where they formed the nucleus of the library’s subsequently famous collection of Oriental manuscripts.
Joseph Assemani was one of the Lebanese scholars who studied in Rome, and who had a profound impact on the field of Oriental studies in Europe in the 18th century. Assemani was appointed Prefect, devoting most of his life carrying out an extensive plan for editing and publishing the most valuable Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Persian, Hebrew and Greek manuscripts kept in the Vatican Library. Besides his various publications on a wide range of Oriental subjects, this work is considered his best achievement. It was supposed to contain twenty volumes, of which six were supposed to cover Oriental languages, four Greek and the last ten other languages, but he was only able to finish three volumes before his death. He was succeeded by another member of the Assemani family, Istifan Awad Assemani (1709-1782), who continued cataloguing the manuscripts in the Vatican Library and other libraries in Italy.
Bibliographic reference: Graf III, 451-53.

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