COVID-19 Update

October 20, 2020: Biblio is open and shipping orders. Read more here.

Skip to content

Biblio logo: Used, Rare and Collectible Books for Sale

SERMONES SUPER CANTICA CANTICORUM by GILBERTUS DE HOILANDIA - FIRST EDITION - 16 April 1485 - from Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts (SKU: CEH1924)


Click for full-size.



  • Used
  • First
See description
Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
McMinnville, Oregon
Item Price:
$14.00 shipping to USA
Standard Delivery: 2 to 7 days

More Shipping Options
Ask Seller a Question

Payment Methods Accepted

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Paypal

About This Item

Florence: Nicolaus Laurentii, Alamanus, 16 April 1485. FIRST EDITION. 253 x 185 mm. (10 x 7 1/4"). [160] leaves, complete with first and last blank. Single column, 34 lines, roman type. Near contemporary vellum over pasteboards, smooth spine with ink lettering. First page with initials struck in red and a seven-line initial in red. Verso of front blank and head of first page of text with later ink inscriptions in Italian; one page with extensive but very neat early marginalia, occasional ink underlining and shoulder notes in an early hand. Goff G-304; BMC VI, 630; ISTC ig00304000; Encyclopedia of Christian Literature II, pp. 333-34. Vellum somewhat soiled and worn through in a few places (some loss along edges), boards tending to splay and with perhaps a dozen tiny wormholes, one opening slightly foxed, occasional trivial marginal smudges or spots, but still A FINE COPY INTERNALLY, clean and quite fresh throughout, with ample margins, and in a sound unsophisticated binding. This is quite a well-preserved copy of a collection of 46 sermons exploring in a scholarly way the allegorical themes and meanings of the Song of Songs, inspired by the unfinished work of Bernard of Clairvaux. St. Bernard (d. 1153) admitted his friend and disciple Gilbert of Hoylandia (d. 1172) to the Cistercian order he had founded, and by 1163 our author rose to the position of abbot of Swinestead Abbey in his native Lincolnshire, which he helped to transition from the Savigny to the Cistercian Order. One of the most revered figures of the 12th century monastic revival, St. Bernard devoted much of his scholarship to the Song of Songs, attributed to King Solomon, considered to be the greatest surviving love poem of the pre-Classical era. Beautiful and sensuous, the Canticle has long inspired debate over its origins and meaning--is it an erotically charged work of earthly love, or a divinely inspired allegory of the relationship between God and man? Bernard, unsurprisingly, took the latter view, and wrote a renowned and influential commentary on its meaning, which was left incomplete on his death. Gilbert continued his master's work, producing these 46 "sermons," which may be more properly described as scholarly arguments. Mabillon considered Gilbert's work the equal of Bernard's for persuasion, elevation, and ardor. German printer Nicolaus, or Nicolas, Laurentii had been working in Florence from at least 1477, and according to the BMC "must have been busily employed." He was one of the earliest printers working with copper plates, as demonstrated by his most famous book, an edition of Dante with illustrations by Botticelli. The present work is quite rare in the marketplace: RBH and ABPC list just one copy of our first printing at auction since 1980.


Review this book and you'll be entered for a chance to win $50!

(Log-in or create an account first!)

You're rating the book as a work, not the seller or the specific copy you purchased!


Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
Book condition
Quantity available
Nicolaus Laurentii, Alamanus
Place of Publication
Date published
16 April 1485

Terms of Sale

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

30 day return guarantee, with full refund including shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged.

  • Does the default shipping charge seem high? If so, please contact us by email at for a shipping charge tailored to your order and location. You may also call us at (800) 962-6666 in the US or (503) 472-0476 outside the US, Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm US Pacific time or leave us a message.
  • For all orders outside the US and Canada, please contact us for shipping charges before completing your order.
  • If you complete your order before you receive a shipping quote, we will need to contact you to get additional funding to cover the cost of shipping before we can ship your items.
  • Except in the cases of items priced at $100 or less (for which we charge a small handling fee), we wish only to pass along actual carrier charges to our customers. The constraints of this website force us to assume that each purchase is both heavier and further away than average, so we would be pleased to adjust the charges to reflect actual weights and locations.

About the Seller

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2006
McMinnville, Oregon
Ask Seller a Question

About Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books an Manuscripts was established in 1978 on a ping pong table in a basement in Kalamazoo, Michigan. From the beginning, its founder was willing to sell a range of material (both because this approach made the work more educational than otherwise and because it gave him a good excuse for not being an expert in any particular specialty). Over the years, the business has gravitated toward historical artifacts that are physically attractive in some way--illuminated material, fine bindings, books printed on vellum, fore-edge paintings, beautiful typography and paper, impressive illustration. Today, the company still sells a wide range of things, from (scruffy) ninth century leaves to biblical material from all periods to Wing and STC imprints to modern private press books to artists' bindings. While we are forgiving about condition when something is of considerable rarity, we always try to obtain the most attractive copies possible of whatever we offer for sale.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]
Vellum is a sheet of specialty prepared skin of lamb, calf, or goat kid used for binding a book or for printing and writing. ...[more]
Generally refers to minor discoloration or staining.
Marginalia, in brief, are notes written in the margins, or beside the text of a book by a previous owner.  This is very...[more]
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...[more]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...[more]
Foxing is the age related browning, or brown-yellowish spots, that can occur to book paper over time. When this aging process...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]

Frequently Asked Questions

This Book’s Categories