2 letter ..Portuguese Jesuit in India/ East Indies 106


Description: Unique first dated edition of letter from Portuguese Jesuit in India and the East Indies

[MAGAGLIANES, Diego di].
Avvisi nuovi et certezza della parte di mezzo giorno. Dove s'intende tre infideli Rè della fede Mahomettana convertiti, & battezzati con li suoi regni, & venuti alla nostra Christiana fede.

Florence, 16 February 1571. Small 8vo (15 x 10.5 cm). Sewn in later stiff paper wrappers. With the large woodcut coat of arms of Pope Pius V (74 x 62 mm). [8] pp.

Apparently unique Florence edition (the first dated edition, published at most a few months after the first Rome edition) of a letter written from "Isola della Madera" in "India" on 17 August 1570 by a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, named in the second paragraph of the letter itself and again on A3r. On the last page he refers to his friend Father Gaspar Egidio (Giles or Aegidianus). He gives an account of missionary work in the East Indies, India and possibly elsewhere (some of the place names are difficult to identify) from August 1569 to January 1570 and particularly of the conversion of three Kings from Islam to Christianity. The first was the King of Manado, clearly meaning the northernmost tip of Sulawesi/Celebes in the East Indies, and the letter tells of further work among the nearby "Cauripa" (Kaidipan) and in "Battachina" (Halmahera or part of it) across the Maluku Sea near Ternate. Magaglianes then passes to Goa in India, including "terre di Salsette" (Salcette), so it was apparently in India that the "gran Re di Porcada" was converted, though we have found no such place in that region. Finally comes the conversion of the "Re di Cocin", probably not Cohin China (southernmost Vietnam) but Kochi on the south-west coast of India.
Magaglianes or Magalhaens (d. 1574) worked as a missionary in the East Indies from 1561. Perhaps he wrote from Madeira on his way home to Portugal, but it is odd that he places it in "India" so "Madera" may mean some island in the East Indies or India. The letter is said to actually be a conflation of three letters by three different Jesuit missionaries, published in Nuovi avisi dell' India, Rome, [1570] (New York Public Library's description of the French edition, in WorldCat, citing Streit, Bibliotheca missionum IV, 944).
The present unrecorded edition of Magaglianes's letter collates 8vo: A4 = 4 leaves. Its imprint reads "Stampata in Roma, & ristampata in Fiorenza" so it clearly copied an earlier edition in Rome. If the transcriptions in online catalogues are accurate there were two undated editions, both published by Giovanni Gigliotti, but we have located only four copies counting both together. It was translated into French as Nouveaux advertissemens tres certains, venus du pays des Indes Meridionales, Paris, Jean Dallier, 1571, and into German at Dillingen in the same year (VD16 W 439). It made a deep impression all over Europe.
In good condition, with the title-page very slightly abraded, minor foxing and a faint marginal water stain not approaching the text.
Nijhoff, General catalogue 293 (1899), 221 "Très rare"(likely this copy); cf. De Backer & Sommervogel V, col. 307 (1609 French ed.); EDIT 16 (1 copy of undated Rome ed.); ICCU (1 copy of same undated Rome ed.); WorldCat (1 copy of different(?) undated Rome ed., and later eds.); (1571 Paris ed.).
  • Number: 1060558 (98NB1FC3E9X8)
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum