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CRESCENTIO, Pietro

Opera di agricoltura. Nellaqual si contiene a che modo si debbe coltivar la terra: seminare, inserire gli alberi, governar li giardini e gli horti. . .   Venice: [Li heredi di Joanne Padouano], [1553].

8vo. 335, [8] ff. (240-257 mi With historiated woodcut initials, printer's device on recto of last leaf. Later vellum, manuscript title on spine; minor paper repairs throughout, one leaf restored. Contemporary annotations. $5,500.00

An extremely rare edition (only five copies located) of what was the first agronomic treatise of the middle ages, the original printing of which appeared in Augsburg in 1471. Crescentio was "seventy years of age when he undertook to write, in Latin, a sort of Gentleman's Recreation or Maison Rustique, in twelve books, crammed with information of all kinds likely to be of use to the gentleman farmer." His compendium of agriculture and husbandry provide the botanical background needed for raising crops, and includes topics ranging from water supply, apiculture, the building of granaries and the cultivation of grains. In addition, he discusses arboriculture and horticulture, the hunting and trapping wild animals, the medicinal uses of plants, as well as the diseases of animals, and domestic hygiene. Chapter IV, is devoted to viticulture, wine and the preservation of grapes and raisins. Chapter VIII, which covers gardens, served as a model for many sixteenth and seventeenth century gardening books. The final chapter is a well organized manual of procedure, detailing everything that needs to be done monthly in the orchard, farm and field. The immense value of this work was recognized immediately; Charles V, King of France, first ordered this book to be translated into French in 1373. Since then, it has gone through numerous editions and translations into several languages.

Crescentio (1230-1320) is considered the father of agronomic science in Italy. He studied both law and medicine at the University of Bologna, and held several political offices in Italy.


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