First edition of this first translation into French, volume one in the second issue with the renewed title page dated 1660
Compelte copy, with the rare third and last volume, published by the widow after the translator’s sudden death in 1666.
Borba de Moraes, citing a similar copy, is insisting on its rarity : “It is difficult to find all three volumes together“. Even the copy of the famous bibliophile Count Hoym was composed in the same manner (see also the note by Palau).
“The three volumes having been published separately, with different titles, are rarely found together” (Sabin).
The Histoire Générale is the most famous work of the Spanish historian Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas (1549-1626). After completing his studies in Spain, Herrera left for Italy where he became secretary to Vespasien Gonzague (1531-1591) with whom he returned to Spain when the latter was appointed viceroy of Navarre. It was on Vespasien Gonzague’s recommendation that Philip II hired Herrera as the first royal chronicler of the Indies. The Spanish edition comprises eight decades and extends from 1472 until 1554. The French version of Nicolas de La Coste was abruptly interrupted in the third decade (1526) by the death of the translator. Thanks to authentic sources his book is invaluable not only for the study of the history of the first Spanish colonies but it also contains important details concerning the institutions and customs of the peoples of the New World until then unknown.
The work book gives details on the voyages of the great captains (Christopher Columbus, Americo Vespucci), and relates to major events: the discovery of the Rio de la Plata, the entry of Fernando Cortez into the new Spain with his battles, his entry into Mexico City , the discovery of the Philippines, etc.
“Herrera est de tous les auteurs espagnols celui qui a donné le récit le plus exact et le plus circonstancié de la conquête du Mexique et des autres événements de l’Amérique. Le soin avec lequel il a consulté non seulement les livres, mais les papiers originaux et les actes publics qui pouvaient jeter quelque lumière sur l’objet de ses recherches, surtout l’impartialité et la candeur qu’il a mises dans ses jugements, rendent ces décades fort précieuses. On pourrait même le placer parmi les meilleurs historiens de la nation” (Hoefer).
Very good copy, title page of volume II slightly shaved by the binder slightly touching the date.
Provenance: Joseph-Antoine, marquis de Crozat (with his manuscript note on the verso of the title page “ex Bibliotheca D. Crozat”, sale of his collection, 1751, lot 3176).