(Rome: Giovanni Generoso Salomoni, 1768). 295 x 200 mm. (11 1/2 x 8"). XXIV, 354,  pp.
EXCELLENT CONTEMPORARY ROMAN TAN MOROCCO, GILT, WITH THE ARMS OF CLEMENT XIV, covers with elaborate gilt frame and lavish cornerpieces of acanthus leaves exploding from a Grecian urn, papal arms at center on a red morocco onlay, surrounded by gilt foliage and topped with the keys of St. Peter and the papal crown, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with acanthus leaf centerpieces and corners, gilt titling, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With wood-engraved allegorical headpieces and historiated initials. ◆Joints and extremities slightly rubbed, a dozen or so tiny wormholes to spine and joints, arms on lower cover a bit abraded and with longitudinal worming (slight losses to leather and gilt), but the unsophisticated original binding with no significant wear, and shining with gilt. Half a dozen quires with faint overall browning, otherwise an extremely fine copy internally, the text remarkably clean, fresh, and bright.
To anyone except animal lovers and church historians, the text here could seem inconsequential, but the binding--of substantial size and lavishly decorated with gilt--is an intriguing artifact of the transition between two papacies. In the text, the bishop of Ferentino, a diocese in the province of Rome under direct supervision of the Holy See, reports on a synod during which the clergy discussed matters concerning the Catholic faith, the Sacraments, the members of the clergy, and miscellaneous diocesan events and observances. There are 12 appendices, most of which might seem dull to us, but one of which addresses the curious issue of the correct form for blessing horses and other animals. Seven of the appendices are in Italian, presumably to make them accessible to nuns, brothers, and parish priests who had no Latin. The report was originally addressed to and bound for Clement XIII (Carlo della Torre di Rezzonico), but after his death in early 1769 and the election of his successor, who took the name Clement XIV, an additional "I" was added to "Clement XIII" on the title page (it is slightly larger than the other "I's") and the arms of the new pope were pasted on the covers over those of his predecessor. One can still just make out the vague outline, in places, of the earlier pope's arms under the superimposed leather. Clement XIV (born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, 1705-74) had a brief and turbulent tenure as pope (1769-74), during which he fought desperately to keep peace between the Church and the most powerful monarchs in Europe. One of the concessions he was forced to make in that effort--something for which he was much criticized—was the suppression of the Jesuits. (ST18627)