De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus, Torture of Christian Martyrs by Antonio Gallonio


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De SS. martyrum cruciatibus...liber quo potissimum instrumenta, & modi, quibus ijdem Christi martyres olim torquebantur. Rome: Typographia Congregationis Oratorii, A. Zanetti, 1594. Adams G-162; Brunet II, 1468. First Latin edition, second edition overall. 25 full-page woodcut illustrations of torture by Antonio Tempesta. Title with woodcut printer's device, some water-stains and foxing to paper, pages lightly browned, later limp vellum, 19th century red morocco labels to spine, woodcut's mostly unmarked, binding remains strong. Very good example of a rare title. 

'A unique, scholarly work written by Antonio Gallonio examining the various methods of torture undergone by the early Christian martyrs, this gruesome treatise remains one of the most influential sources on the history of human torture. The text is decorated throughout by full- page woodcuts, revealing in detail the instruments and machinery of torture. The result is an unrivalled visceral work on human depravity; a macabre exhibition of antiquated brutality.

Gallonio was a priest of the Oratory whose press printed this and a few other works. He also wrote a history of Roman virgins and several biographies of saints; including St. Philip Neri, the Oratory's founder. However with a deep interest in the Martyrs, Gallonio studied the various methods of abuse they endured, resulting in this fundamental book on the subject. The first edition was published in Italian, 1591. Later Gallonio translated the text into Latin in 1594.'