New Library acquisition: Genealogiae Ioannis Boccatii

Author: Tracy Bergstrom

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has recently acquired the following item:

Genealogiae Ioannis Boccatii: cum demonstrationibus in formis arborum designatis.  Venice, Bonetus Locatellus for Octavianus Scotus, 1494.  First illustrated edition with 13 woodcuts of genealogical trees.


More than 700 gods inhabit the Genealogia deorum gentilium, Boccaccio’s encyclopedia of pagan myths.  The earliest manuscript copy of the text, perhaps an autograph of Boccaccio himself, contains drawn and colored genealogical trees at the head of each of the first 13 books to illustrate the complex relationships between various individuals (Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, ms. Plut. 52.9).  While the text had appeared four times in print prior to this edition, first in Venice in 1472, this is the first time illustrations were included in accordance with the manuscript tradition.

Several early editions of the Genealogia, including this one, printed it together with De montibis.  This geographical compendium alphabetically lists mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes drawn from classical authors.