HARANGUES ET ORAISONS DES ANCIENS, in French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM\n\n[Paris, c.1530]\n400 x 200mm. 166 leaves: 110, 2-208, 214, COMPLETE, with signature marks a-x in the centre lower margin of the rectos of the first half of each gathering, 40 lines written in brown ink in a semi-cursive bookhand between 2 verticals and 41 horizontals ruled in pink, justification: 244 x 135mm, one-line initials of liquid gold on grounds of red or blue, line-endings of similar colours, each 'Harangue' opening with a four- or five-line illuminated initial of gold and colours of varying forms, including architectural, foliate or zoomorphic staves, FULL-PAGE FRONTISPIECE MINIATURE IN ARCHITECTURAL FRAME. 16th-century green velvet, brass pins and enamelled brass clasps with the arms of Franois II, duc de La Rochefoucauld and his wife Anne of Polignac, boards replaced by the Bibliothque nationale in Paris in 1879.\n\nA RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPT FROM THE LIBRARY OF ANNE DE POLIGNAC, IN ITS ORIGINAL BINDING, AND OFFERED WITH RARE INCUNABLE FRAGMENTS\n\nPROVENANCE:\n\n1. Anne de Polignac, wife of Franois II, comte de la Rochefoucauld: their arms on the enamelled clasps. Anne, the widow of the comte de Sancerre married Franois in 1528. She was renowned for her discrimination and dignity. After the sumptuous reception she had given to Charles V and two sons of Franois 1er at her chteau at Verteuil in 1539, the emperor reported that he had 'jamais entr en maison qui sentt mieux sa grande vertu, honntet et seigneurie que celle-l'. It was in Verteuil that Anne had her library and an inventory of 1728 shows that at least part of it remained there until the 18th century. In 1879 Labitte offered 36 manuscripts from her library for sale: Catalogue de manuscrits prcieux des XIIIe, XVe et XVIe sicles. The present manuscript was item 25. Lopold Delisle of the Bibliothque Nationale had noticed that the bindings of several had boards made from 15th-century printers' waste that provided singular evidence for early printing in Angoulme\n\n2. Duc de Rohan: letter of Lopold Delisle 26 March 1879 identifying the origin of the manuscripts in the Labitte sale\n\n3. Comte Ernest Armand: buyer at the Labitte sale. Bibliothque nationale conservators reclaimed the fragments not only from the volumes acquired by the library but also from the volumes of other purchasers. A wrapper inside the upper cover of the manuscript contains five letters from 26 March to 15 April 1879 written by Delisle to Comte Armand requesting, and then thanking him for, his cooperation. These are accompanied by fragments of incunables that were recovered.\n\nEARLY PRINTING IN ANGOULME:\n\nThe fragments recovered from the binding comprise the first two gatherings of Questiones super minorem donatum (GW 11188; CIBN Q-8) and the second, third and parts of the fifth and sixth gatherings of Auctores octo (GW 2777; CIBN A-646), both texts printed in Angoulme, in 1492 and 1491 respectively, by Pierre Alain and Andr Cauvin. The Questiones, a complete copy of which Delisle was able to assemble from various Anne de Polignac bindings, was previously unknown. The editions represented by these fragments are very rare; the Auctores octo is recorded in three copies only, one of which is incomplete, and the Questiones is known only through the Anne de Polignac fragments.\n\nDelisle gives a full account of the recovery and the significance of these rare incunables in 'La Bibliothque d'Anne de Polignac et les origines de l'imprimerie Angoulme', Mlanges de palographie et de bibliographie (Paris, 1880), pp.305-350. He ends his discussion with the hope that by preserving the memory of the collection of Anne de Polignac he will have assured her 'une place d'honneur sur la liste des grandes dames qui ont aim et encourag les lettres et les arts au temps de Franois 1er.\n\nCONTENT:\n\nHarangues et oraisons des anciens ff.2-165: one hundred speeches and orations from antiquity opening with the Corcyrian appeal to Athens for assistance against Corinth in 435 BC, and closing with Titus Manlius Torquatus's opposition in 216 BC to ransoming the Romans taken prisoner at Cannae. These examples of ancient oratory and rhetoric are followed on ff.165v-166 by an item of more topical significance: the ultimatum sent on 14 June 1522 by Suleiman II, the Magnificent, to Villiers de l'Isle Adam, Grand Master of the Knights of St John on Rhodes. Suleiman demanded that the island and castle should be given over to the jurisdiction of his officers, promising security to the Knights with their households and goods if they complied but threatening that otherwise 'Et si vous ne vous voulez Rendre de bon gre nous revolterons vos fondemens en maniere q ce qui dessus sera par dessoubz vous ferons esclaux et vous ferons mourir avecques la volunte de dieu comme avons faict a plusieurs et de ce ne faicte doubte'. The Knights' refusal and their heroic resistance in the face of extraordinary odds resulted in a siege of five months' duration, which became one of the most celebrated in history.\n\nILLUMINATION:\n\nThe imposing frontispiece occupies the entire folio and shows a dozen men in discussion in a renaissance council chamber. The style is consistent with it having been painted in Paris and it can be compared to the presentation miniature in the copy of Erasmus's Institutio principis christiani (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Ms Tanner 9) given to Louis of Orlans, duc de Longueville around 1530.