Plantin types in Mexico – Perhaps the earliest instance of an entire volume dedicated to a Classical Author

Cicero, Marcus Tullius (106-43 B.C.); Soarez, Cypriano de, S.J. (1524-1593)

M. Tullii Ciceronis, orationes duodecim selectae.

Mexico: Juan Joseph Guillena Carrascoso, 1693


Octavo: 14.1 x 9.8 cm. [10 of 12], 228, [84 of 86] pages. Collation: π6 (-π5), A-Z4, Aa-Ee4, F1; a8-e8 (-b1), f4 (-f4 presumed blank). Lacks two printed leaves.


Bound in contemporary vellum, minor wear; lacking endpapers, early inscription on title page crossed out, minor worming in the gutter not affecting the text save for one or two catchwords, last leaf with small losses in the gutter, affecting a few letters; Lacking leaf π5 and b1. EXTREMELY RARE: Only one other copy traced (BN Mexico). Medina gives, erroneously, the date of the first licencia as 1623. 

I have been unable to identify any earlier instance of an entire volume, printed in Mexico, exclusively dedicated to the work of a classical author. A long Spanish introduction by the printer places the work under the protection of Saint Joseph to find a broad readership. Among the orations included are Catliniarians I and II and Philippics I and IX. The work concludes with the "Compendium Rhetoricum" of Cypriano de Soarez, S.J. (1524-1593.)

Plantin types:

The printer Juan José Guillena y Carrascoso was active in Mexico from 1694 to 1707 using the imprint "Imprenta Plantiniana". In the preliminaries to his edition of twelve orations of Cicero there is a poem in which specific reference is made to the use of Plantin types.

"In Laudem Typographi"

Plantiniana tuis premitur dum littera praelis, 

Claret et obscuris, oblita charta, notis:

Dum graphica, Guillena, nitent compagine libri,

Et sunt integra reddita verba fide:

Dum superas Lyncas acie, nam iota, nec unus

Praeterit a iusta lege pusillus apex:

Dum typus invitat grata novitate decorus;

Dumque characterum stat speciosus honos:

Alliciunt (fateor) supra numerata libenter;

Et nitidos guadet scriptor adire lares:

Praela voluminibus gemitus dant ordine pressis:

Fervet opus: splendet pagina, charta, liber.

Ec quis non properet sapiens tua praela requirens?

Quis poterit stabiles inde referre pedes?

It sapiens quicumque tuos cupit, ante, penates,

Post dominum visum, quisque redibit amans.

Iberian Books: IB 72593 (locating BN Mexico only); Medina, Mexico 1541; Palau 54374. USTC, no. 5109223