Préjano. Luzero. Salamanca, 1499

Bishop of Coria (c. 1420–1495).
Luzero de la vida cristiana.
Salamanca: [Printer of Nebrissensis, ‘Gramática’], 24 March 1499. (06721)

King Ferdinand I invited the Bishop of Coria to write the Luzero de la vida cristiana (“Morning Star of the Christian Life”) in order to “expel the darkness of ignorance” in Spain, particularly among Jews and Muslims who had endured forced conversion to Christianity. Printed in six Spanish editions beginning in 1493, the Luzero drew its theological lessons from meditations on the life and ministry of Christ. However, because it embroidered Christ’s life with non-Biblical episodes, the Luzero was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books published at Valladolid in 1559.

Bridwell Library holds the only recorded copy of this Salamanca edition of 1499. Although it has been attributed to the anonymous printer of Antonio de Nebrija’s Gramática (a book that utilized the same type), examination reveals that its large initial S comprised of sea serpents is from the same block used by Juan de Porras in Salamanca in 1506. First recorded as a bookseller at Seville in 1491, Porras established a printing partnership at Monterrey in 1494 before moving to Salamanca, where he published several editions between 1500 and 1516. The appearance of his serpentine initial in Bridwell’s Luzero of 1499 strongly suggests that the book was printed by (or for) Porras. The book also features a full-page woodcut of Christ on the Cross, based on an engraving by Martin Schongauer (c. 1450–1491).

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Printing in Spain
Préjano. Luzero. Salamanca, 1499