JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 498
Phillippe Labbe (1607-1677), a contemporary of the savant's savant, Athanasius Kircher, and was himself a prodigious polymath, produced this fantastic piece of scholarship, the Bibliotheca Bibliothecarum...accedit bibliotheca nummaria. He was a member of the Society of Jesus, like Kircher (which whom he also shared similar birth and aeath dates, Kircher's being 1601-1680); and was born in the town of Borges, France, which gives him an almost invisible connection to one of the 20th century's most imaginative/flexible writers in the great blind librarian of Argentina. This book, published in Leipzig in 1682 as the second edition of the 1662 first, is the earliest extant work of bibliography of bibliographies (it also has a very useful work on numismatics, as we can see from the last part of the title.) Gathering the data necessary to produce this work was a prodigious undertaking--Labbe needed to have had access to fine libraries to assemble the data, then of course he needed the brain to handle all of the disparate and erudite areas of learning, and then be smart enough to organize it all. This was an enormous accomplishment in 1682--with the stuff that Labbe had floating around in his brain and the reasonable aspect of disseminating it, Labbe would've been a National Treasure to whichever country he would call "home".
I haven't seen the title page of this book for many years, and my memory of it had these three bibliophiles holding drinks in the air--but I'm wrong, unfortunately. The scholar on the left is weighing something, the scholar o the right is pointing to a book, and I not exactly sure what scholar-middle is doing. One thing for certain though is that these men are not drinking. Somehow I'd've preferred a few rounds with all of that scholarly/scientific bric-a-brac strewn on the table, but it was not to be.
Some of Labbe's selected works include:
- Trirocinium Linguæ Græcæ etc. (1648)
- La Géographie royale (1646)
- De Byzantinæ historiæ scriptoribus, etc. (1648)
- Concordia sacræ et profanæ chronologiæ annorum 5691 ab orbe condito ad hunc Christi annum 1638 (1638)
- Bibliotheca antijanseniana (1654)
- Bibliotheca bibliothecarum (1664)
- Sancrosancti Oecumenici Tridentini Concilii . . . canones et decreta (1667)
- Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta