First edition, second issue, of the first bibliography of Portuguese law. Though this is the true first edition recorded by Innocêncio, a prior issue, dated 1780, exists, which is distinguished by three instead of five preliminary leaves. The author chose to include, in both issues, material deemed offensive to the Real Mesa Censória, the central body established in Portugal in 1768 to govern the moral content of books and papers, and anyone who purchased copies of either book was obliged to return them or face consequences.2 Aragão, who received his bachelor's in law from the University of Coimbra, was the author of three other books, including a history of natural jurisprudence in 1771. The present work, The Modern Demetrius, his final and greatest, was years in preparation, and was the last word on Portuguese legal bibliography for nearly two centuries, till 1956's massive Catálogo dos livros de direito. A fine, unrestored copy in its original state.
Lisbon: Lino da Silva Godinho, 1781. Octavo
, 190 x 114 x 24 mm (binding), 187 x 111 x 20 mm (text block). π5, A-N8, O4; , 216 pp. Bound in contemporary mottled calf, full gilt back, titled on spine in second compartment demet | moder. Interior
: Leaves toned, small burn mark on half-title and title, damp affecting tail half of gatherings L thru N (24 leaves), soiling passim.
Provenance: A few modern booksellers' penciled notations to endleaves.
Innocêncio, Francisco da Silva. Diccionario bibliographico portuguez: estudos. Lisbon: 1858. Volume 1, p 95. Grande Enciclopédia Portuguesa e Brasileira, Volume III, pp. 62-3. One will notice on the title page of the Demetrio Moderno a license to print and publish granted by the same body. One wonders who was in charge there.