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Sunday 13 December 2020

Incunabula period woodcut, “Cloelia Crossing the Tiber on Horseback”, c1505

Unidentified Incunabula period German printmaker (fl.1505)

Cloelia Crossing the Tiber on Horseback”, c1505, illustration to page XXV/XXVI from the series of 234 woodcut illustrations to Livy’s (aka Titus Livius) (59 B.C.–17 A.D.) “Romische Historie vss Tito liuio gezogen”, translated from Latin into German by Bernhard Schöfferlin and Ivo Wittich, published in Mainz by Johann Schöffer (c1475–1531) in 1505.

Regarding Johann Schöffe’s publication, the Curator of the British Museum makes the interesting comment that it is the “most copiously illustrated book in early Mainz printing” (

Woodcut with letterpress German text recto and verso on laid paper, trimmed from a larger page of text. Lifetime impression based on the quality of the line showing no sign of wear to the printing block.

Size: (sheet) 16.6 x 16.3 cm; (image borderline) 11.7 x 14.5 cm.

Letterpress German text above the image borderline: “Wie die Jungfraw Cloelia die mit etlichen anderñdem … (Like the virgin Cloelia with a number of others …).

Google Books offer a view of this print in its context in “Römische Historie” on page XXV:

For those who may be unfamiliar with the portrayed scene, according to legend (as described by Livy), a brave Roman woman, Cloelia, was sent with a group of Roman virgins to the Etruscan king, Lars Porsenna, as hostages in a peace treaty between Rome and the Etruscans. In this scene, Cloelia is shown fleeing the Etruscan camp with a member of her party of virgins on horseback across the Tiber. (For a more complete account see Wikipedia:   

Condition: a richly inked and well-printed near faultless impression in near pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or significant signs of use.

I am selling this exceptionally fine woodcut from the Incunabula period for AU$256 (currently US$192.97/EUR159.26/GBP145.84 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this superbly executed woodcut showing two brave Roman women on horseback escaping the Etruscans by crossing the Tiber, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold 


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