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Monday 21 June 2021

Incunabula period woodcut, “Siege of Abydos”, 1505

Unidentified Incunabula period German printmaker (fl.1505)

Siege of Abydos”, 1505, illustration to page 205 (numbered “CCIIII” verso) 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. This impression is from the 1530 edition (based on the arrangement of text and image).

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 with full margins as published. Lifetime impression based on the quality of the line showing no sign of wear to the printing block.

Size: (sheet) 30.5 x 16.3 cm; (image borderline) 15.6 x 15.5 cm.

Letterpress German text above and below the image borderline: “Das dzitt Buch/  war er doch von Romisehen kriege …”

J Rickard (6 November 2008) offers details about the siege of Abydos in a marvellous account:   

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

I am selling this exceptionally fine woodcut from the Incunabula period for AU$286 (currently US$214.81/EUR180.66/GBP154.87 at the time of this listing) including 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 the troops of Philip V of Macedonia laying an assault upon Abydos—an outcome that is truly horrendous in that the defeated defenders were given three days to kill themselves—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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