PAEZ, [Gaspero and A. Mendes]. Lettere annue di Ethiopia del 1624, 1625 e 1626. Scritte al M.R.P. Mutio Vitelleschi, Generale della Compagnia di Giesu. A Roma: l’Herede di Bartolomeo Zannetti, 1628 Recent wrappers, small 8vo. [16 cm.] 232pp.
The first edition of this collection of reports from the Jesuit missions in Ethiopia sent in a series of letters to Vitelleschi, the Director General of the Society of Jesus at Rome. In parts, “Dell’Anno 1624 e 1625” and “Dell’Anno 1626” both signed by Gaspero Paez, and pages 97-172 by Mendes signed as ‘Alfonso Patriarca d’Ethiopia’.
Gaspero Paez, a Jesuit priest not to be confused with Pedro Paez, was born in 1593 at Covilhao, went to Ethiopia in 1624 and was martyred at Assa in 1635. Alfonso Mendes was sent to Ethiopia from Goa in 1625 as patriarch to replace Pedro Paez who had died in 1622. Their letters give a detailed account of the country, the state of the church, and the activities of the various Jesuit missions stations in Ethiopia. Interestingly Paez asks for type or blocks so that a press can be set up to print works legible to the Ethiopians.
On his arrival in Ethiopia Alfonso Mendes was responsible for the Emperor Susenyos declaring his allegiance to the Pope; however his high-handed attitude towards the Ethiopians resulted in the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1634 and the martyrdom of several including Gaspero Paez. Light brown stain on title extending through preliminary pages, some outer corner wear to preliminaries, encased in recent cream stiff paper in imitation of vellum. From the library of Dr. Juel-Jensen with his Amharic bookplate, and his invoice for this book from the bookshop of Leo S. Olschki in Lucignano dated 1976. [Fumagalli 1624; Streit: 2719] COPAC lists the Oxford copy and two British Library copies.