Roger Ascham

Ioannis Trittenhemii liber octo questionum

Cologne: Melchior von Neuss, 1534

Sp Coll Ferguson Af-f.60

This volume was previously in the possession of Roger Ascham (1514/15-1568), author and royal tutor during the Tudor Period, and his autograph is on the title page. Born in Yorkshire around 1515, Ascham gained distinction as a Greek scholar at St. John's College, Cambridge. He read and studied widely in the Classics and Theology, his main influences being Plato and Cicero, Xenophon, Isocrates (a major influence on his literary style) and Quintilian.

In 1548, Ascham took over the role of tutor to the Princess Elizabeth, a post which he held until 1550. During this period there is the possibility that he also tutored Prince Edward, Lady Jane Grey, and Charles and Henry Brandon.

The author of this volume, Johann Tritheim, or Trithemius, (1462-1516), was a distinguished polymath and abbot of a Benedictine monastery at Würzburg in Germany. The work consists of addresses and theological questions submitted to the author by Emperor Maximilian about the influence of demons, sorcery, witchcraft and angels. It may have influenced the ideas of the alchemist John Dee.

This volume is on display in the Special Collections Department foyer until 14th April 2011.

Detail from titlepage of Johan Tritheim's Liber octo questonum
Detail from title page of Johan Tritheim's Liber octo questionum showing the autograph of Roger Ascham.

Go to the next book in the exhibition, previously owned by: Thomas Cranmer.