Classic Illustrated 16th-Century Treatise on Criminal Law Damhouder, Josse (Joost) de [1507-1581]. Praxis Rerum Criminalium: Praetoribus, Propraetoribus, Consulibus, Proconsulibus, Magistratibus, Reliquisque id Genus Iustitiariis ac Officiaiis, Apprime Utilis & Necessaria. Antwerp: Ioannem Bellerum, 1570. [xxxii], 508,  pp. Latin text printed in double columns. 70 large woodcuts in text. 68 depict criminal acts, 2 depict types of torture. Large armorial woodcuts at beginning and end of book. Quarto (8-1/2" x 6-1/2"). Contemporary limp vellum with yapp edges, early hand-lettered title to spine, ties lacking. Soiling, somewhat heavier to spine, a few minor stains, moderate wear to extremities, wear to bottom edge and corner of front cover with some loss, front pastedown loose and worn, rear pastedown loose, recent owner bookplate to front free endpaper, minor, gradually diminishing dog-earing to lower corners of first 16 leaves. Moderate toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, occasional, and negligible, minor dampstaining to bottom edge of text block, faint inkstains to a few leaves. An appealing copy. $2,500. * First published in 1554, this was the first comprehensive book devoted to the investigation, interrogation, trial and punishment of criminals published in northern Europe. A synthetic work drawn mostly from Roman-Dutch sources, it was based on Philip Wielant's Practycke Crimineele (c.1510) and other earlier treatises, it is notable for its original and extensive discussion of witchcraft and use of visual illustrations. The text is illustrated throughout with woodcuts depicting adultery, murder, theft and many other crimes, along with forms of torture and execution. Published in Latin, Dutch and French, it was standard authority throughout the continent for many years. Damhouder was an advisor to the Duke of Burgundy and a prolific author of legal and religious treatises. Dekkers, Bibliotheca Belgica Juridica 44.
Book number 68591