Handsome Copy of a Classic Illustrated 16th-Century Treatise on Criminal Law Damhouder [Damhoudere], 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. 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 vellum, faint early hand-lettered title to spine. A few minor stains to boards, light soiling to rear boards, light rubbing to extremities, pastedowns loose. Light toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, faint, gradually diminishing dampstaining to head of text block, (illegible) early owner signature in minuscule hand to front pastedown. A handsome 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 its 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 70756