JOHANNES DE CAPUA (fl. late 13th century). Directorium humane vite alias parabole antiquorum sapientum. [Strassburg: Johann Pruss, ca 1489]. Chancery 2o (273 x 190 mm). Collation: a-m6 n100 (a1r title, verso presentation cut, a2r prologue, a5v text, n10v blank). 82 leaves. Gothic types 3:80 (text), 7:156 (headings), 4:300 (title). 50 lines and headline; initial-spaces, some with guide-letters. Full-page woodcut of the translator presenting the book to a king, and 118 LARGE WOODCUTS (including 6 repeats) illustrating the fables. (Title-leaf repaired slightly affecting cut on verso, some minor marginal repairs and stains, affecting headlines on e2, tears in g2, g6, i3, n6-7 mended affecting a few letters, washed.) Jansenist red morocco, by Duru, dated 1847 (covers reinforced). Provenance: Johann Werner 1637 (inscription faded); F.-X.-J.-G. Borluut de Noortdonck (armorial bookplate), sold at Ghent April-July 1858; John Pierpont Morgan (gilt morocco bookplate, Morgan Library release label); purchased from John F. Fleming, New York, 14 April 1981. FIRST LATIN EDITION (first state of sheet n2.9) of Bidpai's Fables, an ancient collection of Sanskrit stories that reached Medieval Europe in Persian and Arabic versions. John of Capua's Latin version was first published in a German translation by Anton von Pforr at Urach (Conrad Fyner, c. 1481, Klebs 345.1), which was also the first illustrated edition; it was reprinted in Urach, and four times in Ulm with different cuts. Prss acquired Fyner's blocks and employed them in his two Latin editions. There followed two Spanish editions (Zaragoza 1494, Burgos 1498), but none in 15th-century Italy, where the Aesopian collection was frequently published and illustrated. HC 4411; BMC I, 125; Schramm XX, 26; Schreiber 3489; Klebs 344.1; BSB I-375; Walsh 199; Goff J-268a; Fairfax Murray German 70. F. Geissler, "Die Inkunabeln des Directorium vitae humanae," in Beitrage zur Inkunabelkunde 3. Folge 1 (Berlin 1965).