The Life of St Nicholas by John the Deacon was printed in 1751 by Falconius, who refers to the earlier edition of Mombritius in 1477, but also that of Luigi Lippomano, Sanctorum priscorum patrum vitae, vol. 2, Venice (1553). The Life of St Nicholas begins on folio 238v, here.
I had thought that this was simply a reprint of the Mombritius text. But while I was revising chapter 1, I came across a statement by Falconius that a certain sentence was not found in the Lippomanus edition. This was odd, because I could see in my collation that it was indeed present in the Mombritius edition.
This morning, I thought that it would be wise to take a look at the Lippomanus edition. Here’s the opening:
This contains the useful statement about the text he is printing:
Habetur in libro antiquo Mediolani impresso, necnon in altero monachorum sancti Nazarii Veronensii iam 300 annis in pergameno scripto.
It is found in an ancient book printed in Milan, as well as in another belonging to the monks of St. Nazarius of Verona written 300 years ago on parchment.
The printed book can only be the Mombritius, an incunable printed 76 years earlier. But clearly the lure of a manuscript copy was too much for the editor.
The text is given with paragraph breaks, as some of the manuscripts do, and with notes and textual variants in the margin, but also, sadly, with abbreviations in the text. It then follows on with the piece about Vandal Africa, which is also found in Mombritius, and then several more Nicholas miracle stories. It ends on f.248 with a remarkable marginal blast at protestant critics:
Quid hic dicis, haeretice, qui blatteras sanctos esse emortuos? Videturne tibi mortuus Nicholas, qui tamen mirabile opus patravit?
What do you say here, heretic, who blathers that the saints are dead? Does it seem to you that Nicholas is dead, who nevertheless accomplished a wonderful work?
I’m not sure that the Lippomano edition is actually useful for anything now – not enough to OCR it, anyway – but it is certainly interesting to see.