Polyglot Psalter (Genoa: Petrus Paulus Porro, 1516).

This edition of the Book of Psalms was the first polyglot printing of any part of the Bible. Polyglots allowed scholars to compare the various versions of the scriptures by arranging them in parallel columns, and developed from the traditions of Jewish scholars. In this volume the text is in seven columns: Hebrew, a Latin translation of the Hebrew, the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint, Arabic, Aramaic, and a Latin translation of the Aramaic. Arranged around the edges are various commentaries or scholia, and in the detail here can be seen the name of Christopher Columbus. This note, which stretches around the text for another three pages, is the first biographical sketch of Columbus and the first published account of his second voyage to appear. His illegitimate son Ferdinand, who travelled with him on his later voyages, disputed the account given, and went on to write his own account of his father’s life. Consequently this Psalter was suppressed and ordered to be destroyed, although numerous copies survived (St John’s has three in its collection).