THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


29 The Abridgement of the Boke of Assises
London, Rycharde Tottle. 1555
Once owned by Roger Ascham (1513-1568), this copy of the abridged Book of Assizes is a summary of major judicial procedures and decisions during the reign of Edward III (1312-1377), and it carries on the title page four letters of Anglo-Saxon law concerning the necessity of punishing those who injure Christianity or honor heathendom. The inscription is dated October 15, 1556, and signed by Roger Ascham, who was at the time serving as Latin secretary to the Catholic queen, Mary, having quietly put aside earlier outspoken Protestant sympathies. His career also included private tutorial work in Greek and Latin with Elizabeth I, both while she was princess and after her accession to the throne in 1558. Ascham's lasting fame, however, rests on the posthumous publication The Scholemaster (1570), in which he advocated gentleness rather than force as a way of motivating students.
Gift of George A. Plimpton

Collections and Treasures