In most of Europe and Italy early printing presses produced more religious texts than any other genre. Florence, however, was "conspicuously neglectful" in printing sacred works.1 Its printers were more likely to produce classical texts such as the works of Horace or Plato for use in the academies. Nevertheless, some religious printing was done in Florence at this time.
Although Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) wrote more than 110 books and treatises, his De civitate Dei, or City of God, is often considered his greatest work (despite the fact that his Confessions are more popularly known now).
Pope Leo I (r. 440-461) was the first pope to be called "the Great" and for just reason. Besides defending the faith against heresy, Leo personally persuaded Attila the Hun against an invasion of Italy in 452. His Sermones reveal "his eagerness to promote charitable giving to the poor, fasting and avoidance of sun-worship on the steps of St. Peter's."2
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|Saint Augustine of Hippo, De civitate Dei, printed by Antonio Miscomini at Florence or Venice, not after 1483 (UIUC X Q.871 A59c.I 1483)||Pope Leo I, Sermones, printed by Antonio Miscomini, 1485 (UIUC X Q.252 L551sIC)|
1. Victor Scholderer, Printers and Readers in Italy in the Fifteenth Century, Annual Italian Lecture of the British Academy, 1949 (London: Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1949), 10.
2. P. G. Maxwell-Stuart, Chronicle of the Popes (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997), 37.