PHILOSTRATUS (Blount, Charles, Tr.) The Two First Books, of Philostratus, Concerning the Life of Apollonius Tyaneus…

London, Printed for Nathaniel Thompson, 1680.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (viii) 243 (i), A-2G4 2H6. Roman and Italic letter. Title-page in black and red. Full-page woodcut chart on p. 145. Bound in contemporary mottled calf with morocco panels, blind-tooled and rebacked; covers, edges and corners restored. Inner hinges reinforced with woven tape. Some waterstaining throughout, a little light browning. A good copy.

Philostratus “the Athenian” was a Greek sophist of the Roman Imperial period. He is remembered for two works in particular: Lives of the Sophists and Life of Apollonius of Tyana. The latter was written between 217 and 238 AD, and tells the story of Apollonius of Tyana (c. 40 – c. 120 AD), a Pythagorean philosopher and teacher. Philostratus wrote the book for Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla. The translator Charles Blount (1653-1693) was one of the leading deists of his time. He published the first of his major works, Anima Mundi, in 1679. It is an essay on pagan doctrines about the nature of the human soul and its destiny in the afterlife, drawing heavily on Montaigne. His Philostratus consists largely of his own notes to Philostratus, with roughly four pages of Blount to one of Philostratus. His commentary draws attention to analogies between Christ and Apollonius of Tyana, the miracle working mystic (or sham magician) Greek philosopher born just before Christ. John Leland in his View of the Principal Deistical Writers (1754) notes that Blount’s work was “manifestly intended to strike at revealed religion.” Justin A.I. Champion in The Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century British Philosophers notes: “The classical texts with its parallel between the life of the magus Apollonius and Christ was problematic enough; the inclusion of a digest of skeptical materialist, and irreligious material unencumbered with warnings of heterodoxy was to provide a provocative and dangerous resource to the literature public. There were consequently moves to have the work suppressed and even burnt.”

ESTC R4123; Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), P2132




BOSWELL, James. An Account of Corsica, The Journal of a Tour to that Island, and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli. By James Boswell, Esq; Illustrated with a New and Accurate Map of Corsica.

 London, Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly in the Poultry, 1769.


8vo, frontispiece plate with engraved portrait of Pascal Paoli by J. Lodge after Henry Bembridge, title page, “Letter” and “Preface” (pp. xxxii), large engraved folding map of Corsica (from the same plate as in the first edition, but with a scale of miles added), text from pp. 33 to 400. Bookplate to front pastedown of American collector Joseph Y. Jeanes from Philadelphia. Rebound in late C19th half red morocco and marbled paper over boards by the famous Philadelphia binders firm Pawson and Nicholson (see printed name to top outer corner of verso of first front endpaper). Corners and joints partly rubbed and worn, small tear to folding map, lightly yellowed throughout and occasional minor spotting. Waterstaining on head of flyleaf with Boswell’s inscription: “To Andrew Lumisden Esq: as a mark of sincere regard from the Author”. A very good copy.

Third edition of this famous account of Corsica by the English writer, novelist and travel diarist James Boswell, which is also an important presentation copy from the author to his dear friend Andrew Lumisden. The preface to this edition includes for the first time a eulogistic letter from George Lyttelton to Boswell in praise of Paoli. Boswell, a Scottish lawyer, is mainly remembered as the biographer of Samuel Johnson. He was invited to visit Corsica by Paoli in August 1764 whilst he was travelling in Italy. Boswell was determined to get to Corsica and stated that had he not received a formal invitation, he should still go, and probably be hanged as a spy. ‘He crossed from Leghorn to Corsica; saw the great Paoli; talked politics to him . . . He also took the liberty of asking Paoli “a thousand questions with regard to the most minute and private circumstances of his life” ’ (DNB). He apparently played Scottish airs to the Corsican peasantry. He returned to London with his head full of Corsica, and against Johnson’s advice, resolved to write an account of his experiences. This is a refreshing contemporary observation of eighteenth-century Corsica and covers a number of aspects; the first chapter consists of a geographical analysis of the Island followed by a historical and political overview. The book concludes with Boswell’s journal of his tour of the Island and the memoirs of Pascal Paoli. However, the book did not receive general approval. Walpole laughed at it and Gray described the journal as a “dialogue between a green goose and a hero”. Boswell never ceased to champion the Corsican cause and published a volume of “Essays in favour of the Brave Corsicans” in the spring of 1769. Andrew Lumisden (1720–1801), an “active and accurate antiquary”, was a Scottish Jacobite with whom Boswell became acquainted in Rome in 1765. They became good friends and Lumisden later assisted Boswell when he was writing the Life of Dr Johnson, by deciphering place names in the diarists’ journal of a French tour in late 1775.

Rothschild 446, 447.


DICTYS CRETENSIS [with] DARES PHRYGIUS et Alii. Ditte Candiotto et Darete Frigio Della guerra troiana, tradotti per Thomaso Porcacchi da Castiglione Arretino, il quale v’ha aggiunto l’ordine, che s’ha da tener nella Concatenation dell’historie, & le Vite di tutti quelli historici antichi Greci,…

Venice, appresso Gabriel Giolito de Ferrarii, 1570.


4to, pp. (xxxii) 180, a-d4 A-X4 Y6. Italic letter, some Roman. Large Giolito de’ Ferrari device on title page, head- and tailpieces, and large historiated initials (printer’s initials “G G F” within vignette of an eagle standing on a round jar emanating flames, mottos in cartouches “de la mia morte eterna vita io vivo” and “semper eadem”, the latter repeated also in headpiece on recto of second leaf. Upper corners of first two quires skilfully repaired; little wormholes on a2, repaired, affecting also a3 with minimal affection of a few letters. Tiny worm tracks running through the lower blank margin (reinforced with paper repairs at times, especially on last two gatherings where a few letters are slightly damaged, though still easily readable). Light age yellowing and very occasional mild spotting. Bookplate of the duke of Northumberland with the Percy coat of arms, dated 1867, on front pastedown. Bound in late C18th/early C19th vellum over boards, gilt spine with lettering on two red morocco labels. Overall an excellent copy.

First and only edition of this work which is part of an editorial enterprise called “Collana historica”, or “Collana historica dei Greci” (“historical series of Greek authors”), sprang from the collaboration of the printer Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari and the humanist Tommaso Porcacchi. Started in 1563 and terminated in 1574, this enterprise produced seven editions of works by Ancient Greek historians translated into vernacular and five contemporary treatises concerning the topic of war. This collection includes first an opening letter of the translator Porcacchi to the nobleman and patron of letters Silvio Torelli, a detailed table of contents, and a text addressing Torelli on the purpose and utility of these histories. It follows a chronological list of the celebrated historians whose works this series deals with: Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius (tr. Porcacchi); Herodotus (tr. Remigio Fiorentino); Thucydides (tr. Francesco di Soldo Strozzi from Florence); Xenophon (tr. Ludovico Domenichi from Piacenza) and a piece by a contemporary author such as Gemistus Pletho (tr. Porcacchi); Polibius (tr. Domenichi); Diodorus Siculus (tr. Francesco Baldelli from Cortona); Dionysius of Halicarnassus (tr. Porcacchi); Flavius Josephus (tr. “Incerto”, which likely means the author is unknown); Plutarch (tr. Domenichi); Appianus Alexandrinus (tr. Lodovico Dolce); Arrianus (tr. Porcacchi) and lastly Cassius Dio (tr. Baldelli). Before starting off with the War of Troy, the book includes also an explanation of the idea behind the linkage of these historical “joys”, which is achieved through the use of relevant ring-passages on history. Indeed Dictys Cretensis’ War of Troy is linked to Dares Phrygius’ Ruin of Troy via a letter of Cornelius Nepos to Sallust regarding his translation of the work of Dares. The latter’s history is followed then by a few declamations by the hand of Libanius and finally the lives of the aforementioned historians.

CAESAR, Gaius Iulius

CAESAR, Gaius Iulius. Commentariorum de bello Gallico libri VIII. De bello civili Pompeiano libri III. De bello Alexandrino liber I. De bello Africano liber I. De bello Hispaniensi liber I.

Lyon, apud Sebastianum Gryphium, 1543.


8vo, pp. (lvi) 496 (xlviii), a-g8 d4 a-z aa-ll8, wanting the first 56 unnumbered pages (xlviii, a-g8 d4), except for one leaf (Aldus’s preface to the reader, d4?). Italic letter, a little Roman. Printer’s device on title page (lacking) and last. Woodcut initials. Occasinal early ink marginalia and recent pencil additions. In C19th blue paper wrappers, wrong title on paper label to spine (Caesar, Aldus, 1513). Some light toning, browning and marginal dampstaining throughout, a.e.r.

Printed by Gryphium in Lyon, this defective counterfeit copy includes Caesar’s commentaries edited by the Italian Dominican friar and humanist Giovanni Giocondo from Verona (1433-1515), which was first published in Venice by Aldus in 1513. This edition contains Caesar’s extant works: the “Commentarii de Bello Gallico”, Caesar’s account of his campaigns in Gaul, covering the period from 58 to 52 B.C.; and the “De Bello Civili”, covering the events of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey in 49 and 48 B.C.. Also included are Book VIII of the “Bellum Gallicum”, and the “Bellum Alexandrinum” (appended to the three books of the “Bellum Civili” as Books IV through VII), both attributed to Caesar’s lieutenant Aulus Hirtius. The volume concludes with an “index of people and places” by Raimondo Marliani. Admired for their style (most famously by Cicero) and read by both his supporters and detractors alike in antiquity, Caesar’s Commentarii fell into obscurity in the Middle Ages. It was in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that Caesar once again became the focus of intensive study, particularly in Italy, where the question of whether dictatorship or republic was the best model for government was hotly debated. In this debate, Caesar stood as the prime exemplum of the tyrant and Scipio Africanus was promoted as the emblem of the virtus romana of Republican Rome. Caesar’s military genius and skills as a politician were also much studied in this period and into the sixteenth-century. “The unadorned style of Caesar’s Commentarii, the rejection of rhetorical embellishments characteristic of true historia, the notable reduction of evaluative language- all contribute to the apparent objective, impassive tone of Caesar’s narration. Beneath this impassivity, however, modern criticism has discovered, so it believes, tendentious interpretations and distortions of the events for the purpose of political propaganda.” (Conte, “Latin Literature, A History”)

TACITUS, Publius Cornelius

TACITUS, Publius Cornelius. [Opera] Cornelius Tacitus exacta cura recognitus, et emendatus.

Venice, In aedibus haeredum Aldi Manutii romani, et Andreae Asulani soceri, 1534.


FIRST ALDINE EDITION. 4to, ff. (xii) 260, *8 2*4 a-h8 i4 k, L, M, n-z, A-K8. Italic letter, little Roman. Aldus device on title page and verso of final leaf. Capital spaces with small guide-letters. Upper part of book affected by heavy dampstaining, which originated from mould and damaged the paper; extensive worming, with holes and tracks going through the whole text block. Initial quire with large repairs to head on each leaf. Title page and index with losses of text. Early underlining and occasional marginalia on the last three Tacitus’s works included in the book: the mores of the German peoples, the dialogue on oratory, and the life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola. In a worn most attractive C19th paper over thin boards with ink title to spine.

This is the sole Aldine edition of the works of the Roman historian and orator Tacitus (AD 54-120). With its revisions and corrections, this edition marks a substantial improvement on preceding editions, such as Froben’s 1533 edition, which was derived from Beatus Rhenanus’s edition of 1515. The first work, which makes up the bulk of this volume, is Tacitus’s Annales (Annals), a history of the Roman Empire that runs from the reign of the Emperor Tiberius (son and heir to Augustus) through Emperor Nero. The Annals are widely considered Tacitus’s finest work and are one of the earliest Roman historical sources to mention Christ, in this case in the context of Nero’s persecution of Christians. This first Aldine edition also includes several other texts. The first is the “De Moribus et Populis Germaniae”, more commonly called the Germania, an ethnographic description of the customs and peoples of the Germanic tribes to the north of the Roman Empire’s borders. The third text in this volume is the Dialogus de oratoribus, a text on the art of rhetoric in the tradition of Ciceronean speeches. The fourth text included, the Agricola, is a biography of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Tacitus’s father-in-law. The Agricola includes a brief and very early ethnography of Britain. The volume concludes with two commentaries on Tacitus, including one by Andrea Alciato, an early Milanese civil lawyer and legal humanist contemporary with the heirs of Aldus Manutius.

Adams T25; Renouard, pp. 112-113 (“très recherché et de très haut prix”); Ahmanson-Murphy 239.



HERODOTUS. Les neuf livres des histoires de Herodote.

 Paris, pour Estienne Groulleau, 1556.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, ff. (iv) 243, a4 a-z6 A-R6 S4, lacking final blank. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut device on t-p, large historiated initials, and headpieces. Soiled t-p, partially backed, repairs to margins, early autograph in elegant handwriting; repair to blank margin of second leaf, light soiling, clean tear to top of S1 (no loss), occasional browning, otherwise a good and crisp copy, bound in a sympathetic modern calf binding, label red morocco gilt. Contemporary French ownership inscriptions to title-page, two further old inscriptions of William Steven and George Turner, manuscript addition in French to recto of third leaf recapping the life of the Greek historian.

Frist French edition of the Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, the great Greek historian who lived in the fifth century before Christ. The humanist Pierre Saliat (fl. 1537-56) translated this work in French for the first time. The Histories is a comprehensive early account of the war between the barbarians and Greeks, which took place during a two-hundred-years period from King Gyges of Lydia to the conquest of Sestos by the Athenians in 478 B.C. The first three books were published in 1552. Saliat also translated works of Aristotle, Cicero, Erasmus, Philo of Alexandria, and Sallust. The present work includes a translation of an appendix by a fifteenth-century Byzantine scholar, George Gemistus Plethon, who has the distinction of having been an avowed pagan. New editions of Saliat’s Herodotus were issued in 1575 and 1480. The book was a source for Montaigne’s “Essais” (see Joseph de Zangroniz, “Montaigne, Amyot et Saliat”, Paris 1906, pp.102-4).

Adams H410. BMCSTC French 223.








DIODORUS SICULUS. Bibliothecæ historicæ libri quindecim de quadraginta (gr.)

[Genève], Excudebat Henricus Stephanus, illustri viri Huldrici Fuggeri typographus, 1559.


EDITIO PRINCEPS. Folio, pp. (xii) 847 (i), *6 a-3g8. Greek letter, some Roman, a little Italic. Large printer’s device vignette on t-p, decorated initials. Very occasional marginal light spotting and small dampstaining; some very light age yellowing on rather wide and nice clean margins. Autograph of the Dutch humanist Gerhard Falkenburg (ca. 1538-78), native of Nijmengen, and other two early autographs on t-p. Bookplate of “J. Wilcocks, Esq; Barton-Segrave, near Kettering, Northamptonshire” on front pastedown. Long ms. owner’s annotation on verso of t-p by the cleric Abraham Franck (1685-1733) – Trinity College Fellow, deacon of Ely and rector of West Dene in Wilthsire – praising William Cheyne (1657-1728), 2nd Viscount Newhaven, who donated the book to him, dated 4th August 1710, Chesham. Rebacked, bound in early gilt-ruled leather, title to spine. A very fine wide-margined copy.

Editio princeps of most of the Greek text (books 1-5 [represented as 1-6 in early eds., as 1 is in two parts], 11-15), books 16-20 only having been published by Oporinus in 1539. Contains many traditional forgeries, including Ctesias, and (in book 5) an account of the lost Historia Sacra of Euhemerus (c. 300 BC), with its “mythographic” but elaborately detailed descriptions of imaginary islands in the lower Red Sea. Latin preface devoted to the “typographus” Ulrich III Fugger, who edited the text. Fugger patronised the printing of many Classical editions. Diodorus Siculus flourished during the 1st century BC in Agyrium, Sicily. He was a Greek historian. The present work includes parts of his universal history. Known in Latin as Bibliotheca historica, it ranged from the age of mythology to 60 BC.

 Adams D472; Schreiber, The Estiennes, 147 (“A beautifully printed and impressive volume, in the tradition of the magnificient Greek folios printed by Robert Estienne in Paris.”); Bibliotheca Fictiva no. 9 (copy described).


Dionysii Alex. Et Pomp. Melae Situs Orbis Descriptio, Aethici Cosmographia. C.I. Solini Polyhistor. In Dionysii Poematium Commentariii Eusthathii: Interpretatio Eiusdem Poematii Ad Verbum, Ab Henr. Stephano Scripta: Necnon Annotationes. [DIONYSIUS PERIEGETES (Stephanus, Henricus, Ed.) [with] POMPONIUS MELA (Oliver, Pedro Juan, Ed.). Situs orbis descriptio. [with] PSEUDO-JEROME (Simmler, Josias, Ed.) Aethici cosmographia [with] SOLINUS, GAIUS JULIUS (Delrio, Martin, Ed.) Polyistor]

[Geneva], Excudebat Henricus Stephanus, 1577.


4to, (viii) 158 (xxiv) 47 (i) 152, ¶4 a-v44 ¶¶4 4 A-2B4. Greek and Roman letter, a little Italic. Decorated initials, headpieces, Estienne device on title page [Schreiber 18], double- and single-column text alternation. Gloddaeth library bookplate on front pastedown. T-p little soiled, some light age yellowing and thumb marks on margins throughout. Occasional ms. underlining. Bound in early full calf over boards, rebacked, somewhat worn on front covers, red morocco label to spine in compartments. A fine copy.

This beautiful edition is a collection of Ancient Greek and Latin texts on geography and cosmography. It includes the famous ethno-geographical description of the world written by the historian Dionysius Periegetes, which was first published by Robert Estienne in 1547, who was the father of Henry, the printer of this edition. This collection includes Pomponius Mela’s De situ orbis, the cosmography of Aethicus Ister, and Gaius Julius Solinus’s Polyistor, which is a description of the curiosities of the world compiled in Late Antiquity. Except for the geographical parts of Pliny’s Historia naturalis, in which Mela is cited as an important authority, the De situ orbis is the only formal treatise on the subject in Classical Latin. This appears here with a commentary by the Spanish humanist Pedro Juan Oliver. The Polyistor is provided with a commentary by the hand of the Jesuit Martin Delrio. The Cosmography, which was issued under the name of Aethicus, its protagonist, is probably the work of a C8th writer, known as Pseudo-Jerome, who was close to the court historiographers of the early Carolingian period. Dionysius Periegetes came from Alexandria and is believed to have written his description at the time of the Roman Emperor Adrian.

 Renouard, 145; Brunet II, 729; Adams D648; Chaix, 89; Schreiber, Mouson dôra, n°50.

TORTORA, Agostino

De vita Hieronymi Æmiliani Congregationis Somaschæ fundatoris libri IV

Milan, Apud Haeredes Pacifici pontii et Joannem Battistam Piccaleum, 1620.


FIRST EDITION, 8vo, (xx), 64 [i.e. 274], (xxvi), †10 A-T8. Roman letter, a little Italic. Title within fine engraved architectonical border, a few mm of the upper margin of the title page cut away. Full-page portrait of the Saint Girolamo Emiliani on verso of †10. Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Autorgaph in early hand on tp. In contemporary limp vellum; spine with ink title, worn headcap and little hole. A fine copy.

This is the first edition of this work in Latin by Agostino Tortora, who was General of the Somaschi Fathers, the ecclesiastical congregation founded by Girolamo Emiliani (1486-1537). This biography of the Saint in divided into four books. Born to Angelo Miani e Dianora Morosini, both members of important senatorial patrician families of the Republic of Venice, Girolamo had a reckless and troublesome youth. According to tradition, he indulged in all the pleasures of life and became a soldier fighting in the early C16th Northern Italian wars against the invading French army. Only once made captive, he embraced religion, after long solitary meditations in prison. Somasca was the secluded hamlet where Girolamo started his new life as a cleric. He stated the principal work of the community was the care of orphans, poor and sick, and demanded that dwellings, food and clothing would bear the mark of religious poverty.

BEMBO, Pietro

BEMBO, Pietro. Della historia vinitiana…libri XII.

 Venice, Appresso Gualtero Scotto, 1552.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, (xiv) 179 (i), *42*10A-Y8Z4. Roman letter, a little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title page and verso of final leaf, historiated initials in two sizes. T-p a little soiled, occasional light spotting and waterstaining to margins throughout. A3 with candle wax on foot margin towards gutter. Old library label with shelf and case numbers on front pastedown. Light age yellowing on edge of pages. In early gilt-ruled calf binding over boards, rebacked, spine in compartments with red label and stamped gilt lettering, a.e.g.. A desirable copy.

FIRST EDITION of the vernacular translation of the Historiae Venetae libri XII of Cardinal Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), which was posthumously published in Latin in 1551 by the heirs of Aldus. An Italian scholar, poet and literary theorist, Bembo was an influential figure in the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, codifying the language for standard modern usage. His writings assisted in the 16th-century revival of interest in the works of Petrarch. Bembo’s ideas were also decisive in the formation of the most important secular musical form of the 16th century, the madrigal.

 The dedicatee of this work was a famous, beautiful, learned and opinionated noblewoman, by the name of Elisabetta Querini (d. 1559), who was very close to Bembo and his Venetian circle, in which figured the great painter Titian, who portrayed the lady, the man of letters Francesco Sansovino and Carlo Gualteruzzi, the artist and literate Pietro Aretino, and many other relevant protagonists of the Italian Renaissance culture. Elisabetta became the inspirational muse of the circle. She had an intimate relationship and friendship with Bembo and it is only thanks to her efforts that the scholar consented to the translation of his Latin Venetian History into the vernacular. Once Bembo became a cardinal, he moved to Rome, interrupting his assiduous frequentation with Elisabetta. Giovanni della Casa, who was apostolic nuncio in Venice, helped the exchanges between the two, and he is also likely to have had an affair with this lady in later years. Many are the sonnets devoted to Elisabetta, especially by della Casa, in which she is defined as the “Magnificent”. After Bembo died in 1547, Elisabetta strongly exerted herself in order to have the vernacular translation of the History published in Venice, an event that was initially opposed by Gualteruzzi, who was appointed to the role of commissioner of Bembo’s writings together with Elisabetta’s great-uncle, the prominent aristocrat Girolamo Querini. Eventually Elisabetta succeeded in her purpose and the translation appeared in Venice in 1552. Even though the work was signed by Gualtiero Scotto, the printer of the book, it is however common knowledge that Guateruzzi translated and edited the text, whose preface has it so: “To the magnificent and valorous milady Isabetta Querini”.

Commissioned by the Venetian Senate to Bembo, the present work is a continuation of Andrea Navagero’s History of Venice, which was first started by Sabellico, bearing the title Historia rerum Venetarum ad urbe condita (“History of Venice from the foundation of the city”).

Adams B599