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.