ISOCRATES. Orationes ad Demonicum, et Nicoclem: Nicocles et Euagoras.

Ingolstadt, ex officina typographica Adami Sartorii, 1597.


8vo, pp. (ii) 133, A-H8 I4. Italic Greek type and Roman letter. Small t-p vignette of crowned goddess within a rondel, standing on a globe and holding a sceptre in the one hand and a brazier in the other hand. Blank t-p verso with stamped large coat of arms, which resembles the one of Maximilian III (1558-1618), Archduke of Austria. This must be a later addition, nearly contemporaneous, since it cannot be found in two other digitised copies from the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek. Double column, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Early ms. note of provenance on top of t-p: “Collegii Societatis JESU Oenipontis [Innsbruck] 19 December 97”. In contemporary vellum wrappers, remains of ties, ink title to spine, charmingly worn and stained, hole to spine, a.e.b.; an excellent copy.

Isocrates, (436-338 BCE), ancient Athenian orator, rhetorician, and teacher whose writings are an important historical source on the intellectual and political life of Athens of his day. The school he founded differed markedly in its aims from the Academy of Plato. “Isocrates’ concern with the moral basis for power also appears in the three other so-called Cyprian orations, which should be read in conjunction with the Evagoras. In the To Demonicus, assuming that it is genuine, Isocrates advises his addressee through a series of traditional maxims, familiar from Hesiod, Solon, and Theognis, somewhat loosely strung together. Not surprisingly, piety (1.13), justice (1.15 and 38-39), moderation (sôphrosynê) (1.15), and self-control (enkrateia) (1.21) figure prominently. In this work, Isocrates gives advice to Demonicus both as a private citizen, telling him to emulate the character of kings (1.36) and as a future ruler, instructing him to govern fairly and justly (1.37-39). In the To Nicocles, which is also full of traditional gnomic maxims, likewise somewhat loosely organised, Isocrates addresses himself more specifically to the moral virtues necessary for the ideal ruler…Throughout, Isocrates advices that a successful ruler must voice be a moral ruler. In the third Cyprian oration, speaking through the voice of Nicocles himself, Isocrates gives the flip slide to the moral virtues necessary to the ideal by showing how the behaviour of the subjects in the ideal state ought to correspond in moral virtue to that of the leader” Frances Pownall, “The Moral Education of the Elite”, in “The Politics of Orality” (Craig Richard Cooper, Ed.), 2007, p. 239.

Not in BM.


DIO CHRYSOSTOMUS. Logoi 80. Dionis Chrysostomi Orationes LXXX. Apposita est in extremo libro varietas lectionum, cum orationum indice.

Venice, Apud Federicum Turrisanum [1551?].


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, ff. 451 (5), A-3L8. Greek type, a little Roman. Aldine device on t-p, several fine decorated strapwork initials. Ms. note reporting “Editio Prima” on verso of second front flyleaf and other details concerning this edition. Extensive marginalia in Greek and Latin throughout. Rare occasional waterstaining and some spotting, yet pages appear rather clean and unspotted. Margins slightly trimmed. Detached bookplate showing the crest of the Clan Scott. In contemporary limp vellum, visible ties, damaged headcap with vellum fragment torn away, remains of laces.

First edition of this important collection of orations. The ancestor of the Roman historian Cassius Dio (155-235 BC), Dio Chrysostomus was a Greek historian and man of letters born in Prusa (now Bursa), Bithynia (now a part of Turkey), in 40 BCE within in a powerful and rich family. He died in ca. 115. His nickname was Chysostomus, literally “golden-mouthed”, by virtue of his eloquence. He became a Roman citizen earning the surname of Cocceianus after his connection with Marcus Cocceius Nerva, the famous Emperor, whose family offered him patronage. The orator Philistratus (170-247 BC) is our main source on Dio’s life and career. In his Lives of the Sophists, he referred to Dio as a sophist, a master of language, skilled in the art of rhetoric and philosophy. His most renowned oration is In Praise of Hair. The present work was edited by Federico Torresano, one of Andrea’s sons, being his brother Giovan Francesco, who both took over the successful Manuzio-Torresano partnership in 1533 and continued the printing and editorial activity of classics, holding to the exclusively humanistic address of the firm, under the denomination of “haeredes Aldii Manutii Romani et Andrea Asulani soceri”. Federico Torresano dedicated this work to Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, as his dedicatory letter at the beginning of this collection of speeches makes clear. Rodolfo was son to Alberto III Pio, Prince of Carpi, whose maternal uncle was the great humanist Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. In the introductory letter, Federico Torresano points out the common effort made by Alberto and Aldo Manuzio the Elder to foster the publication of the Greek classics. Aldo Manuzio was mentor to Alberto, who helped him fund the most important and productive printing house of the Italian and European Renaissance, established in Venice in 1494.

Adams D500; Brunet, II, p.714: “Edition rare, la première de cette auteur”



CAVALCANTI, Bartolomeo

CAVALCANTI, Bartolomeo. La retorica…Divisa in sette libri: dove si contiene tutto quello, che appartiene all’arte oratoria. Con le postille di m. Pio Portinaio.

Pesaro, Per Bartolomeo Cesano, 1559.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. (xii) 563 (i), +6 A-2L8 2M10. Italic letter, a little Roman. Woodcut printer’s device on title-page (a snake wreathed in a flame biting the index finger of a hand descending from a cloud – the right hand of God – with motto “così a ciascun nocente/sì come qui al serpente”, that is, “may it be harmful to anyone [to go against the divine will], in the same way it does here to the snake [representing sin/temptation burning in fire]”). Historiated initials, head- and tailpieces. T-p little soiled, text block lightly and evenly yellowed throughout because of long exposure to damp, visible unstained areas to the head of some leaves. Notwithstanding, this copy is clean and crisp. In modern half red morocco, boards covered in marbled paper, gilt label to spine.

This work on rhetoric was first published in the same year by Giolito de’ Ferrari in Venice. Bartolomeo “Baccio” Cavalcanti (1503-62) was a Florentine diplomat, humanist, and philologist, who made acquaintance with Machiavelli during his youth. Baccio fully embraced Machiavelli’s political thought, which was informed by republican ideas of classical inspiration and realism. A very practical philosophy shaped Baccio’s interventionist view, which appeared frustrated by the troublesome international politics of his age. Invasions, wars, and upheavals tormented the Italian states repeatedly, which were powerless and at the mercy of the great European monarchies. La Retorica was Baccio’s most successful work, which he started to compose during his exile from Florence, while staying between the Estense court of Ferrara and the Studium of Padua. Baccio and other eminent figures within the Florentine political scenario were forced into exile because of the internal strife of the city, divided between the supporters of republican aspirations and the ducal party backing the rule of de’ Medici family. The writer started this long undertaking in the early 1540s. La Retorica is dedicated to his patron Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, who strongly insisted that he endeavoured either the translation of Aristotle’s Rhetoric, or a new book on rhetoric. Baccio’s choice fell on the latter option and one can notice that his Rhetoric mirrors the debate originated with the fifteenth-century blossoming of philology, which was about whether dialectic and rhetoric do coincide. Angelo Politian already discussed this issue from an aesthetic point of view. Unlike the Venetian scholars of the University of Padua, Baccio Cavalcanti considers rhetoric a crucial ornament of language. All orators, men of the world, and politicians should practice this art, which is essential to the education of those people who are meant to run the state. Therefore, the Aristotelian ethics, the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum, the works of Cicero, Quintilian and Hermogenes, must be studied by diplomats and official spokesmen, whose main role is to persuade or dissuade from taking action. This work represented the swan song of triumphant Machiavellianism.

Adams C1176

CONSALVI, Antonio Maria (Ed.). Orationi

CONSALVI, Antonio Maria (Ed.). Orationi fatte al serenissimo prencipe di Venetia Marino Grimani…

Venice, Presso il Muschio, 1597.


FIRST EDTION. 4to, pp. (12) 171, †4 2†2 A-X4 Y2. Italic letter, a little Roman. Large hand-coloured coat of arms of the Doge Marino Grimani on the title page with the motto “Sydera cordis” (the stars of the heart). Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. T-p little soiled, marginal dampstaining to the top corners of the initial quires. A single wormhole running throughout most of the book, minimal loss of part of letters. Some modern pencil signs throughout. In contemporary limp vellum, gilt title to spine, hinges are tender and slightly defective. A fine copy.

First and only edition of this collection of Italian vernacular speeches celebrating the election of the patrician Marino Grimani (1532-1605) to the role of Doge, the highest political office in the Republic of Venice. This rich Republic, also known as La Serenissima (the most serene), lasted about a thousands years, from C8th until the end of C18th, when Napoleon Bonaparte suppressed it and annexed part of it to his Northern Italian dominions, while the rest ended under the rule of the Austrians. Venice had been the most powerful mercantile oligarchy on the Adriatic with undisputed hegemony, at least until the middle of the C17th, on the trade routes with the Middle, Central and Far East. Antonio Maria Consalvi was a man of letters flourished between C16th and 17th, who wrote encomiastic works, especially orations and mythological fables. Consalvi had already sung the praises of Grimani in his work published by the same printer of the present collection, Andrea Muschio, on the occasion of Grimani’s election in 1595. This Doge is remembered for his quarrel with the papacy over the latter’s intrusion in the political and spiritual matters of the Republic, as well as the splendid ceremony for the coronation of his wife, the noblewoman Morosina Morosini, who was officially elected Dogaressa of Venice in 1597, the year of publication of the present work. Indeed, this work is a further celebration of the ruling couple of La Serenissima. The dedicatee is Morosina, whom Consalvi calls the “Princess of Venice”. This work includes orations pronounced by several political and ecclesiastical authorities and representatives of the cities of the Republic, and other allied of Venice: Luigi Lana, Ambassador of Brescia; the magistrates Carlo e Nicolò Querini; Francesco Centone, Ambassador of Padua; Giacinto Fornagieri, Ambassador of Rovigo; Ambassador Falconetto, from Chioggia; an homage by the Venetian Monastery of San Zanipolo; Giorgio Piloni, Ambassador of Cividàl di Belluno; the Accademia Veneziana; Mario Frecavalli, Ambassador of Crema; Nicolò Besucio, Ambassador of Bergamo; Nicolò Bolizza, dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Padua; the literate Salustio Lucillo and finally the author Antonio Maria Consalvi. The book terminates with two Latin orations by Aderbale Manerbio, Ambassador of Mantua, and the physician Lucio Scarani, member of the Accademia Veneziana.

Adams C2527.


QUINTILIANUS, Marcus Fabius. Oratoriarum institutionum libri xii.

 Paris, Apud Fran. Gryphium, 1539.


4to, ff. (iv) 228 LXVI, A4 a-z8 A-E8 F4 2A-2G8 2H4 2I6. Roman letter, some Italic, a little Greek and Hebrew. Printer’s device on t-p, capital spaces with small guide-letters. All annotated and underlined in ink throughout by different early hands, at least three; the thirteenth declamation (Apes pauperis) recently annotated with light pencil marginalia. Some waterstaining and oxidation, especially on the initial two gatherings; Dampstain on lower margins to gutter of the last two quires, occasional soiling and spotting. Early autograph of “John Herbert” (perhaps the English Secretary of State (fl. 1550-1617)?). Bookplate of Sir Charles Mordaunt (1836-1897) on front pastedown. Rebacked, in a C18th panelled calf binding, gilt dentelles and title to spine on red label. A good copy.

This is a scarce edition of the Institutes of Oratory in twelve volumes of the Spanish-born Roman rhetorician Quintilian (ca. 35-100 AD), which is one of the most renowned and popular works on the theory and practice of oratory. This work had an incredible influence, especially during the Renaissance, on the Western traditions of political oratory. At Rome Quintilian met with great success as a teacher and was the first rhetorician to set up a genuine public school and to receive a salary from the State. He continued to teach for twenty years and had among his pupils the younger Pliny and the two sons of Domitilla, the sister of Domitian. As a stylist, though he is often difficult owing to compression and the epigrammatic turn which he gives his phrases, he is never affected or extravagant. He is still under the influence of the sound traditions of the Ciceronian age, and his Latin is silver-gilt rather than silver. His Institutio Oratoria, despite the fact that much of it is highly technical, has still much that is of interest to‑day, even for those who care little for the history of rhetoric. Notably in the first book his precepts as regards education have lasting value: they may not be strikingly original, but they are sound, humane and admirably put. In the more technical portions of his work he is unequal; the reader feels that he cares but little about the minute pedantics of rhetorical technique, and that he lacks method in his presentation of the varying views held by his predecessors. But once he is free of such minor details and touches on themes of real practical interest, he is a changed man. He is really eloquent, and always vigorous and sound, while throughout the whole work he keeps the same ideal unswervingly before him.

Moreau V 1483.