LUCAN. Pharsalia, cum supplemento Thomae Maii.

Paris, Barbou, 1767.


12mo. x, 421 [2] p., with engraved frontispiece. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut head and tail-pieces, printer’s device on title-page. Text very clean and fresh throughout. A.e.g., marbled endpapers, mottled calf over pasteboards with triple fillet gilt border ruled along cover margins and gilt spine decorated with floral tools. Title label detached and missing. Binding worn, corners bumped and fragile hinges, though still holding tight. Bookplate with name and coat of arms of Thomas Walpole and pen inscription on recto of initial blank: “given to my dear son Charles / 29 1831 – Tho. Walpole”. Remains of red silk bookmark inserted. Overall a good copy with an interesting provenance.


PLUTARCH (NORTH, Thomas, Tr.). The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romaines

London, Printed by Richard Field, 1612[-1610].


Folio. A⁸ B-5O⁶ 5P⁸; pp. (14), 1244, plus 16 leaves of table of contents (lacking first blank). Woodcut printer’s device on title page, head- and tail-pieces, large historiated and floriated woodcut initials (of different sizes and sets), woodcut portraits within beautiful ornamental borders. Two parts in one: the second part is “The lives of Epaminondas, of Philip of Macedon, of Dionysius the elder, and of Octauius Cæsar Augustus”, with separate title dated 1610. It is a translation by North of a compilation by Simon Goulart of Senlis, partly from the “Vitae excellentium imperatorum” of Cornelius Nepos (“Æmylius Probus”). Pagination and register are continuous. The lives of Hannibal and Scipio Africanus are attributed to Donato Acciaiuoli. Early ownership inscription  in ink on title half cropped. A fresh, clean and crisp copy, with some very occasional minor spotting. Light soiling and creasing to title page. Bound in modern quarter calf and marbled paper over boards, corners reinforced with vellum. Black morocco label with gilt title to spine. Bookplate with coat of arms and motto “mediocria firma” glued to front pastedown. This is the fourth edition. An excellent copy.

BMSTC 20069; ESTC S115994

CIAMPINI, Giovanni Giustino

CIAMPINI, Giovanni GiustinoDe Sacris aedificiis a Constantino Magno constructis

Rome, Apud Joannem Jacobum Komarek Bohemum Typographum, 1693.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (16), 217, (3). Roman and Italic letter. Coat of arms of one of the dedicatees, Pope Innocent XII (the other addressee is Cardinal Barberini), on the title page and full-page engraved frontispiece by Arnoldo van Westerhout (1651 – 1725), after Giovanni Battista Leonardi (1660-1703). Head- and tail-pieces and large historiated initials. With 34 plates (0f 35; lacking plate 4), showing maps of churches and religious monuments, views, architectonical details, mosaic decorations and frescos from the monumental buildings established by Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire. Some tears, mostly negligible but at times affecting the text, to margins of plates no. 3 and 7, 25, 35 (29 and 30 with small worm tracks and holes). Other small tears to leaf B4, C,E2, H, N2, Q3, S, Dd2. Leaf K with outer lower corner torn with loss of a few word endings. Generally very clean and fresh. A few early doodles and sketches throughout and on then front cover. Bound in contemporary vellum over boards, spine in six compartments with raised bands. Spine caps worn and a little defective, cover edges rubbed. Red morocco label with gilt lettering. Bookplate of Helen H. Tanzer and German inscription in ink dated 1863 on front pastedown. Bookseller’s label glued to rear pastedown plus other label certifying the binding was cleaned in 1980. An excellent copy, notwithstanding the missing plate.

This is the first edition of this work, reprinted in 1747 and 1748. The book illustrates the paleo-Christian churches commissioned by Constantine the Great in Rome (e.g., The Lateran, the Vatican, Saint Paul and Saint Lawrence), Ravenna, Jerusalem, Constantinople and other important cities of the empire.

Cicognara, 3672. Olschki XI, 16710.


TERENCE. Publii Terentii comoediae

Paris, e typographia regia, 1642.


Folio, pp. [4], 286. Roman letter. Engraved, beautifully illustrated title page by Claude Mellan; head- and tail-pieces, historiated initial in prologue. A wide-margined copy. Full contemporary calf gilt with the elegant royal coat of arms of King Luis XIV within a garland stamped in the centre of covers. Smooth spine, rebacked, original skin laid on. Red morocco label with gilt lettering. Rubbed on corners and edges. Internally very clean and fresh. Ex libris of Harold Wiens, Löberöd (Sweden) and autograph of earlier English owner, dated 1808, on front pastedowns. A fine copy. A.e.g.



HORSLEY, John. Britannia Romana: or the Roman antiquities of Britain: in three books

London, Printed for John Osborn and Thomas Longman, 1732.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. [8],xxxii,355,[1],353-520,[40], with half-title, 22 engraved maps (5 double-page) and 83 fine plates. Negligible small tears to blank margins of plates at p.113 and 158. Beautiful engraved head-piece to the dedication to Sir Richard Ellys by Vander Gucht. Very clean and crisp throughout. Bound in later full calf gilt (early C19th), smooth spine with with low-raised bands and red morocco label. Marbled pastedowns and fore-edges. Bookplate of Crewe Hall library. Bookseller’s label (Steedman of Newcastle). A fine copy.

John Horsley (c. 1685 – 1732) was a British antiquarian, known primarily for his book Britannia Romana.

ESTC T115200.

CAESAR, Caius Julius

CAESAR, Caius Julius [Hirtius, A.]: (Coustellier, A.U., Ed.) C. Jullii Ceasari quae extant opera. Commentariorum de bello gallico, libri septem

Paris, Typis Josephi Barbou, 1755.


12mo, 2 vols. Vol. 1: frontispiece, 2 leaves without signature (half-title and title), pp. xxvii, 360, plus 2 fold-out maps; vol. 2: 2 leaves without signature (half-title and title), pp. 455 (1), 2 fold-out maps, plus a final leaf with publisher’s catalogue. Fine crisp volumes bound in burgundy morocco, with elaborately gilt-tooled foliated designs stamped in gilt on spines and covers, gilt dentelles, labels in green morocco (slight loss to head of spine in vol. 2, light stain towards tail, blue silk endpapers, a.e.g. A lovely binding. Ownership medallions of James Hartmann glued on the recto of first front fly leaves of both volumes. Hartmann was a C19th English book collector, especially of French editions; then this work entered in the Silke Montague collection, as shown by stamps found above the Hartmann bookplates.

Barbou’s elegant edition of Caesar’s commentaries, with supplements by his general Aulus Hirtius. This was part of a library of the classics prepared for this publisher by A.U. Coustellier; the catalogue as of 1755 is found at the end of the second volume here. For the aid of the book-collector, a list of editions of Caesar, from the first, Rome, 1469 (now Goff C16) onwards, is added to the works.



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.

BUDÉ, Guillaume

BUDÉ, Guillaume. Libri V. de asse, et partibibus eius.

 Venice, In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae Asulani soceri, 1522.


4to, ff. (xii) 263 (i), aa8 2b4 a-t8 u6 A-N8. Italic letter, some Greek, a little Roman. Aldine device on title and final leaf, light dampstain to lower fore-corner of d1 onwards but generally clean, nineteenth century vellum, spine gilt-tooled with gilt black morocco lettering label. Very occasional light soiling and thumb marks. An impressively clean, crisp and wide-margined copy; a beautiful sample of what an Aldine edition is, printed on excellent thick, fresh and immaculate paper.

First and only Aldine edition of this work concerning Roman coinage, weights, and measures written by the French humanist Guillaume Budé. This is the third edition, which was revised and emended by the author (first edition printed in Paris in 1514; second in 1516). De Asse contributed to the popularity of “Budaues”, as he stylised his Latin name according to the humanist fashion of the time. This essay on measures included also a plea for humanistic studies to accompany study of the Bible and theology. Similar pleas were being made by many other contemporary authors, Erasmus and Thomas More just to mention two among the most important. Jean Grolier (1479-1565) a noted bibliophile, obtained a copy of the book and sent it to Francesco Asula, an associate of the famous printer Aldus with a letter detailing how it wanted it to be printed and published. 

Provenance: George Fortescue, of Boconnoc and Dropmore (1791-1877), blindstamped arms (and ink shelfmark “102 V”) on upper cover.

Adams B3101; Ahmanson-Murphy 212; Renouard 94:3.


ARISTOPHANES. Kōmōdiai endeka. [Comoediae undecim]

Leiden, Ex Officina Plantiniana, Apud Christophorum Raphelengium,…, 1600.


12mo, pp. (iv) 620, A-G8 H4 I-Z8 a-q8 s2 (wanting A3 and final blank). Greek letter, sporadic Roman. Plantin device on title page and autograph of the English courtier Sir Robert Stapylton (1607-69)), dated 1654, plus another early autograph. Bookplate of the Right Honourable John Hookham Frere (1769-1846) on front pastedown. Slightly trimmed, annotated and underlined throughout with pencil, lightly browned and dampstained, leaves m2, n2 and o with marginal worm tracks and occasional minimal affection of text; q with part of upper margin torn apart with loss of a few letters. Faded pencil annotations on front and rear endpapers, marbled pastedowns. In a late elaborate mid C18th silver binding with floral motives, boards covered in scarlet velvet, clasps and catches. An interesting yet slightly defective copy in a remarkable binding and with a prestigious provenance.

An acclaimed and attractive pocket edition of the plays and dramas of Aristophanes printed at the Plantin Press. Aristophanes was the greatest of the Athenian comic dramatists and one of her greatest poets. For richness and fertility of imagination probably only Shakespeare is comparable and Aristophanes’ direct influence on English literature was considerable; the comedies of Jonson, Middleton and Fielding derive from him. Apart from constituting one of the surviving glories of Hellenic culture Aristophanes’ comedies are an invaluable source for its social history. His surviving plays, out of a probable forty or fifty, provide us with an accurate if satirical commentary on the political, religious, sexual, economical and domestic life of Athens over a period of thirty six years. His changes in style and content match the concurrent constitutional and social changes in the State itself. The plays’ themes are invariably contemporary, a mocking mirror to the condition of the city. This edition has the benefit of the scholia of Thomas Magister, John Tzetzes and Demetrius Triclinus themselves incorporating much of the more ancient commentaries of Appolonius, Callimaches, Didymus and others, which were superseded in later editions by much newer but also much inferior work.

 Adams A1717




OVID. Metamorphoses argumentis brevioribus ex Luctatio grammatico collectis expositae, una cum vivis singularum transformationum iconibus in aes incisis.

Antwerp, Ex officina Plantiniana, Apud viduam, & Joannem Moretum, 1591.


FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION. Oblong 8vo, pp. 361 (xxiii), A-Z8, a8, final blank. Italic letter, some Roman, sporadic Greek. Title within elaborate engraved border divided in four sections with figurative scenes from the poem, portrait of the author and 178 full-page plates; plate number 176 (p. 357) bears the signature of the artist Pierre Van der Brocht. Printer’s device on Z5 showing God’s right hand descending from the heavens and holding a compass with motto in cartouche: “labor et constantia”. Clean tear from top towards centre of leaf to Q3, small wormholes to lower margin of final quires, no loss of text. Each leaf of the book is alternated with a blank leaf on which appears a ms. C19th English translation, or paraphrase, of Lactantius’s “argumentum”, or abstract, up to Fable IX, Book 1. In C19th half calf and marbled paper over boards, brass clasp and catch, gilt spine with title and initials “J.B.”

This 16th century Antwerp production weds Ovid’s Metamorphoses with grammatical explanations in order to teach Latin to the young. The text is an anonymous adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which was first attributed to pseudo-Donatus and then to pseudo-Lactance. In the manuscript books of the Middle Ages, it is sometimes drawn close to the Ars Minor, which was written by the grammarian Aelius Donatus. The dedication of the printer addresses two young children, Luis and Martin Perez de Baron.

Adams, O504; Belgica Typographia, 3913; BRETZIGHEIMER, Studien zu Lactantius Placidus und der Verfasser der Narrationes Fabularum Ovidianarum, 1937; Delen II, 92-93; Funck 374-375; F.W.H. HOLLSTEIN, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts Vol. III, 100 nrs. between 200-377; Rooses, p. 263; STC Dutch, p. 164.