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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
ARISTOTLE (Figliucci, Felice, Ed.). Tradottione antica de la Rettorica d’Aristotile…
Padua, per M. Giacomo Fabriano, 1548.
8vo, ff. (viii) 184, a8 A-Z8. Large vignette on t-p with personification of the goddess Fortune (a nude female body reclining on a dolphin at sea and holding a swelled sail). Italic, a little Roman. Capital spaces with small guide-letters. A few handwritten maniculae. T-p soiled, wormholes and tracking slightly affecting the lower inside part of the front cover, foot margin of t-p and first two leaves without text loss. Pages lightly browned to margins, rare light waterstains. Ink title on spine, rubbed caps, slightly damaged. In early limp vellum with yapp edges, remains of ties.
Felice Figliucci (1518-1595) was an Italian humanist, philosopher, and theologian. Born in Siena, he studied philosophy at the University of Padua, where he learned Platonism and Aristotelianism, joining these two thoughts as in the humanistic tradition established by Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, which effected the sixteenth-century Christian Neoplatonism. He devoted a good deal of his carrier to the edition of Ficino’s works. He was for a time in the service of Cardinal G. M. Ciocchi Del Monte, afterwards Pope Julius III. Figliucci promoted the Tuscan language and fostered its use in the translation of classics, considering it no less worthy than Latin. He attended the Council of Trent, which was transferred to Bologna in 1547, giving him so the opportunity to visit Padua frequently and work on his Tradottione, which was a present to his patron Del Monte. According to a spread literary topos of the time, in the preface to the work, this translation is given by Figliucci as the result of the learned efforts of an anonymous writer from Siena.
Only 5 copies known in the UK, according to COPAC (BL and UCL, in London; Manchester and Oxford universities, and one copy with the National trust)
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.
A SUMPTUOUS LARGE PAPER COPY IN A CONTEMPORARY RED MOROCCO BINDING
PINDAR. ΠΙΝΔΑΡΟΥ ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ ΝΕΜΕΑ ΠΥΘΙΑ ΙΣΘΜΙΑ = Pindari Olympia, Nemea, Pythia, Isthmia. Una cum Latina omnium Versione Carmine Lyrico per Nicolaum Sudorium.
Oxford, E Theatro Sheldoniano, 1697.
FIRST ENGLISH EDITION of the Greek text. Folio, pp. (xxxiv) 56, 59-497 (xciii) 77 (iii). Greek, Roman and Italic letter. Double-column text, single-column commentary; exceptionally well margined. Engraved frontispiece by M. Burghers with Pindar’s portrait within an oval coat of arms placed on a wide plinth inscribed with encomiastic Greek verses; to the sides, Apollo and Hermes laying a laurel crown on the head of the poet; above, an angel plays a trumpet while holding a palm branch in his other hand. Large title-page vignette, again by Burghers, of the goddess Athena as patron of the arts with her aegis (shield with the head of Medusa) and other artistic attributes; in the background, a view of Oxford and some of its iconic buildings, among them the Sheldonian. Endpapers and a few first and final leaves very slightly browned, negligible, and not affecting the beautiful and unstained initial illustrations; a few light thumb marks and some spotting or toning. In a sumptuous nearly contemporaneous gilt-ruled red morocco over thick boards, inner dentelles, lettered spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers with two C19th bookplates to the front (the earliest one is of the chief commander of the Greek freemasonry linked to the Supreme Council, 33°; the other one is probably linked to the Greek island of Chios). Joints and cover edges a little worn and rubbed, corners with signs of skilled restoration. A fresh, crisp, exquisitely clean and large paper copy in an elegant binding, a.e.g.
Large paper copy of this ‘excellent edition’ regarded as dated by Brunet but patriotically supported by Lowndes. This is the first English edition of the Greek text of Pindar, edited by Richard West and Robert Welsted, both then young fellows at Magdalen College (and both of whom left Oxford shortly afterward, West for the priesthood and Welsted for medicine). Pindar’s Epinician Odes, or odes on victory, were written in honour of the victors at the four great panhellenic Games, and are accordingly grouped as Olympian, Pythian, Nemeana and Isthmian. Pindar was held in great regard in Oxford in the second half of the seventeenth century, as this edition evidences. English Pindarics were also in vogue as one can see from the popularity of Cowley’s versions (Abraham Cowley, “Pindarique Odes” in “Poems” (London, 1656)). The continental influence of Pindar can be detected in such diverse work as Galileo Galilei’s introduction to Siderus Nuncius”. The present book includes the Latin verse translation by Nicolas Le Sueur (1545-1594) along with the Greek text, plus a Latin prose paraphrase, the Greek scholia, Latin notes, a chronology of the Olympiads, multiple ‘Lives’ of Pindar, and, in a section at the end, a collection of Pindaric fragments. Dibdin calls it ‘a beautiful and celebrated edition’.
ESTC R20960; Moss II 410; Dibdin II 289; Brunet IV, 659; Lowndes V, 1868; Wing P-2245.
CICERO, Marcus Tullius. Officiorum libri tres, Cato maior, vel De senectute, Laelius, vel De amicitia, Paradoxa stoicorum sex, Somnium Scipionis ex dialogis De republica. Cato item, et Somnium Graece, observationes.
Venice, apud Bartholomaeum Zanetum Casterzagensem, 1538.
8vo, ff. (xi) 129 (xi) 29 (i), a8 b4 A-I8 K4 L8 M10 N-O8 P4 Q10 R6 S4 T6 A-D8. Italic and Greek letter, some Roman. A student’s schoolbook copiously annotated by three different early hands at least. Sketch of a coat of arms enclosing a fountain and ownership notes on title page, of which the latest two, probably C17th and C18th, are easily readable (“Gabriel. Ottobon” and “Gioan Batista Fontana”). No pastedowns. Inner covers, front and rear endpapers show extensive annotations and scribbles, especially by Fontana, who left his purchase note, and several quotations and maxims from classical authors, such as Cicero, Pliny, Martial, Livy, Horace and Polydorus, mainly on Justice and moral teaching. Blank T6 bears register and imprint without date on recto, plus a couple of ms. acronyms and an enthusiastic note: “viva la signora Orsolina Barbaro mia patrona oservandissima”, which is written backwards in two different manners, exalting a certain lady Barbaro who seemed also to have been patron to this student. Imprint repeated in Greek also on last. Initial quires waterstained to lower outer margin, also affecting front cover, no text loss; final quires with waterstaining to lower outer page corners. In contemporary limp vellum, visible ties, ink title to spine, caps slightly defective, lacking laces. An interestingly annotated copy in good condition.
This school handbook is a selection of Cicero’s works, which gathers together De officiis (On Duties or On Obligations), De senectute (On Old Age), De amicitia (On Friendship), Paradoxa stoicorum sex (Six Stoic Paradoxes) and the Somnium Scipionis (The Dream of Scipio), which is a part of the sixth book of De re publica (On the Republic, which is mostly no longer extant); plus the editor’s observations. A Greek translation of De senectute and the Somnium are found at the end. De officiis is divided into three books, which expound Cicero’s conception of the best way to living, behaving, and observing moral obligations. The essay was written in the form of a letter to his son Marcus. De senectute is also called the Cato Maior. In order to lend his reflections greater import, Cicero wrote his essay such that the esteemed Cato the Elder was lecturing to Scipio Africanus and Gaius Laelius. In De amicitia, Cicero writes about his own experience with friendship. Cicero ponders the meaning of friendship by using the relationship between Scipio Afriacanus and Laelius to expound his views. The Paradoxa Stoicorum attempts to explain six famous Stoic sayings that appear to go against common knowledge. Lastly, Scipio’s dream is a fictional vision of victory against the Punics set two years before general Scipio oversaw the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC. The book also includes an initial letter from the editor, the humanist Paolo Magnolo, to his addressee, the Bishop of Brescia Andrea Cornelio. Magnolo’s “observationes” contain all Cicero’s references to Greek authors, such as Plato, Aristotle and Xenophon. Most of these are based on the excellent earlier Aldine editions on the orator’s works.