PLUTARCH

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

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

£1500

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.

£950

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

TERENCE. Publii Terentii comoediae

Paris, e typographia regia, 1642.

£1000

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.

 

TACITUS

TACITUS, Cornelius. The Annales of Cornelius Tacitus: The Description of Germanie. Trans Richard Grenewey and Sir H. Seville.

London, Arnold Hatfield for John Norton, 1612.

4to. pp.[8], 271, [1]; [6], 12, 227, [3]. Roman letter, some Italic and sporadic Greek. Two titles and colophon. First title page with early autograph: “Th. Mostyn of Gloddaeth”. Gloddaeth Library label glued to front pastedown. Autograph of John Hurleston with mention of the purchase price of the book on top of dedication letter. Large historiated woodcut initials and tailpiece. Some worm tracks and small holes affecting the upper inner margins throughout and occasionally also the text, without any great loss. Text generally clean and crisp. Some very light dumpstaining to blank margins and upper outer corners, mostly at the beginning and end. A small hole due to candle burnt on the third leaf. Bound in worn contemporary full calf gilt. Red morocco label with gilt lettering to spine. A.e.b.. A fine copy.

This book contains the historical writings of the Roman historian Tacitus translated from Latin into English. The first part of the Annales tells the history of Rome until the age of Augustus. The second part is devoted to “The End of Nero and Beginning of Galba. Foure Bookes of the Histories of Cornelius Tacitus. The Life of Agricola. The fourth edition.”

ESTC S117625

HORSLEY, John

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

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

£600

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.

£2250

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

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

London, Printed for Nathaniel Thompson, 1680.

£1250

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

 

ISOCRATES

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

Ingolstadt, ex officina typographica Adami Sartorii, 1597.

£1100

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.

£5000

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

ARISTOPHANES. Kōmōdiai endeka. [Comoediae undecim]

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

£2000

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