DIODORUS SICULUS. Bibliothecæ historicæ libri quindecim de quadraginta (gr.)

[Genève], Excudebat Henricus Stephanus, illustri viri Huldrici Fuggeri typographus, 1559.


EDITIO PRINCEPS. Folio, pp. (xii) 847 (i), *6 a-3g8. Greek letter, some Roman, a little Italic. Large printer’s device vignette on t-p, decorated initials. Very occasional marginal light spotting and small dampstaining; some very light age yellowing on rather wide and nice clean margins. Autograph of the Dutch humanist Gerhard Falkenburg (ca. 1538-78), native of Nijmengen, and other two early autographs on t-p. Bookplate of “J. Wilcocks, Esq; Barton-Segrave, near Kettering, Northamptonshire” on front pastedown. Long ms. owner’s annotation on verso of t-p by the cleric Abraham Franck (1685-1733) – Trinity College Fellow, deacon of Ely and rector of West Dene in Wilthsire – praising William Cheyne (1657-1728), 2nd Viscount Newhaven, who donated the book to him, dated 4th August 1710, Chesham. Rebacked, bound in early gilt-ruled leather, title to spine. A very fine wide-margined copy.

Editio princeps of most of the Greek text (books 1-5 [represented as 1-6 in early eds., as 1 is in two parts], 11-15), books 16-20 only having been published by Oporinus in 1539. Contains many traditional forgeries, including Ctesias, and (in book 5) an account of the lost Historia Sacra of Euhemerus (c. 300 BC), with its “mythographic” but elaborately detailed descriptions of imaginary islands in the lower Red Sea. Latin preface devoted to the “typographus” Ulrich III Fugger, who edited the text. Fugger patronised the printing of many Classical editions. Diodorus Siculus flourished during the 1st century BC in Agyrium, Sicily. He was a Greek historian. The present work includes parts of his universal history. Known in Latin as Bibliotheca historica, it ranged from the age of mythology to 60 BC.

 Adams D472; Schreiber, The Estiennes, 147 (“A beautifully printed and impressive volume, in the tradition of the magnificient Greek folios printed by Robert Estienne in Paris.”); Bibliotheca Fictiva no. 9 (copy described).

ESTIENNE (Henri, ed.). Conciones…

ESTIENNE (Henri, ed.)Conciones sive orationes.

[Geneva], Excudebat Henricus Stephanus, 1570.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (xx) 288 (iv) 194, *4 A6 A4 B-V6 X-Y4 Z6 Aa-Bb6 Cc4 a-l6 m4 n-q6 r4. Two parts in one. Roman and Greek letter, a little Italic. Title page with large woodcut printer’s device, woodcut decorative initials, final f. blank. Armorial bookplate of Rowland Clegg Hill (1833-1895) on front pastedown. In early calf binding, skilfully rebacked and repaired. A copy in near excellent state, fresh and clean with nice wide margins, bound in a sumptuous late C17th gilt ruled leather binding with angular fleurons and elaborate oval decoration at centre of covers.

First edition of this digest, which includes examples of speeches from the works of Greek and Roman historians to be used in the instruction of lawyers and politicians, amongst others. Translations of texts are made by the humanists Lorenzo Valla, Francesco Filelfo and Angelo Poliziano, and Estienne himself. Authors include Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon and Tacitus. The Roman historians include also Sallust, Livy, Quintus Curtius, and Ammianus Marcellinus.

Adams C2487 (issue with pp.288: Renouard, Estienne, 133:3; Schreiber 176


Dionysii Alex. Et Pomp. Melae Situs Orbis Descriptio, Aethici Cosmographia. C.I. Solini Polyhistor. In Dionysii Poematium Commentariii Eusthathii: Interpretatio Eiusdem Poematii Ad Verbum, Ab Henr. Stephano Scripta: Necnon Annotationes. [DIONYSIUS PERIEGETES (Stephanus, Henricus, Ed.) [with] POMPONIUS MELA (Oliver, Pedro Juan, Ed.). Situs orbis descriptio. [with] PSEUDO-JEROME (Simmler, Josias, Ed.) Aethici cosmographia [with] SOLINUS, GAIUS JULIUS (Delrio, Martin, Ed.) Polyistor]

[Geneva], Excudebat Henricus Stephanus, 1577.


4to, (viii) 158 (xxiv) 47 (i) 152, ¶4 a-v44 ¶¶4 4 A-2B4. Greek and Roman letter, a little Italic. Decorated initials, headpieces, Estienne device on title page [Schreiber 18], double- and single-column text alternation. Gloddaeth library bookplate on front pastedown. T-p little soiled, some light age yellowing and thumb marks on margins throughout. Occasional ms. underlining. Bound in early full calf over boards, rebacked, somewhat worn on front covers, red morocco label to spine in compartments. A fine copy.

This beautiful edition is a collection of Ancient Greek and Latin texts on geography and cosmography. It includes the famous ethno-geographical description of the world written by the historian Dionysius Periegetes, which was first published by Robert Estienne in 1547, who was the father of Henry, the printer of this edition. This collection includes Pomponius Mela’s De situ orbis, the cosmography of Aethicus Ister, and Gaius Julius Solinus’s Polyistor, which is a description of the curiosities of the world compiled in Late Antiquity. Except for the geographical parts of Pliny’s Historia naturalis, in which Mela is cited as an important authority, the De situ orbis is the only formal treatise on the subject in Classical Latin. This appears here with a commentary by the Spanish humanist Pedro Juan Oliver. The Polyistor is provided with a commentary by the hand of the Jesuit Martin Delrio. The Cosmography, which was issued under the name of Aethicus, its protagonist, is probably the work of a C8th writer, known as Pseudo-Jerome, who was close to the court historiographers of the early Carolingian period. Dionysius Periegetes came from Alexandria and is believed to have written his description at the time of the Roman Emperor Adrian.

 Renouard, 145; Brunet II, 729; Adams D648; Chaix, 89; Schreiber, Mouson dôra, n°50.