A HUMANISTIC OWNERSHIP OF AN EDITIO PRINCEPS
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).