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)

CARO, Annibale [with] CASTELVETRO, Ludovico


CARO, Annibale. Apologia de gli Academici di Banchi di Roma, contra messer Lodovico Castelvetro da Modena. In forma d’uno spaccio di maestro Pasquino, con alcune operette incluse, Del Predella, Del Buratto, Di ser Fedocco. … [with] CASTELVETRO, Ludovico, Ragione d’alcune cose segnate nella canzone d’Annibal Caro. Venite a l’ombra de gran gigli d’oro.

 Parma, appresso Seth Viotto, 1573.


8vo, two works in one volume, Roman and Italic letter, head- and tailpieces. 1) ff. (viii) 120, †8 A-P8. First word of title within headpiece, vignette of an unicorn confronting snakes, verso of t-p with large vertical device showing a flintlock for rifles and, above, a broken spear and a knotted rope with motto: “vim vi”. 2) †4A-Y8 Z4 (S2r blank, last three leaves of first quire † with the table of contents bound at the end of the book). Title page with large vignette of a unicorn fighting snakes (one bears wings) within elaborate border and the Farnese family motto: “virtus securitatem parit”, Fletcher’s autograph repeated; verso of t-p with Castelvetro’s device: an owl perched on top of a toppled urn with the Greek inscription “KEKPIKA”, “I have judged” (Tung, 1110). The image closely resembles the figure on the reverse of the Athenian “New Style” tetradrachm (on this, see Amaral, Jr., 388-390). In worn C19th calf over boards, spine richly gilt with lettering on red morocco label. Fresh and clean copies of two interesting second editions.

Annibale Caro (1507-66) was a man of letters who long served the Farnese, the rulers of Parma. In 1553, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese requested that he wrote a song in praise of the royal house of France, which was published with the title Venite all’ombra dei gran gigli d’oro (“Come to the shade of the great golden lilies”). The humanist Ludovico Castelvetro (1505-71), a sympathizer of the Reformation close to the heterodox circle of Modena, who later joined the Italian Protestants emigrated to Switzerland, soon opposed Caro’s song. This originated a twenty-year dispute, which involved aspects of the contemporary debates on language and literary models. Caro initially ignored Castelvetro’s criticism, publishing also a commentary on his song. However, Castelvetro reiterated his negative judgment in his Replica to the commentary and in other short texts, which caused Caro to publish his Apologia in 1558. This work was a violent polemic and attach to Castelvetro not only from a literary point of view, but also from a religious standpoint. Caro questioned the already dubious orthodoxy of his rival. Castelvetro replied in 1559 with his Ragioni. “Then Caro enlisted the support of Benedetto Varchi, who prepared a first draft of a response as early as 1560, but his dialogue, the Ercolano, remained unpublished until 1570. Varchi aimed at discussing broader issues of linguistic relevance, not at a mere refutation of Castelvetro’s arguments. But Castelvetro’s response, Correttione [1572], rejects Varchi’s position and indeed expands the controversy to include his handling of dramatic dialogue as a genre.” Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies: A-J, 2007, p. 406.

This copy has a notable provenance: it is from the library of the Scottish patriot Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1655-1716), with his distinctive “Fletcher” signature on both title pages.

EDIT16, n. C-1623 de C-2012. BMC 150 (second work only). Adams C-739 (Only the first work). Gamba, 276 e 1297, notes. Razzolini, p. 88. Cfr. Tiraboschi, Biblioteca Modenese (I, 440 et seq.) and Storia della Letterat. ital. (VII, 1695 et seq.)


QUINTILIANUS, Marcus Fabius. Institutionum oratoriarum Libri XII.

Paris, Ex officina Roberti Stephani Typographi Regii, 1542.


4to, 551 (=651) (li), a-z8 A-Y8. Roman letter, very sporadic Greek type. Printer’s device on title page. Capital spaces with guide-letters. Slightly trimmed. Early marginalia in a clear Latin calligraphy and underlining by different hands, a few seemingly washed, or erased, in any case well faded. Occasional recent pencil marks. In a modern straight-grain gilt morocco binding, fleurons at centre of covers and borders, spine in compartments with alternate pattern of fleurons and dices, dentelle borders, a.e.r.. A fine copy.

This is Robert Estienne’s edition of the Institutes of Oratory in twelve volumes by the Spanish-born Roman rhetorician Quintilian (ca. 35-100 AD), which is one of the most renowned and popular works on the theory and practice of oratory. The work had an incredible influence, especially during the Renaissance, on Western tradition of political oratory. In Rome Quintilian met with great success as a teacher and was the first rhetorician to set up a genuine public school and to receive a salary from the State. He continued to teach for twenty years and among his pupils were Pliny the Younger and the two sons of Domitilla, the sister of Domitian. As a stylist, though he is often difficult owing to compression and the epigrammatic turn which he gives his phrases, he is never affected or extravagant. He is still under the influence of the sound traditions of the Ciceronian age, and his Latin is silver-gilt rather than silver. His Institutio Oratoria, despite the fact that much of it is highly technical, has much that is of interest to‑day, even for those who care little for the history of rhetoric. Notably in the first book his precepts as regards education have lasting value: they may not be strikingly original, but they are sound, humane and admirably put. In the more technical portions of his work he is unequalled; the reader feels that he cares but little about the minute pedantics of rhetorical technique, and that he lacks method in his presentation of the varying views held by his predecessors. But once he is free of such minor details and touches on themes of real practical interest, he is a changed man. He is very eloquent, and always vigorous and sound, while throughout the whole work he keeps the same ideal unswervingly before him.

Adams Q64




Köln, Excudebat Ioannes Gymnicus, 1543.


8vo, 32 unnumbered leaves, A-B8 Γ-Δ8. Predominantly Greek type, very little Roman and Italic. One woodcut initial. A few early marginalia in Greek (emendations), small repair to margin of B1. Page edges slightly worn and soiled. In modern blue half morocco and marbled paper over boards, lettered in gilt to spine, two raised bands.

Isocrates, (436-338 BCE), ancient Athenian orator, rhetorician, and teacher whose writings are an important historical source on the intellectual and political life of the Athens of his day. The school he founded differed markedly in its aims from the Academy of Plato and numbered among its pupils. “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 and Adams. Hoffman vol. II, p. 746.


DIO CHRYSOSTOMUS. Logoi 80. Dionis Chrysostomi Orationes LXXX. Apposita est in extremo libro varietas lectionum, cum orationum indice.

Venice, Apud Federicum Turrisanum [1551?].


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, ff. 451 (5), A-3L8. Greek type, a little Roman. Aldine device on t-p, several fine decorated strapwork initials. Ms. note reporting “Editio Prima” on verso of second front flyleaf and other details concerning this edition. Extensive marginalia in Greek and Latin throughout. Rare occasional waterstaining and some spotting, yet pages appear rather clean and unspotted. Margins slightly trimmed. Detached bookplate showing the crest of the Clan Scott. In contemporary limp vellum, visible ties, damaged headcap with vellum fragment torn away, remains of laces.

First edition of this important collection of orations. The ancestor of the Roman historian Cassius Dio (155-235 BC), Dio Chrysostomus was a Greek historian and man of letters born in Prusa (now Bursa), Bithynia (now a part of Turkey), in 40 BCE within in a powerful and rich family. He died in ca. 115. His nickname was Chysostomus, literally “golden-mouthed”, by virtue of his eloquence. He became a Roman citizen earning the surname of Cocceianus after his connection with Marcus Cocceius Nerva, the famous Emperor, whose family offered him patronage. The orator Philistratus (170-247 BC) is our main source on Dio’s life and career. In his Lives of the Sophists, he referred to Dio as a sophist, a master of language, skilled in the art of rhetoric and philosophy. His most renowned oration is In Praise of Hair. The present work was edited by Federico Torresano, one of Andrea’s sons, being his brother Giovan Francesco, who both took over the successful Manuzio-Torresano partnership in 1533 and continued the printing and editorial activity of classics, holding to the exclusively humanistic address of the firm, under the denomination of “haeredes Aldii Manutii Romani et Andrea Asulani soceri”. Federico Torresano dedicated this work to Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, as his dedicatory letter at the beginning of this collection of speeches makes clear. Rodolfo was son to Alberto III Pio, Prince of Carpi, whose maternal uncle was the great humanist Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. In the introductory letter, Federico Torresano points out the common effort made by Alberto and Aldo Manuzio the Elder to foster the publication of the Greek classics. Aldo Manuzio was mentor to Alberto, who helped him fund the most important and productive printing house of the Italian and European Renaissance, established in Venice in 1494.

Adams D500; Brunet, II, p.714: “Edition rare, la première de cette auteur”



CAVALCANTI, Bartolomeo

CAVALCANTI, Bartolomeo. La retorica…Divisa in sette libri: dove si contiene tutto quello, che appartiene all’arte oratoria. Con le postille di m. Pio Portinaio.

Pesaro, Per Bartolomeo Cesano, 1559.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. (xii) 563 (i), +6 A-2L8 2M10. Italic letter, a little Roman. Woodcut printer’s device on title-page (a snake wreathed in a flame biting the index finger of a hand descending from a cloud – the right hand of God – with motto “così a ciascun nocente/sì come qui al serpente”, that is, “may it be harmful to anyone [to go against the divine will], in the same way it does here to the snake [representing sin/temptation burning in fire]”). Historiated initials, head- and tailpieces. T-p little soiled, text block lightly and evenly yellowed throughout because of long exposure to damp, visible unstained areas to the head of some leaves. Notwithstanding, this copy is clean and crisp. In modern half red morocco, boards covered in marbled paper, gilt label to spine.

This work on rhetoric was first published in the same year by Giolito de’ Ferrari in Venice. Bartolomeo “Baccio” Cavalcanti (1503-62) was a Florentine diplomat, humanist, and philologist, who made acquaintance with Machiavelli during his youth. Baccio fully embraced Machiavelli’s political thought, which was informed by republican ideas of classical inspiration and realism. A very practical philosophy shaped Baccio’s interventionist view, which appeared frustrated by the troublesome international politics of his age. Invasions, wars, and upheavals tormented the Italian states repeatedly, which were powerless and at the mercy of the great European monarchies. La Retorica was Baccio’s most successful work, which he started to compose during his exile from Florence, while staying between the Estense court of Ferrara and the Studium of Padua. Baccio and other eminent figures within the Florentine political scenario were forced into exile because of the internal strife of the city, divided between the supporters of republican aspirations and the ducal party backing the rule of de’ Medici family. The writer started this long undertaking in the early 1540s. La Retorica is dedicated to his patron Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, who strongly insisted that he endeavoured either the translation of Aristotle’s Rhetoric, or a new book on rhetoric. Baccio’s choice fell on the latter option and one can notice that his Rhetoric mirrors the debate originated with the fifteenth-century blossoming of philology, which was about whether dialectic and rhetoric do coincide. Angelo Politian already discussed this issue from an aesthetic point of view. Unlike the Venetian scholars of the University of Padua, Baccio Cavalcanti considers rhetoric a crucial ornament of language. All orators, men of the world, and politicians should practice this art, which is essential to the education of those people who are meant to run the state. Therefore, the Aristotelian ethics, the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum, the works of Cicero, Quintilian and Hermogenes, must be studied by diplomats and official spokesmen, whose main role is to persuade or dissuade from taking action. This work represented the swan song of triumphant Machiavellianism.

Adams C1176


[CHINA] – CASTILLON, Jean. Anecdotes, chinoises, japonoises, siamoises, tonquinoises, &c., Dans lesquelles on s’est attaché principalement aux moeurs, usages, coutumes, &religions de ces différens peuples de l’Asie.

Paris, Chez Vincent, 1774.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, pp. 422 + 234 + 52 + 32. Roman letter, a little italic, headpieces. In contemporary mottled calf, slight wearing at corners and mild rubbing to board edges, raised bands on gilt spine in six compartments, title on red morocco label, marbled pastedowns. Quires C and D a little browned, occasional light yellowing of page edges, light dampstaining to upper corner of last two gatherings. An exceptionally fine copy, a.e.r.

First edition of this work divided in four parts respectively devoted to China; Japan; Siam, Tonkin and Cochinchina; and a last section on the peoples and kingdoms of “la presqu’isle au-delà du Gange”: Laos and Cambodia.

Barbier I, 179.