HERODOTUS; SALIAT, Pierre (tr.). Les neuf livres des histoires de Herodote.
Paris, Estienne Groulleau, 1556.
FIRST EDITION. Folio, ff. (iv) 243, a4 a-z6 A-R6 S4, lacking final blank. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut device on t-p, large historiated initials, and headpieces. Soiled t-p, partially backed, repairs to margins, early autograph in elegant handwriting; repair to blank margin of second leaf, light soiling, clean tear to top of S1 (no loss), occasional browning, otherwise a good and crisp copy, bound in a sympathetic modern calf binding, label red morocco gilt. Contemporary French ownership inscriptions to title-page, two further old inscriptions of William Steven and George Turner, manuscript addition in French to recto of third leaf recapping the life of the Greek historian.
First French edition of the Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, the great Greek historian who lived in the fifth century before Christ. The ‘Histories’ is a comprehensive early account of the war between the barbarians and Greeks, which took place during a two-hundred-years period from King Gyges of Lydia to the conquest of Sestos by the Athenians in 478 B.C. The humanist Pierre Saliat (fl. 1537-56) translated this work in French for the first time. The first three books were published in 1552. Saliat also translated works of Aristotle, Cicero, Erasmus, Philo of Alexandria, and Sallust. The present work also included a translation of an appendix by a fifteenth-century Byzantine scholar, George Gemistus Plethon. New editions of Saliat’s Herodotus were issued in 1575 and 1580. The book was a source for Montaigne’s “Essais” (see Joseph de Zangroniz, “Montaigne, Amyot et Saliat”, Paris 1906, pp.102-4).
Bibliography: Adams H410. BMCSTC French 223.