HYGINUS et al.

HYGINUS. Fabularum liber eiusdem poeticon astronomicon, libri quatuor. Quibus accesserunt similis argumenti [with] PALEPHATUS, De fabulosis narrationibus, liber I. [with] FULGENTIUS placiadis episcopi Carthaginensis mythologiarum, libri III. [with] Id. De vocum antiquarum interpretatione, liber I. [with] ARATUS, Phainomenon fragmentum, Germanico caesare interprete. [with] PROCLUS De sphaera libellus, Graece & Latine.

Basel, Johann Herwagen, 1535.




SOLD £ 3,500


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. [xxiv], 246, [ii], α-γ6 b-d6 e8 f-k6 l4 m-p6 q4 r-x6. Roman letter, a little Italic, the sporadic Greek type. Printer’s device on t-p and verso of final blank leaf. 48 astrological woodcut illustrations and numerous decorated initials. Title page with early autograph (“Presbiteri Georgii…”), partially erased. Printed on thick paper, nice wide margins, some very light browning or spotting. Wrapped with transparent plastic film, bound in C19th quarter orange paper, with boards covered in marbled paper, ms. title to worn spine, upper part of fore-edge with negligible signs of gnawing. Fragile joints, however very clean and complete. A very good copy.


This is the first edition of this famous collection of late antique works on astronomy and mythography. This edition comes from Herwagen’s Basel press, which included a number of important texts about ancient myths in its catalogue.


Gaius Julius Hyginus was prefect of the Palatine Library between the first century BC and the first century AD. This Latin author is famous for this collection of some 300 fables about constellations and their mythological origins.


The Phaenomena of Aratos (fl. 275 A.D.) are of particular importance for their influence on Roman and Renaissance culture. Similarly, Fulgentius’s Mythologicon, a C6th work, had a great influence especially on the iconography of Renaissance art. At the end of the book is Proclus’s (410-85 A.D.) work on the sphere. The beautiful woodcut illustrations, in the manner of Weiditz, represent the Planets and the Zodiac.


BM, German Books S. 427. Zinner 1592.