ESTIENNE’S ETHICS OF ARISTOTLE

Decem librorum Moralium Aristotelis, tres conversiones. Prima Argyropili Byzantij, secunda Leonardi Aretini, tertia vero antiqua per capita et numeros conciliate: communi, familiarique commentario ad Argyropilium adiecto. Ex secunda recognitione.

Paris, Henri Estienne, 1505.

£3,250

Folio. ff. (210). a-p8 q6; a10; a-d8, e4; A-D8, E6. Lettre Batard, some Greek. Title printed in red within beautiful decorative woodcut border in black incorporating the arms of the University of Paris, capital spaces with guide letters, small woodcut diagrams and tables, “Sum Rimoldi van Nyevelaer fuisco discensis medici. Non est mortale quod opto. A° 1605” manuscript on title “Nunc Carmelilarum Thenensium. Ex liberali dono R. D Joˆis Hemelarii, Canonici Antwerpiensis Anno 1635. 18 Septemb. orate pro eo” beneath, contemporary marginal annotations, title page dusty, occasional light dust soiling in upper margin in places, old repair to extreme lower outer corner of title and next eight leaves, light water stains in margins in a few places. A very good copy, on thick, crisp paper with good margins, some lower margins untrimmed, in modern calf antique, all edges red.

Extremely rare edition of the of Ethics of Aristole published for the University of Paris, printed here for the first time by Henry Estienne, from the unfindable incunable edition of Jean Higman and Wolfgang Hopyl, 1497. The work is divided into four parts, including three different Latin translations of the Nicomachean Ethics, the third translation (attributed to Grosseteste) is sometimes attributed wrongly to Henricus Krosbein, the other two are by Leonardo Aretino and Joannes Arguropoulos with Lefèvre d’Etaples’ and Giorgio Valla’s commentary. The work also includes a short poem by Baptista Mantuanus. Panzer states that Henri Estienne might have been involved with the printing of the 1497 version of this text as he is thought to have begun his illustrious career at Hopyl’s press.

This is one of the first major works published separately by Henri Estienne (there is as yet no indication of his name on the title) and as such is one of the foundation stones of French scholarly printing and marks the beginning of Aristotelian humanism in France; the Estienne family would continue this tradition for the next 160 odd years. Henri Estienne worked chiefly in collaboration with three scholars, Charles Boville, Josse Clictou and most particularly Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples all of whom were associated with the University of Paris. Lefevre d’Etaples commentary was the most influential and important of the time in France and firmly established Aristotelian Humanism at the heart of the French curriculum. Henri Estienne’s press is not as reputed as his son’s for the beauty of their typography, though his works are finely printed, but he made major advances in the quality and accuracy of his printing.

This work is rare, Worldcat gives six locations only and no copy has appeared at auction according to Abpc. The Johannis Hemelarii, who donated this book to the Carmelites of Thenenses, was the author of “Imperatorum Romanorum numismata aurea, arte in aes incisa” published at Antwerp in 1627. He corresponded regularly with Hugo Grotius who referred to him in his correspondence as ‘doctissme’, or ‘eruditissime’. We have been unable to find the Van Nyevelaer who was the earlier owner of this work. His motto, taken from Ovid’s story of Phaethon, was also used by Jonathan Swift in conjunction with his ms. ex-libris. A very good copy of this important, rare and beautifully printed work.

Not in BM STC Fr. C16. I. A. 107.725. Renouard p. 3 no. 4. Cranz-Schmitt, p. 5. Not in Brunet or Dibdin.

L972a

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