Oratione di Cicerone, in difesa di Milone, tradotta di latino in uolgare da Giacomo Bonfadio.

Venezia, in casa de’ figliuoli di Aldo, 1554


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. ff. 38 (ii) [last two blank]. A-E8. Italic letter, preface in Roman. Woodcut Aldine device on title, repeated on verso of last, capital spaces with guide letters, bookplate with monogram P.T. on pastedown. Light age yellowing, very minor marginal stains in places, the odd marginal mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in early C19th tan calf, covers bordered with a single gilt rule, Aldine device gilt stamped at centres, spine gilt lettered in long, joints a little rubbed and cracked, a.e.r.

Excellent copy of the first edition of Jacopo Bonfadio’s translation into Italian of Cicero’s ‘Pro Tito Annio Milone ad iudicem oratio’ a speech made by Marcus Tullius Cicero on behalf of his friend Titus Annius Milo who was accused of murdering his political enemy Publius Clodius Pulcher on the Via Appia. Cicero wrote the speech in 52 BC. Jacopo Bonfadio (1508 – 1550) was an Italian humanist and historian. From 1532 he worked as secretary to various members of the clergy in Rome and Naples, however in 1540 gained employment in Padua with the son of Pietro Bembo where he met and became friends with the notable humanists of the time, including Annibal Caro. He gained fame from his poetry, and was invited to teach philosophy at the University of Genoa in 1544. While there he was commissioned to write a history of the Republic of Genoa since 1528. In 1550, he completed his history, however his writing angered some powerful Genoese families the Dorias, the Adornos, the Spinolas and Fieschi, who sought revenge for his daring to record and judge their actions. They accused him of sodomy, for which he was arrested, tried and condemned to death. He was beheaded, and his body was burnt. In the preface of this translation he claims to have made the translation of this oration ‘quasi col periodo della Luna’ or in the period of a month.

“Cicero’s speech in defence of Titus Annius Milo in April 52 B.C. the “Pro Milone”, was considered by many ancient authorities on Latin oratory, including Quintilian (40-118 A.D.), to be his masterpiece of forensic oratory. Although the final published version …, was never delivered in its present form, it is based on the speech which Cicero very courageously gave on the fourth day of Milo’s trial before a Forum packed with soldiers, and which he made in defiance of the wishes of the sole consul, Pompey, who had ensured the arraignment of Milo for the murder of the demagogue, Publius Clodius, under a new law “de vi” (‘concerning violence’), which he had just passed as part of a series of measures to clamp down upon the prevailing lawlessness which had been disfiguring the political scene in republican Rome for some years.” Sabidius ‘Cicero; Pro Milone’.

This beautifully printed Aldine is uncommon outside Italian libraries.

BM STC It C16th p. 180. Renouard 161:14. Adams C1893. Ahmanssom-Murphy 469. Schweiger II, 244.


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