Thabridgment of the histories of Trogus Pompeius.

London, in Fletestrete, nere vnto Sainct Dunstons churche, by Thomas Marshe, 1564.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. ff. [21], 57, 56-111, 103, 110, 112-136, 127, 125, 147, 147, 125, 144-147, 160-162,

173, 147, 152, 167-182 leaves. *-**8, A-O8, P8, Q-Y8, setting of last line of A3r with “it” spelling, and B5r catchword “vse”, the 2 blanks (*8 and **8) present. Black letter, some Italic and Roman. White on black woodcut floriated, criblé and historiated initials, occasional manuscript marginalia in several early hands in English (for example “Belinus magnus Kinge of Brittaine/This Brenus was Brother to Belgius or Bellinus” on P4v) and Latin, “Lyggon is the tru owner of this booke” in contemporary hand, crossed out on title, John Collinggridge in contemporary hand above, early manuscript notes on fly, manuscript quote from Ovid on verso of title “Si quoties peccat homines sua fulmina mittat, Jupiter, exiguo tempore inermis erit”, bookplate of the Porkington Library on pastedown. Light age yellowing, the rare marginal spot, ink splash or mark. A very good copy, with good margins, in early C19th calf, covers bordered with blind floral scroll, inlaid panels from an early C16th English binding with blind rolls of dragons and lions, and lattice stamps, at Cambridge by N. Spierinck. (See J B Oldham, English Blind-Stamped Bindings, ANf (2)`), spine with blind ruled raised bands, blind ruled in compartments, author and title gilt lettered. Inlaid panels a bit cracked.

Extremely rare first edition of this translation of Justinus by the great English translator Arthur Golding best, known for his hugely influential translation of Ovids Metamorphoses. Arthur Golding counted the Earl of Oxford and Sir Philip Sydney among his patrons, as well as the Earl of Leicester, to whom he dedicated his Metamorphoses. Golding’s initial prosperity did not last, despite his popularity as a translator and the huge quantity of his output; in 1593 he was briefly imprisoned for debt. Justinus was a second century Roman historian. He describes this, his most notable work, as a collection of the most interesting and important passages from Pompeius Trogus’ ‘Historiae philippicae et totius mundi origina et terrae situs’, written in the time of Augustus and now lost. This was a general history of those parts of the world that had come under the auspices of Alexander the Great, and takes as its main theme the Macedonian Empire founded by his father Philip. The last event it records (in Justinius’ version) is in 20 B.C. Through his frequent digressions, Justinus here produces not an epitome but rather a useful and sometimes elegant anthology based on the work. It was very popular in the Middle Ages, when the author was frequently confused with Justin Martyr.

“Among the most prolific of translators was Arthur Goulding, who is notable, not only for the high quality of his work, but also for the volume. He was responsible for at least 30 translations, many of which were very large, the greatest of them – Calvin’s sermons on Deuteronomy – running to 1248 pages in double columns. And examination of his output is revealing, for it gives us valuable information concerning the way in which he managed to produce such a large body of work. Golding was the son of one of the Auditors of the Exchequer. His place of education is unknown, but in the sixties he was receiver of the youthful Earl of Oxford, the ward of William Cecil, and it was to Cecil that Golding dedicated his early work … The next year (1564) another publisher printed a translation by Golding made from the Latin entitled ‘Thabridgment of the histories of Trogus Pompeius.’ Goulding had long vowed to dedicate this to the late Earl, but that no longer being possible, he offered it to the young Earl, whose love of history he records, and who he encourages to learn herein from the example of great men of the past. He has written it, he says, to eschew the vice of idleness and for love in his country. Again it made a sizeable volume of 380 pages quarto.”. Henry Stanley Bennett. ‘English Books & Readers, Volume 2.’

“Arthur Golding, in his epistle to the reader prefacing is 1564 Thabridgement of the histories of Trogus Pompeius, for example, claims the translation is ‘poor cloth’ compared with the ‘costly attire’ of the source text, ‘richly clad in Romayne vesture’. It’s worth, he says, is nevertheless not diminished in the translation any more than is a ‘pretious stone’ set in ‘brass or yron’.” Helen Hackett ‘Early Modern Exchanges: Dialogues Between Nations and Cultures, 1550-1750.’

This first edition is particularly rare, ABPC records no copy at auction since 1975.

ESTC S118539. STC 24290. Lowndes 1246. Ames 2786 (second 1570 edn. only) Not in Pforzheimer, or Grolier


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