ON THE VIRTUES OF FRIENDSHIP
Toxare ou de l’amitié, dialogue non moins prouffitable que joyeux. Traduit du grec de Lucian par Claude Dupuys parisien, professeur de Messieurs de Louvain
Antwerp, Ian Waesberge, 1563.
FIRST EDITION thus, 4to. ff. (xlvi). Roman and italic letter, printed italic side notes, manuscript ex-libris on title page: « H-I.V La… », early printed library label “Philologi XXVI” on fly, floral and historiated initials, title within splendid architectural border, spots on gutter of A4 verso and B1 recto. A very good copy crisp and clean, in contemporary limp vellum over boards remain of ties, red edges, spine torn on the upper joint at head, stitching slightly loose, vellum manuscript internal stub.
Rare first edition of this early French translation of Toxaris by Claude Dupuy, the second after Jehan Millet’s translation of 1551. Lucian, Greek satirist of the silver age, is the author of some eighty prose pieces including satirical dialogues and fantastic tales, showing his wit and inventiveness as well as his hatred of cant, hypocrisy, and fanaticism, especially in religion and philosophy. He was the first Greek author translated by Erasmus and Thomas More. In the mid C16 he was an intellectually fashionable author, but a controversial one, as he was well-known to be an atheist. Bacon himself called Lucian a contemplative atheist, and as such Lucian evidently interested David Hume, who described him as a very moral writer, and quoted him with respect when discussing ethics and religion.
The main point of the present text is to praise friendship. Lucian begins with Mnesipe, a Greek and Toxaris, a Scythian. Toxaris presents Scythian relationships as the model of friendship; loyalty has a great place in the Scythian culture. As a counterpart Mnesipe describes tales of friendship between Greeks. Dupuy in his argument tells stories of how different characters in the tales overcome obstacles with the strength of friendship: “Lesquel estant ensemble conioints pars le lien d’amitié, font tombez en tresgrands dangez & inconveniens merveilleux, esquelz ilz ont enduré extresmes peines & griefz tournentz”.
Dupuy Claude (1545-1594), jurist and historian and relative of the great humanist Jacques-Auguste de Thou, was taught at Paris by Turnèbe and Jacques Cujas. He was councilor at the Parliament of Paris. He was also a bibliophile: one of the most valuable early medieval manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale, known as the Codex Putaneus, was in his collection. However, according to C. Lauvergnat-Gagnière the translator could also be a different Claude Dupuys, a professor of literature at the university of Louvain, as she states the jurist Claude Dupuy could not have been in Louvain at this time.
Cioranesco, 288. Not in the Belgica Typographica, Adams, Brunet, Court, Knapen, BB, Machiels, Matagne or STC Dutch.