Phylostratus de vita Apollonii Tyanei.

[Lyon], [G. Huyon], [1504].


8vo. 210 unnumbered ff., *4 a-z8 A-B8 C6. Italic letter, occasional Roman. General light age yellowing, tiny marginal worm trail with fractional loss to first gathering, intermittent small marginal water stains, the odd interlinear ink burn, marginal repair to lower outer corner to few ll. (d2, f2, t-t2) not affecting text, vertical tear to lower margin to one fol. with no loss. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in C16 French or Netherlandish calf, triple blind rule to upper and lower outer edge, fleurons within diaper pattern to outer panel, central panel within triple blind-tooled rule border, blind-tooled monogram at foot (binder’s device?) supported by eagles, St Peter standing within an arch and landscape with stars alone, gauffered edges gilt. Spine restored, curiously blind-tooled, later label. Occasional early annotations, early ex-libris ‘Johannes Jolivet’, autograph ‘Andeas Chippard 1620’, ‘JC Gaupontine’ (?) to t-p, mottos ‘Virtus in infirmitate perfuncta’, ‘Soins et paix’, ‘Omnia virtuti debere’ to t-p and last, early ms price to fep, inscriptions ‘DSC’ and ‘Lex Immacolata convertens animas, testimonium domini fidele sapientiam presentans parvulis’ [Psalm 18:8] in early hands to rear pastedown.

The binding design, inspired by Books of Hours, is frequent in early C16 France and Flanders. It appears in Goldschmidt, I, 177-78 and II, XXII, BL c35c5, Davis III, 364, and Goldschmidt I, 184-85, produced in France between 1505 and the mid-1520s. The figurative style points to a possible Netherlandish influence, as in BL Egerton 3311, dating to the same years.

Very good, crisp copy of Philostratus’s ‘De vita Apollonii Tyanei’, printed probably in Lyons and edited by the humanist Filippo Beroaldo. Philostratus (c.170/172–247/250) was a Greek sophist who studied in Athens and later settled in Rome, where he joined the intellectual circle of Julia Domna, wife of Emperor Septimius Severus and mother to Caracalla. For the Empress he authored five works, including the influential ‘Lives of the Sophists’. ‘De vita’ narrates the life and travels of the Pythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana (c.40-c.120), with stories of marvellous cities, kings, Brahmins, Gymnosophists, and dragons. These accounts were an opportunity to depict the Mediterranean world of the Roman Empire as well as distant places like Babylonia, Ethiopia and India. In the dedication to the Count of Milan, Apollonius’s peregrinations are presented as a subject both pleasing and educational.

The text is based on Alamanno Rinuccini’s translation from the Greek edited by Filippo Beroaldo, professor of rhetoric at Bologna, for the Faelli imprint of 1501. The edition features the same italic characters used in counterfeit Aldine editions printed in Lyons, whilst Aldus’s papal privilege for the use of his types was still in force. Most of these editions were destined to the Italian market; but their distribution in France increased after 1510. 

The remarkable provenance can probably be traced to Jean Jolivet (1510-74), priest at Limoges and cartographer to Francis I. He was the author of the ‘Nouvelle description des Gaules’ (1560), a famous map designed ‘for visiting the realms and provinces’ of France, hence for travelling. The map, signed ‘Joannes Jolivet’, was included in Ortelius’s ‘Theatrum orbis terrarum’.

André Chippard was lawyer at Parliament in the 1610s and 1620s, and younger brother of the more famous lawyer Nicolas Chippard, Gran Seigneur de la Maison de Chippard, Nanteuil, and Cramailles. Their library contained numerous legal mss and books belonging to Nicolas, but also literary and historical works belonging to André, including Münster’s ‘Dictionarium Chaldaicum’, Statius’s ‘De Clitophontis et Leucippes’, and Ausonius’s ‘Imperatorum et Caesarum Vitae’. The library was probably transferred to Gabriel Chassebras, Nicolas’s son-in-law, and eventually dispersed. 

USTC 848071; BM STC Fr. p. 350; Ren. 307:16; Brunet IV, 621: ‘édition imprimée avec les mêmes caract. italiques que les contrefaçons aldines sorties des presses lyonnaises: elle renferme la version lat. d’Alamannus Rinuccius, reémpr. non sur l’édition d’Alde des deux éditions de Phil. Beroualde de Bologne, 1501 et 1504, in-fol., dont elle reproduit même la préface’. Not in Dibdin.


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