CICERO, Marcus Tullius

Epistole famigliari.

Venice, Paolo Manuzio, 1554-1555.

£1,750

8vo, ff. 319, [1]. Italic letter; large printer’s device on title and, within floral border with putti, on last; occasionally lightly age yellowed, light damp stain to lower gutter of a few central gatherings. A very good copy in contemporary rustic limp vellum, contemporary title inked on spine; pasted stubs from fourteenth-century ms, remains of ties; slightly worn; contemporary ex libris of ‘Pompeo del Capellan’ at foot of final verso and couple of marginalia in his hand; inscriptions, drawings and scribbles, partly faint, by other contemporary hands on front and rear endpapers and flys and formerly on covers.

An interesting copy of the earliest influential Italian translation of a masterpiece of Latin literature, first published by the Aldine press in 1545. The translator, Guido Logli from Reggio, was a man of letters in service of the Farnese family and acted as agent of Paolo Manuzio in contracting the publication of some works of Annibal Caro and Girolamo Ruscelli. This edition is part of the ambitious plan pursued by Paolo Manuzio to provide his readership with the complete works of Cicero not only in Latin, but also the Italian vernacular.

The vast corpus of Ciceronian Epistolae and Orationes was for a long time used as foundation texts in early modern schools. Indeed, this copy bears an inscription of the otherwise unknown ‘Pompeo de’ Capellan’, written in a childish hand and employing Venetian dialect (‘Questo libro siè de mi’). The other inscriptions, scribbles and drawings – some only visible under UV lamp – by Pompeo or slightly later students comprise try-outs of Latin alphabet, a passage from the prayer to Virgin Mary (‘sancta Maria ora pro nobis’) and a formal address for a letter in Italian vernacular (‘Al Mag.co sig.or Manoli amico et come patron mio sempre osser[vantissimo]’). A charming Italian Renaissance school-book.

BM STC It., 179; Adams, C 1985; Graesse, II, 185; Renouard, 161:16; Fontanini, I, 233-234.

ITALIAN

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STRABO

A GEOGRAPHY MANUAL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND ANCIENT GREECE

De situ orbis.

Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius, 1516.

£55,000

FIRST EDITION thus. Folio, pp. 348 (i.e. 366); Greek letter; Aldine device on title and final verso, elegant section titles, vine-work initials and head-pieces in red at beginning of each book; minor repair to title, light damp stains, mainly on gutter and upper margin; paper flaws on 65 just affecting a couple of letters. A very good, well-margined copy in nearly contemporary limp vellum, author’s name inked in Greek capitals along spine and fore-edge; slightly dust-soiled; Feltrinelli’s label on front pastedown and blind stamp on lower outer margin of front endpaper.

Editio princeps of one of the earliest and most influential geographical surveys of Antiquity. Scion of a prominent family of the Pontus region, Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 25 AD) travelled extensively through Southern Europe, North Africa and Middle East, mostly during the peaceful reign of Augustus. The Geography is his only surviving work and the first comprehensive account of the subject as known to his contemporaries.

The topography, geology, history and political features of the main regions of the Roman world are thoroughly described, relying on first-hand investigation and many Greek sources now lost, such as the writings of the first systematic geographer, Eratosthenes (c. 276 – 195/4 BC), and of Hipparchus (c. 190 – 120 BC). Above all, however, Strabo regards Homer as the most authoritative writer. Strabo’s descriptions of the Mediterranean regions, Asia Minor and Egypt are excellent, while those of Gaul and Britain are weaker. Almost unknown to the Romans, the Latin version of the Geography became the standard geographical reference work during the Middle Ages. Among many other significant remarks and hypotheses, Strabo was the first scholar to discuss in detail fossil formation and vulcanism (both in Book 3).

This editio princeps – beautifully enriched with section titles, capitals and head-pieces printed in red (an unusual feature for the Aldine press) – was accomplished by Benedetto Tirreno and Andrea Torresani, most likely with the help of Marco Musuro; the dedication to Alberto Pio of Carpi bears a touching encomium of Aldus, recently passed away. The text was drawn from a rather corrupted manuscript, now in the BnF (Par. gr. 1395). The enterprise was wholeheartedly encouraged by Jean Grolier, who urged Torresani to continue editing and publishing Greek and Latin classics, as Aldus had done throughout his career.

BM STC it., 648; Adams, S1903; Hoffmann III, 453; Renouard, 77:7; Brunet, V, 554; Graesse, VI, 505.

K49

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PEROTTO, Niccolò

INCUNABLE EDITION OF LATIN GRAMMAR IN CONTEMPORARY BINDING

Cornucopiae.

£29,500

FIRST ALDINE EDITION. Folio, pp. (lx) 642. Roman letter, a little Greek. Large initial letter of text in red and blue, rubricated initials thereafter, some text underlining in red and black. Contemporary and early marginalia in several North European hands, occasionally in red, systematic to first 60 pages, one index passage extensive, intermittent throughout. Autograph of Father Labe S.J. 1698, and manuscript inscription of an anonymous Jesuit College 1728, both on recto of first. Three words in tiny hand (directions to binder?) on blank of verso last. Stubs from c. 15th rubricated manuscript on vellum, vellum paste-downs from c. 14th (?) hymnal, decorated initials in red and blue, three line musical notation. Recto of first couple of leaves a bit soiled, marginal finger marks and corner repairs to first gathering and last, water or oil splashes to edges in some places and two pages of text. A good, well-margined, thick paper copy, used but unsophisticated in elaborate blind stamped pigskin over wooden boards, double panelled within two four-line borders, elaborately patterned tooling of various flowers in overall design, strap leather replaced, original brass clasps and hasps, one corner restored.

First Aldine edition of Perottus’ monumental work on the language and literature of classical Rome, in the form of a commentary on Martial’s epigrams. It was the greatest storehouse of linguistic material of its day, and the source-book for generations of Latin writers, including Calepine for his great dictionary. In his long preface, Aldus tells the reader that he sees it as his duty to protect the treasures of literature from the ravages of time. The text is numbered by both page and line so that it can correspond exactly with the comprehensive alphabetical index, the first time this had been done and in fact the invention of a modern scholarly system of reference (see F. Geldner, Inkunabelkunde, p. 69).

The errors found in revision were all listed to help the student. This edition also contains the first use (possibly with the Discorides) of Aldus’ third and most influential Greek type inspired by Marcus Mursurus and engraved by Francesco Griffo. “A massive encyclopaedia of the classical world. Every verse, indeed every word, of Martial’s text was a hook on which Perotti hung a densely woven tissue of linguistic, historical and cultural knowledge.” B. Ogilvie ‘The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe.’

The best early edition of one of the most significant works on antiquity in an impressive contemporary binding.

BMC V 561. Goff P.296. IGI 7428. Renouard 19:2 “Première édition d’une grande rareté”. Brunet IV 505 “Livre fort rare”.

L1739

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LEONICENO, Niccolò

A FIRST FORAY INTO THE STUDY OF SYPHILIS

Libellus de Epidemia, quam vulgo morbum Gallicum vocant.

Venice, Aldus Manutius, 1497.

£25,000

FIRST EDITION. 4to., 29 leaves, a-c8, d(4+1). Predominantly Roman letter, little Greek; lower outer corner of title slightly soiled, very light marginal water stains. A very good copy in old vellum, recased, gilt title and author’s name on front cover; five marginalia, including a scholarly cutting remark (slightly cropped), in same contemporary probably French hand at head of title ‘Est Meij Jo. Baptis. Loms[?]’.

First edition of the earliest scholarly account of syphilis, by Niccolò Leoniceno (1428-1524), a very influential physician, botanist and scholar of the Italian Renaissance. A skilled student of Greek, Leoniceno taught in Padua before settling in the university and court of Ferrara. Here, he accomplished pioneering translations of the Greek classics, such as Arrian, Diodorus, Appian, Polybius, Cassius Dio and, first and foremost, a large part of Galen’s corpus. Over the course of his extraordinarily long life, Leoniceno was well acquainted with the most prominent scholars of his time, including Pico della Mirandola, Ermolao Barbaro and Angelo Poliziano. Lending Aldus Manutius some of his prized manuscripts, he took an active part in the Aldine Greek editions of Aristotle and Galen.

In 1497, he published De morbo Gallico, following the epidemic in the Italian peninsula after the arrival of the French troops of Charles VIII. The book, dedicated to Gian Francesco Pico della Mirandola, corrects several mistakes of the Arabic medical tradition in identifying and naming diseases and proved that syphilis had been known already to the Greeks and Romans. This and other works by Leoniceno led Erasmus to rate him as one of the few humanists to revive medical studies alongside Guillaume Cop and Linacre. This copy retains the final additional leaf with errata.

ISTC, il00165000; BM STC, V, 557; GW, M17947; Hain, 10019; IGI 6814; Goff, L-165; Klebs, 599.1; Renouard, 14:12 (‘Extrêmement rare, et le premier qui ait été publié sur cette maladie’); Wellcome, 3736; Morton, 2363; Bibliotheca Osleriana, 7452. Not in Durling or Heirs of Hippocrates.

K48

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ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

CATECHISM FOR CATHOLIC PARISH PRIESTS FROM THE JESUIT COLLEGE LIBRARY

Catechismus ad parochos

Rome, Paolo Manuzio, 1566.

£6,250

FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (4), 359, (13); Roman letter, little italic; large printer’s device on title, one large white-on-black decorated initial; marginal foxing, a few leaves a bit browned. A good, wide-margined copy in calf c.1700, gilt title on spine, gilt floral decorations to spine and borders, all edges gilt; original pastedowns from charming papier dominoté with flowers and fruits, partially hand-coloured; slightly rubbed corner, tail, head and edge gilt; on title, partially erased and altered contemporary ms ex libris ‘Collegii Romani Societatis Iesu’ with class mark, trimmed early seventeenth-century inscription at head, early ms ‘D.A.S’ to foot; occasional numbering, notabilia and corrections to text in seventeenth-century hand.

First edition of the official Catechism of the Catholic Church following the decrees of the Council of Trent. It is an instructive guide to either learn or teach the foundations of Catholicism, based on the Apostles’ Creed, the Decalogue and the Lord’s Prayer. It is not, however, a mere set of questions and responses but a lengthy treatise on most aspects of the Catholic faith for the benefit of the clergy rather than the laity; it is addressed to parish priests, whose religious education was often faulty and poor.

This editio princeps is an important specimen of the Aldine press’s output, since it was published by Paolo Manuzio during his stay in Rome as the first official papal printer in history. Pius IV established this pioneering papal press in 1561, but its onerous expenses were soon laid on the Roman Commune. This is why the device on title has the symbols of the city of Rome, the coat of arms of the Commune with the famous motto SPQR and, at foot, the small Aldine dolphin twisted on an anchor with Paolo Manuzio’s initials at sides. Renouard, Brunet and Graesse noticed that two different, equally valuable issues were carried out, but their order of appearance has not been established.

This is a copy from the Jesuit College of Rome. Founded in 1551 by St Ignatius of Loyola, such an epoch-making institution contributed significantly to forming the Italian and European Catholic ruling class for centuries. Here, the Jesuits developed their famous forward-looking study plan (Ratio studiorum) centred on Latin and Greek, philosophy, theology and maths; several similar colleges were successfully established by that order throughout the continent. Its massive library, comprising some very important historical bequests, was incorporated into the Italian National Library in Rome following the end of Papal rule over the city in 1870.

BM STC It., 679; Adams, C 1056; Brunet, I, 1657; Graesse, II, 77; Renouard, 200:5; Bellinger, 1.

L2055

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EGNATIUS, Giovanni Battista

De exemplis illustrium virorum Venetae civitatis, atque aliarum Gentium

Paris, Bernardo Torresano sub Aldina Bibliotheca, 1554.

£2,750

16mo, ff. (16), 334, (2), missing final blank. Roman letter; Aldine device on title, few historiated initials; occasional very light foxing to margins, slight yellowing. A very good copy in contemporary vellum; bookplate of Allan Heywood Bright on front pastedown.

Second edition of this curious collection of exemplary episodes, issued in Paris some months after the princeps of Venice the same year. Giovanni Battista Cipelli (1478-1553), better known by his humanist nickname Egnatius, was a prominent scholar in Renaissance Venice and a trusted collaborator of Aldus Manutius. Very knowledgeable in Latin and Greek, he taught in the School of St. Marcus and was appointed official orator of the Venetian Republic. On account of his philological, editorial and teaching skills, he was held in high esteem by Pietro Bembo, Marco Musuro, Marco Antonio Sabellico and even Wilibald Pirckheimer and Erasmus.

His most successful work was De Caesaribus, a learned overview of the lives of the Roman, Byzantine, Frankish and German emperors, up to Maximilian I of Augsburg. An extract of the second book circulated independently as an essay on the origins of the Turks. Following the model of Valerius Maximus, Egnatius assembled a vast number of edifying stories from the lives of Venetians and other illustrious personalities of the past and present. It is divided into nine books and each of the numerous chapters is devoted to a topic (either virtue or vice). Book 8 includes a note on the invention of printing (f. 300rv) and a praise of Columbus (f. 301v). Muslims and Ottomans are also frequently mentioned, with several examples drawn especially from the life of Saladin (ff.  172r, 237rv, 242v, 265v, 326r). The work was published posthumously by Marco Molin, the son of Egnatius’s heir and friend.

This is a copy of the first of the eighteen books published in Paris by Bernardo Torresano on behalf of the Aldine Press over the 1550s and 1560s. Bernardo was the grandson of Andrea Torresano, father-in-law and business partner of Aldus Manutius. The Aldine enterprise tried several times to set up a branch or at least have a trusted dealer in Paris, but the attempts were all quite short-lasting and little fruitful.

BM STC It., 231 (under variants of the Venetian edition); Adams, E 82; Renouard, 295:1. Not in Alden.

L2015

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BORDONE, Benedetto

FIRST ACCOUNT OF PIZARRO IN PERU

Isolario

Venice, Paolo Manuzio for Federico Torresani, 1547.

£20,000

Folio, ff. (10), 74. Roman letter; title in black and red with printer’s device within elegant floral border with dolphins; few decorated and historiated initials; 120 woodcut maps, of which two full-page, eight double-page, one printed upside-down at f. xliir; tiny minor worm hole to title and first two leaves, a few spots at head of first double-page map, light water stain towards outer margin of one leaf. A very good, well-margined copy in early pasteboard; all edges mottled; two early ms shelf marks to title and price inscription to rear pastedown.

Third, most correct and complete edition of this curious and informative atlas of islands, first published in Venice in 1528. This is the first and only Aldine edition, issued at the expense of Federico Torresani, Aldus’s brother-in-law and younger son of Aldus’s partner Andrea Torresani. Despite not being presented as a product of the main branch of the Aldine press, it retains the accuracy and the typically elegant layout of the familial output. Unusually for Aldine books, it also enriched by numerous illustrations taken directly from the blocks used in the first edition, but appear particularly bright and neat in this copy. It may well be one of the last collaborations between Federico and Aldus’s main heir, Paolo, who remained in touch with his uncle even after the family quarrel and the consequent split of the partnership between the Manuzio and the Torresani about 1540.

Benedetto Bordone (c.1460-1530) was an eclectic Italian artist of the Venetian Renaissance. Born in Padua, he was a skilled miniaturist, editor and cartographer. He is very likely to be the artist behind the exquisite and ground-breaking illustrations of the Aldine Hypnerotomachia. One of his two sons was the famous scholar Giulio Cesare Scaligero, who later made up his surname claiming to be affiliated with the noble Italian family of Della Scala.

His most famous work was the Isolario, accomplished a few year before his death. It consists of a broad illustrated survey of the world’s islands and peninsulas as they were known in the early sixteenth century, including learned mythical and historical remarks, drawn especially from Greek and Roman authorities. The book opens with Bordone’s dedication to his nephew, who had travelled the world on board the Venetian and Spanish fleets, probably acting as a military physician. Isolario is an intriguing mix of pioneering intuition and folkloristic belief. In it, Bordone provides the first printed map of Japan, as an island named ‘Ciampagu’, and the earliest depiction of the globe as an oval (this was later developed by Karl Mollweide into the model familiar to us). The final Copia delle Lettere de Perfetto della India la Nova Spagna detta alla Cesarea Maesta rescritte offers the earliest printed account of Pizzarro’s arrival in Peru and it is not included in the princeps.

Twelve of the illustrations relate to America, including a rather distorted New World with the Northern portion of South America and the North America as a huge island named as ‘Land of the worker,’ probably hinting at the growing slave trading in the area. Alongside the maps of Western Europe, Eastern Mediterranean Sea, British Isles and Sicily, Bordone also drew detailed plans of Venice and some of its lagoon islands, as well as of the lavish capital city of the Aztec empire (Tenochtitlan, modern Mexico City) before Cortez razed it to the ground in 1521. Finally, one can find sketchy depictions of: the Canaries; Madagascar and Zanzibar; Java and Sumatra (as ‘Iava minore’); Ceylon (‘Taprobana’); Cuba, Guadalupe, Jamaica, Venezuela and Brazil; Thailanda, mistakenly thought to be an island called Lochac. Far east, Bordone includes, for the first time in print, two legendary isles, one exclusively inhabited by women (‘Imangla’), the other by men (‘Inebila’).

Not in Brunet or Graesse. BM STC It., 120. Adams, B 2485; Renouard, 141:9; Mortimer It., 82; Harrisse, 221; Phillips 164; Alden, 547/2; Sabin, 6421.

L2033

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BEMBO, Pietro

A CONTEMPORARY PORTRAIT IN PRINT OF RENAISSANCE VENICE

Historiae Venetae libri XII

Venice, Aldus’ sons and Gualterio Scoto, 1551.

£3,250

FIRST EDITION. Folio, ff. [4], 203, [1]. Neat Roman letter on thick paper; detailed historiated initials, large device of Gualtiero Scoto (with embracing Mercury and Athena) on title and Aldine on verso of final leaf. A perfect, wide-margined copy in elegant crushed dark olive morocco by W. Pratt; gilt panel with flower at each corner, title, editorial data and floral decoration gilt on spine; a.e.g.; very lightly rubbed at head and tail; on front pastedown, bookseller’s ticket of Thomas Beet and modern bookplate of T. Farmer Bailey; small Selbourne Library stamp at foot of title verso and f. 51r; a few faint early marginalia.

First edition of this important history of Renaissance Venice from 1487 to 1513, beautifully printed by Paolo Manuzio and his brothers. Scion of a Venetian noble family, Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) was by far the leading scholar of the early sixteenth-century Italy. A student of Constantine Lascaris and collaborator of Aldus (the famous Aldine font Bembo was named after him), he was patronised by the most illustrious families of the peninsula, such as the Este, Montefeltro and De’ Medici. All his poems, letters and essays encountered enviably long-lasting success. Among many other contemporary linguistic treatises, his Prose della volgar lingua was the one to establish the Italian vernacular as a literary language based on the three glorious ‘crowns’ of the past, i.e. Dante, Boccaccio and especially Petrarch. In recognition of his extraordinary merits, he was appointed cardinal by Paul III Farnese in 1539. In Rome, he spent the last years of his life.

In 1530, the Venetian Senate entrusted him with the care of its priceless library in St Mark’s and the compilation of the official chronicle of the city. Taking further the work of his predecessor, Bembo described in his distinctively polished Latin the events occurring between 1487 and 1513. He drew extensively upon the diaries of his compatriot Marin Sanudo (1466-1535), who, quite ironically, had been the main competitor of Bembo in the race for the position of official historian of the Republic. Published posthumously, the Historiae were immediately pirated in Paris in the 1551, while the following year appeared Bembo’s own Italian translation. In contrast to Renouard’ and Clough’s account, one should consider this princeps as a joint-edition between Aldus’ heirs and (as it is apparent from this copy) the Venetian publisher Gualterio Scoto. Scoto was the one to carry out also the 1552 Italian edition.

Book sixth is particularly remarkable, as it contains a detailed overview of Colombus’ discovery of the New World and the Portuguese navigators’ expeditions to the East.

BM STC It., 80; Adams, B 597; Brunet, I, 767; Graesse, I, 333; Renouard, 152:17 (‘Belle edition (…) peu commune’); Clough, ‘Pietro Bembo’s L’Histoire du Noveau Monde’, British Library Journal, VI, 1978, pp. 8-21; Alden, 551/8; Sabin, 4619.

L2005

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ARISTOPHANES

CLASSICAL COMEDY IN ALDINE EDITION

Comoediae Novem.

Venice, Apud Aldum, 1498.

£59,500

EDITIO PRINCEPS. Folio. 346 unnumbered leaves, lacking two blanks. Text in Aldus’ large Greek type 146, 41 lines of scholia surrounding in smaller (type114), Aldus’ preface in Roman. Woodcut strap-work initials in two sizes and headpieces. Early Greek marginalia in brown ink mostly to first quarter of volume. Title page very slightly soiled and strengthened at gutter, two leaves slightly browned (probably damp at printing), couple of minor marginal tears, last leaf with small old marginal repairs, strengthened at gutter, slightly soiled on verso. A very good copy, crisp, clean and well margined in C17 vellum over boards C18 mottling, gilt red morocco labels and gilt thistle motif on spine, C19 ms. bibl. notes on front pastedown, Walter Hirst’s charming bookplate and Sir Thomas Philip’s pencilled shelf mark beneath, earlier ink lettering (press mark?) on rear pastedown, Quaritch pencil note beneath.

A very handsome copy of the beautiful first printed edition of Aristophanes comprising the first nine plays (10 and 11 were not published till 1525) and one of the chef d’oeuvres of Aldus’ early Greek press. The editor was Marcus Musurus, the celebrated Greek humanist, who also contributed an excellent preface on the reasons for studying Greek and the stylistic beauty of Aristophanes. Aldus founded his career on the publication of Greek texts, the first printer to do so, with this type designed and cast on new principles which he perfected over a period of five years. To his scholarly care we owe more of the editiones principes of the major Greek classics than to any other printer and the Aristophanes, texturally and artistically, was one of his finest achievements.

Aristophanes was the greatest of the Athenian comic dramatists and one of her greatest poets. For richness and fertility of imagination probably only Shakespeare is comparable and Aristophanes’ direct influence on English literature was considerable; the comedies of Jonson, Middleton and Fielding derive from him. Apart from constituting one of the surviving glories of hellenic culture Aristophanes’ comedies are an invaluable source for its social history. His surviving plays, out of a probable forty or fifty, provide us with an accurate if satirical commentary on the political, religious, sexual, economical and domestic life of Athens over a period of thirty six years. His changes in style and content match the concurrent constitutional and social changes in the State itself. The plays’ themes are invariably contemporary, a mocking mirror to the condition of the city. This edition has the benefit of the scholia of Thomas Magister, John Tzetzes and Demetrius Triclinus themselves incorporating much of the more ancient commentaries of Appolonius, Callimaches, Didymus and others, which were superseded in later editions by much newer but also much inferior work.

“Première et belle édition (…) Les Scolies sont dans cette importante et belle édition imprimées bien plus correctement que dans la reimpression faite à Florence 1525” Renouard, 16:3.

“Premiere édition belle et rare” Brunet I 451.

BMC V 559. GW, 2333. Goff, A-958. Sander I 580. Essling I 2,2 1163.

L1201

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ARISTOTLE

THE FERRARI – ROVIDA ANNOTATED COPY

De animalibus et alia.

Venice, Aldus, 1497 or 1498.

£39,500

EDITIO PRINCEPS. Folio, ff. 457 (i.e. 458), (9), aaαα-&&ωω10, AA-ΠΠ10, PP10+1, ΣΣΦΦ10, XX8,*8, lacking blank XX8. Greek, little Roman in preliminaries; large decorated initials; recto of first leaf lightly soiled, old oil stain to gutters at head; tear from blank lower corner at 152, small tear at foot of 364; marginal damp stains, small central oil splash over final gathering. A good, well-margined copy in early plain goatskin, vellum spine superimposed; chipped corner and front joint lightly cracked; a bit worn. Extensive scholarly Greek and Latin annotations by Ottaviano Ferrari (1518-1586), his autograph at head of title, and occasionally a slightly earlier Italian hand; with the supplemental gathering added, printed later and often missing, densely annotated by a knowledgeable late sixteenth-century Italian philologist; Ferrari’s autograph on title, early shelfmark and late sixteenth-century owner’s annotation confirming the notes were by Ferrari and the volume was purchased from Cesare Rovida’s heirs; later table of contents on front fly verso; bibliographical inscriptions (inaccurate) on front pastedown.

The third volume from a series of five comprising the celebrated collected edition of Aristotle published by Aldus Manutius between 1495 and 1498. The first two sets of Aldine Greek Type 1 cut by Francesco Griffo appeared in this edition. This tome comprises nineteen treatises of Aristotle, manly focused on animals, plus five commentaries by his pupil Theophrastus on fish, dizziness, tiredness, smell and sweat. Arguably, no other thinker in history has been more influential than Aristotle. His detailed and comprehensive studies in zoology, forming about a quarter of his surviving works, provided the most complete account on the animal world until the sixteenth century and, in many respects, up to the Enlightenment.

This copy extraordinarily retains the original strip pasted by Aldus at foot of f. 100v (kkxv) to supply a missing line, like the copy of George III in BL and very few others. The colophon also bears the corrected variant οἰκίᾳ in place of οἰκείᾳ, as in BL Cracherode copy. Gathering *8, originally missing in many copies of the edition, was integrated here by a scrupulous later owner. It consists of a fragment from the tenth book of the History of Animals, which was added by Aldus at the very last moment, so it was not included in earlier press run.

The present copy is entirely annotated, mostly by the Milanese scholar Ottaviano Ferrari (1518 -1586). Ferrari read humanities at the Canobian schools in Milan and, for a short time, taught logic at the University of Pavia. He was a close friend of Giulio Poggiani, Jacopo Bonfadio and Aldus’s son, Paolo Manuzio. De disciplina Encyclio was his most appreciated work, published in 1560 by the Aldine press under Paolo’s management. It was a valuable introduction to Aristotelian philosophy. His important Greek manuscripts which he carefully collected are mostly in the Ambrosiana Library of Milan.

As a proof of his respect for Aristotle’s teachings, his medallion portrait (about 1560) shows the Greek philosopher on its verso. Ferrari declared himself as a passionate student of medicine too, an interest which was certainly the reason for him to dwell so much on this mainly naturalistic book within the Aristotelian corpus. His annotations are dense and incredibly learned. He went over and over the volume, using three different inks and writing sometimes quick and large, sometimes minute and precise. Yet, the habit of recording in the margins and over the lines the internal page numbers treating of similar subjects remains consistent over the years of his intensive study.

Along with etymological notes on animals’ names, Ferrari made continuous reference to major and minor works by Aristotle, their Greek and Arabic commentaries, as well as an impressive list of authorities, such as Plato, Herodotus, Plutarch, Aratus, Hippocrates and Galen, Pliny, Varro, Lucretius, Cicero, Vitruvius and even Thomas Aquinas and Albert Magnus. Nor are absent mentions of early modern scholars, like Joseph Scaliger, Denis Lambin, Lodovico de Varthema, Robert Estienne, Ippolito Salviani, Pierre Belon, Piero Vettori, Bessarion and Niccolò Leoniceno. Here and there, one can find quotations from Theodorus Gaza’s Latin translation of these zoological treatises; finally, there are occasional textual emendations (for instance, f. 164r), referring to a manuscript owned by Ferrari and another by Giovanni Battista Rasario (1517-1578), a renowned Aristotelian commentator and professor of Greek in Padua and Venice.

Upon Ferrari’s death, this copy was acquired by Cesare Rovida (c.1559-1591/4), remarkably as one of his many Greek manuscripts. A pupil of Ferrari, Rovida was a bibliophile and professor of medicine in Pavia. He also commented on Aristotle and Ptolomeus, though he failed to publish his works. Because of their extraordinary value, the Ferrari-Rovida codices were purchased by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1606 and became one of the founding nuclei of the Ambrosiana Library (see, for instance, MS H 50 sup., with De anima and ancient commentaries, as described in Martini-Bassi, n. 435). Yet, this interesting Aldine copy of Aristotle’s naturalistic treatises has followed a different path. As we learn from the lower inscription on the title, it was sold by Rovida’s heirs to another Italian collector, who checked and certified that the annotations were truly by Ferrari.

The annotations over the tenth book of History of animals in the last gathering are also very interesting. They record numerous textual variations and commented on early authorities mentioning the text (now thought to be a spurious later addition). They were written in a very neat hand by a late sixteenth-century Italian scholar in Latin, Greek and Italian. It is a pity they were not signed. On verso of the last leaf, the annotator reported the abbreviations of the many codices he used in his philological work. One of them is said to be formerly owned by Christophe de Longeuil (died in 1522) and then Lazzaro Bonamico (died in 1552). Only few Aristotelian students, for example of the calibre of Piero Vettori (1499-1585), were able to display such knowledge and elegant handwriting in their marginalia.

BMC V 555-556; BSB-Ink, A 698; GW 2334; Goff, A 959; IGI 791; Hain *1657; Renouard, 11.2.

L1959

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