RHYS, John David

Cambrobrytannicae Cymraecaeue linguae. 

London, Excudebat Thomas Irwin’s, 1592.

£3,750

FIRST EDITION. Folio pp. [xxiv], 70, 73-304, [ii]. [2] folding tables. Roman and Italic letter. Small woodcut printer’s device on title, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut head-pieces, near contemporary inscription in Welsh (purchase note?) at head of title page. Light age yellowing, the occasional mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in early C18th speckled calf over boards, rebacked with spine laid down, raised bands gilt ruled in compartments, with gilt fleurons, a little rubbed and scratched.

The first edition of this most important and famous Welsh grammar, the first scientific grammar of the Welsh language; amongst the complimentary verses prefixed to the volume are a set by William Camden. Rhys states, in his lengthy preface in Welsh, that he had written the work in Latin, as he felt it was easier to explain Welsh in Latin than in English. The work contains a dedication to Sir Edward Stradling who urged Rhys to undertake the work and who financed its printing. The work is important as one of the first studies of the Welsh language and for the anthology of early Welsh poetry which it contains.

“John David Rhys. (or ‘ Siôn Dafydd Rhys ’), physician and grammarian of a humble family … After spending some time at Christ Church College , Oxford , he departed for the Continent about 1555 and travelled extensively — he himself states that he visited Venice , Crete , and Cyprus — finally becoming a member of the University of Siena , where he graduated as a doctor of medicine. He was also a teacher at a school in Pistoia. It is not known for how long he remained on the Continent, but he was back in Wales by 1579 , and in 1583 he was practising as a physician at Cardiff . .. Two books by him appeared during his stay on the Continent. One was De Italica Pronunciatione ( Padua , 1569 ), which was probably intended for the use of Welshmen visiting Italy, and which proves the author’s familiarity with all the principal European languages. The other work was a Latin grammar published at Venice, and said to have been very popular with students, but no copy seems to have survived. After returning to Wales and devoting some years to the collection of material Rhys published, in 1592, his famous Welsh grammar, Cambrobrytannicae Cymraecaeve Linguae Institutions et Rudimenta. The book was dedicated to Sir Edward Stradling of S. Donats, Glam., who had defrayed the cost of printing. It consists of a grammar of the Welsh language together with a lengthy and laborious discussion of Welsh prosody.  As a work of scholarship it has very little merit, because the author , who had none of the gifts of Gruffydd Robert or Dr. John Davies for analysing the structure of language, adopted the grammatical framework of Latin and forced the Welsh language into that. … It should be observed however that the book contains items of knowledge which are not found elsewhere. The author’s aim was to make known outside Wales the peculiarities of the Welsh language and the main features of the bardic tradition, and this is the reason why the book was written in Latin.” Dictionary of Welsh Biography. A very good copy of this most important and rare Welsh Grammar.

ESTC S115912. STC 20966.

L2186

LATIN, WELSH

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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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GREEK THESAURUS

INCUNABLE EDITION OF CLASSICAL GREEK GRAMMAR BOOK

Thesaurus Cornucopiae et Horti Adonidis.

Venice, Aldus Manutius, 1496.

£37,500

FIRST EDITION. Large folio, ff. (10), 270, A10, aα-zψ8, &ω4, AA-DΔ8, EE6, FZ-GH8, HΘ6, II8, KK6, LΛ8. Greek letter (types 1:146Gk, 2:114Gk), a little Roman; two tiny wormholes to first gathering and small marginal worm trail at foot of eε-gη, occasional light foxing in extreme margins; three paper flaws to blank spaces of last leaf. A very good, wide-margined and unwashed copy in early nineteenth-century ¾ green  morocco, gilt on spine with floral decoration, title gilt on tan morocco label; title lettered on lower-edge in contemporary hand; armorial bookplate of Marco Antonio Borghese, Prince of Sulmona (1814-1886), and modern label on front pastedown; a few contemporary scholarly annotations, underlinings and one correction in first gatherings; several pen corrections made directly in the Aldine press, mostly previously unrecorded.

An excellent copy of the first edition of Aldus’ collection of grammatical works for students of ancient Greek, including many previously unpublished essays such as those of the Homeric commentator Eustathius of Thessalonica. This ‘Treasure of abundance’ was one of the founding pieces of the Aldine printing programme, devised in the first place to spread the knowledge of Greek in Italy and the rest of Europe. It consists of a well-considered selection of writings and lexicons by Byzantine Greek grammarians, referring especially to the Homeric poems. In compiling this book, Aldus was helped by exceptionally skilled teachers of the subject, like Urbano Bolzanio (1442-1524), Arsenios Apostolios (1465-1535), Angelo Poliziano (1454-1494) and Poliziano’s pupils Guarino Favorino (1450-1537) and Scipione Carteromaco (1466-1515). Aldus’ Latin preface to ‘every scholar’ is of great interest. Not only does it provide key evidence for dating the beginning of his own activity – he states that he has worked for 7 years with barely an hour of solid rest –, but it also announces what was to be his most famous achievement, the complete Greek edition of Aristotle’s works.

This copy bears six corrections made in the Aldine workshop straight after printing. Only two of them have been already recorded and concern the very last words of ff. 197r and 207r, which were crossed out with a pen stroke. A third and more extensive emendation involves the declension of the term ‘shame’, as illustrated in the second essay of the collection (f. 6v). The passage was expunged and the manuscript internal reference to leaves 268 (‘ζήτει φύλλον 268’) added instead. A couple of lines above, a vowel was amended twice in the same word and an accent and a subscribed iota were added. The faulty numeration of leaves 187, 188 and 213 was also consistently rectified, alongside the incorrect ‘K’ in the title of f. 227r, replaced with ‘Λ’. These corrections were made in many copies of this edition, but often have been washed out or even deliberately erased as insignificant marginalia, even the most important one – that in f. 6v with the internal reference in Greek.

ISTC, it00158000; BMC, V, 555; GW, 7571; Hain, 15493; Goff, T-158; Hoffmann, II, 116; Brunet, VI, 806; Graesse, VII, 130; Renouard, 9:1 (‘belle edition, devenue très rare’).

K47

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RICCI, Bartolomeo

CLASSICAL LATIN IN THEORY

Apparatus latinae locutionis.

Venice, Niccolini Brothers, 1533.

£2,450

FIRST EDITION. Folio, (4) f., 598 col., (12) f., wanting final blank. Neat Roman letter, double-columns; title within elegant architectural woodcut boarder with monsters, cupids and soldiers; few rust spots on cviii; tiny worm trail over internal upper margin of ff. rviii-ti; margins very occasionally marked. An extremely good copy in contemporary vellum from an early fifteenth-century manuscript missal, black-and-red; on both boards, decorative border in red and capitals in red and blue (some beautifully decorated); slightly rubbed; front lower corner a bit chipped; original binding, not recased. Contemporary ex libris on title, ‘Valvasor’ and ‘Valvassoris et amicorum’ (repeated on head of ai) as well as ‘Franciscus Hieronimus De medicis … anno curente 1551.’

First edition of this successful lexicon of Latin terminology drawn from the best ancient writers, especially Cicero. A respected scholar and writer, Bartolomeo Ricci (1490 – 1569) taught the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d’Este. He left several speeches and letters, together with a famous treatise on the stylistic imitation of the Latin classics. His Apparatus offered readers a tool to enlarge and refine their knowledge of Latin, exclusively on a classical basis. It was published following the favourable judgement of Pietro Bembo, the founding theorist of the Italian language. Both Bembo and Ricci thought the purest Latin prose should resemble the style of Cicero as close as possible. This view was broadly shared by sixteenth-century Italian humanists. In their excess of zeal, many of them were regarded as pedantic emulators, ultimately falling into the category mocked by Erasmus in his Ciceronianus.

This remarkable copy was almost certainly inscribed in a very elegant humanist handwriting by Clemente Valvassori. A Venetian men of letters, he glossed and commented on an Italian translation of Sallust and provided an allegoric Christian interpretation of Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso (nothing more distant from the author’s original purpose!). The printer Giovanni Andrea Valvassori was probably a relative of his. In 1551, the book was acquired by (presumably) Girolamo de Medici, most probably the jurist from Lucca who was active in Mantua in mid-sixteenth century.

Not in BM STC It. nor Adams. Graesse, VI, 109.

L1927

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VARRO, M. Terentius


De Lingua Latina

Parma, [printer of the Jerome, Epistolae], 11th December 1480

£5,950

Folio, ff. (iv) 46. Roman letter, a little Greek, guide letters, spaces blank. Extensive early marginalia in at least two early hands (one contemp) throughout, final blank page filled with annotations in Italian (c.1600); uniform light age browning, waterstains to edges of some ll., mostly marginal but slightly affecting the text in places, ancient marginal ink splashes to a couple of ll. A very interesting, not unattractive and well margined copy, if well used at an early date. In modern vellum over boards.

A rare edition from an almost equally rare press; the identity of the printer is unknown, the style of his Greek type may indicate he came from Venice; the total known output of the press is only six titles, however the layout and typeface are handsome and accomplished.

An early edition of Varro’s pioneering work on Latin grammar (including inflexion and syntax) or more accurately of books V to X (of 25) which are all that have come down to us. It was regarded as a work of considerable importance by no lesser authorities than Cicero (the dedicatee), Quintilian and St Augustine, who wonders at the author’s learning in the De Civ. Dei, book VI; the text was edited for the press by Pompinius Laetus and Francisus Rolandellus and first printed in that form by an unknown press in Venice in 1478. It has a comprehensive index. “Varro’s treatise is the earliest extant Roman work on grammar. This great work, which was finished before Cicero’s death in 43 BC, owes much to the stoic teaching of Aelius Stilo, and also to that of a later grammarian who combined the Stoic and Alexandrian traditions. The first three of the surviving books are on Etymology, book V being on names of places, VI on terms denoting time and VII on poetic expressions. To ourselves the value of these books lies in their citations from the Latin poets, and not in their marvellous etymologies. The next three books are concerned with the controversy on Analogy and Anomaly: VIII on the arguments against Analogy, IX on those against Anomaly and X on Varro’s own view of Analogy”, Sandys I p.179. Of Varro’s vast literary output his three books ‘De Rustica’ is the only other survivor.

BMC.VIII p.942. Hain 11903 (3) Goff N267 (4 copies)

L276

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PEROTTO, Niccolò

LATIN GRAMMAR FOR A RENAISSANCE AUDIENCE

Cornucopiae, siue linguae Latinae commentarij diligentissimé recogniti.

Venice, Aldi et Andrea Soceri, November 1513 [but May 1517].

£3,950

Folio. ff. 79 (i), 1,436 columns, ff.(i). π-10π8, a-z8, A-Y8. Italic letter in double column. Aldine device on title, capital spaces with guide letters. Two leaves of quire slightly oxidized browned, couple of tiny single worm holes on first few leaves and at end, title a little thumbed in lower outer blank corner of table, the odd minor marginal mark. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in contemporary vellum over boards, title manuscript on spine.

An excellent copy of the second Aldine edition of this monumental collection of grammars, including one of the most important Renaissance Latin dictionaries by Niccolo Perroto, together with three influential classical grammars by Varro, Festus and Nonius Marcellus, dedicated to the condottiere Federico da Montefeltro of Urbino. Although the date 1513 is shown on the final colophon as if it was the second Aldine edition, this is in reality a reprint carried out in May 1517, as the colophon at the end of Perotti’s work indicates (col 1064 [i.e. 1054]). The largest section of the book is taken up by Perroti’s Cornucopia. Written as a commentary on book I of Martial and de-constructing its every sentence, Cornucopia became a standard reference work on the Latin language. “A massive encyclopedia 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” Brian Ogilvie, ‘The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe.’

The work was revised and expanded by Perotto’s son Pyrrhus and the first edition was published in Venice in 1489 with the first Aldine appearing in 1499. The text was carefully numbered by page and by line helping to key the index precisely and thus introducing a modern scholarly system of reference. Niccolò Perotto (1429-1480) was an Italian cleric and humanist, who was born and died in Sassoferrato. From 1451 to 1453 he taught rhetoric and poetry at the University of Bologna. In 1452 he was acknowledged as Poet Laureate by the Emperor Frederick III during his welcome speech upon his arrival in the city. He was the papal secretary from 1455 and archbishop of Siponto in 1458. Although his later career was as a papal governor, he continued his scholarly pursuits, editing the works of the Roman writers Pliny and Martial. Apart from Cornucopia, he wrote a Latin school grammar, Rudimenta Grammatices (Pannartz and Sweynheim 1473), one of the earliest and most popular Renaissance Latin grammars, which attempted to modernize the language by excluding many words and constructions of medieval origin.

The Cornucopia is bound together with the three most important classical texts on the grammar and etymology of the Latin language. Firstly, “Varro’s treatise is the earliest extant work on Grammar. This great work which was finished before Cicero’s death in 43 BC, owes much to the Stoic teaching of Aelius Stilo. … The first three of the surviving books are on Etymology, book V being on names of places, VI on terms denoting time and VII on poetic expressions.” Sandys I, p. 179. Second is Sextus Pompeius Festus’ epitome in 21 books of the encyclopaedic treatise ‘De verborum significatione’ of Valerius Flaccus. Festus gives the etymology and the meaning of many words, throwing considerable light on the Latin language, mythology and antiquities of ancient Rome. The work ends with Nonius Marcellus’ Compendia. A lovely, fresh copy of these important texts.

BM STC. It. C16th p. 499. Adams P720. Renouard 63.6.

L1543

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PRISCIAN


Libri Omnes. De octo partibus orationis…

Venice, Aldus, 1527.

£3,000

4to. [xiv] 299 [i] [ii]. Italic letter, Aldine printer’s device to t-p and verso of last. A very good copy in attractive English 18th C Harleian style crimson morocco gilt, lozenge-shaped centre ornament of many small but ornate tools, triple-gilt ruled with corner fleurons, inner dentelles gilt, spine richly gilt in 6 compartments, olive morocco lettering piece, marbled endpapers, one corner slightly bumped, upper joint cracked but firm. Armorial bookplate of the Earl of Macclesfield on front pastedown, Shirburn castle blindstamp to first few ll.

Only Aldine edition of the complete works of Priscian (fl. 500 AD), including some works now attributed to pseudo-Priscians (indicated by *). Priscian was the last of the great grammarians of the Roman world. The collection begins with his most famous and substantial work, “the most comprehensive and significant Latin grammar” (Von Albrecht p1475) “Institutiones grammaticae,” the first 16 books of which deal i.a. with word-formation, parts of speech and sounds, and the last two with syntax. As well as systematically approaching Latin grammar, the text also preserves many fragments of earlier classical authors, many of whom would otherwise have been lost. Secondly is “Partitiones xii. versuum Aeneidos principalium”, which thoroughly dissects the first twelve lines of the Aeneid for teaching purposes, discussing the metre, scanning each verse and conducting a careful analysis on a word-by-word basis. Then come an 8th C treatise ‘On Accents’*, a song ‘On Weights and Measures’* (c.500), and Priscian’s translation of a treatize on rhetoric by Hermogenes, concluding with one on comic verses, accompanied by Rufinus’ commentary. Priscian’s text was one of the most widely admired and circulated of the Middle Ages. A schoolbook and therefore often heavily used, our present copy is in remarkably clean condition.

This striking binding of high quality crimson morocco with a delicate pointille gilt centrepiece is similar in concept to the bindings from the library of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, (1661-1724), Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Treasurer and great bibliophile.

BM STC It. 540. Renouard 103:2. Brunet IV 883. Adams P2113. Not in Dibdin.

L864

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