CONTEMPORARY FLORENTINE BINDING –
FROM AN ENEMY OF ALDUS THE YOUNGER

Carmina quinque illustrium poetarum.

Florence, apud Laurentium Torrentinum, 1552.

£4,250

16mo. 2 parts in 1, separate t-ps, pp. 346, 87 (ix), last two ll. blank in both. Italic letter, little Roman. Woodcut initials and ornaments. Occasional very light water stain to lower blank margin, a bit heavier to last gathering, slight yellowing, very rare, slight marginal foxing. A very good copy in contemporary probably Florentine goatskin, double blind ruled to a panel design, first border with roll of interlaced palmettes in blind, centre panel with blind-stamped rosettes to corners and centrepiece with Gothic IHS monogram (reversed) within interlacing ribbon, raised bands, spine double blind ruled into four compartments, some wear to usual places, small hole to foot of lower corner. Ms. ex-dono from Ercole Ciofano to Durante de Durantis Rome 1577 to fly (ink burn affecting one letter of date), contemporary inscription ‘Trinita di Sansro’ [San Severo?] inked to edges.

Pocket size edition, in a handsome, contemporary Florentine binding, reminiscent (especially the IHS monogram) of de Marinis I, 1132. This book was a gift from the renowned humanist Ercole Ciofano (d.1592?) to the young Durante de Durantis. Born in Sulmona, Ciofano was the author of a commentary on Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ published in Venice by Aldus the Younger in 1575, and much praised by Marc-Antoine Muret and Paolo Manuzio. This was followed by another on Ovid’s ‘opera omnia’. Among his correspondents were Aldus the Younger, Pier Vettori and Vespasiano Gonzaga. In the early 1580s, Ciofano fell out with Aldus, vehemently accusing him of stealing his own marginalia in a copy of Cicero he lent Aldus. Ciofano’s vitriolic letters about the misdeeds of the ‘Aesopian Jackdaw’ (Aldus)  have survived, one of which, for instance, begins as follows: ‘That ass, and fellow more ignorant than ignorance itself, Aldus Manutius, to whom I have become most inimical, has robbed me of, and printed under his own name, many explanations and emendations upon the “Offices” of Cicero’ (quoted in Hartshorne, ‘Book Rarities’, 53-56, 63-67). Another letter claims that Aldus the Elder was a Jew.

In 1577, Ciofano was in Rome seeking work as tutor for the scions of the Farnese and Orsini families. This copy, with an ex-dono inscription from the same year, was presented by him to the Brescian Durante Duranti, probably during Duranti’s educational stay in Rome. This convenient and inexpensive edition was likely a reward for Durante’s scholarly commitment. It is a compendium of the best Neo-Latin poetry by Italian authors of the first half of the C16, mostly composed in a pseudo-Catullan vein. The authors include Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), Andrea Navagero (1483-1529, official historian of the Serenissima), Baldassarre Castiglione (1478-1529), Giovanni Cotta (1480-1510) and Marco Antonio Flaminio (1497/8-1550). Of the latter there also feature two further collections of verse (one dedicated to Alessandro Farnese, the other to the sister of the King of France, and a paraphrase of thirty psalms).

Brunet I, 1586; EDIT16 CNCE 9629. Not in Adams. C.H. Hartshorne, The Book Rarities in the University of Cambridge (London, 1829); ‘Ciofano, Ercole’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani 25 (1981).

L3367

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