GUIDES TO ROMAN ANTIQUITIES
FAUNO, Lucio. Delle antichità della città di Roma. [with] Il compendio di Roma antica.
LIGORIO, Pirro. Libro delle antichità di Roma.
[Venice, M. Tramezino, 1552, 1552 and 1553.]
FIRST EDITIONS of second and third. 8vo. 3 works in 1, separate t-p to each, pp. (xxiv) 160 (xxv), (iv); ff. (iv) 23 (i); ff. (iv) 51 (i), last of second and third blank. Italic letter, little Roman. Handsome woodcut printer’s device with Sybil to t-ps, z6 of first, and penultimate of second and third; decorated initials and ornaments. Insignificant faint water stain to blank upper inner corners, a bit more noticeable to lower outer corner of final ll. Excellent, clean copies in contemporary limp vellum, spine largely restored, contemporary Hebrew ms. used for spine lining, title inked to lower fore-edge, old paper label at foot, C17 inscription ‘Servitorum Regularium Sancti Vincenti (?)’ and casemark ‘66’ to first t-p.
Excellent copies of these early, understudied guides to ancient Rome. This genre originated in the late C15, when printers like Stephan Plannck and Sigismund Mayr issued regular ‘indulgentiae’ or short pamphlets on Roman churches and relics, interspersed with historical accounts, for pilgrims visiting the stations marked by the indulgence they had purchased (Schudt, ‘Guide di Roma’, 19-26). The present guides added to this model the antiquarian influence of Flavio Biondo’s C15 ‘Roma instaurata’—a reconstruction of ancient Roman topography before Christianity. Lucio Fauno (d. c.1552) was an Italian antiquary and translator. His ‘Delle antichità’, of which the ‘Compendio’ is an abridgement, begins with an account of the origins of Rome from Romulus; it proceeds with an examination of the city gates and the roads that cross them, the Campidoglio, Aventino and Esquilino hills, whilst lingering on the most important surrounding ancient monuments, and historical narratives connected to the area, from the Foro Traiano to the Pantheon, the Baths of Caracalla and Augustus’s Mauseoleum. Fauno also mentioned an amulet with invocations to the angelic tetrarchy, found in 1544 in the tomb of Maria, wife to Onorius, Emperor of the West, discovered in the Vatican chapel of St Petronilla. Pirro Ligorio (1512/13-83) was an Italian painter, antiquarian and architect. Written in an informal and engaging tone, his ‘Libro delle antichità’ is organised in very short sections devoted to a gate, a hill or a monument. Each is devised to challenge, in anecdotical form—with incipits like ‘Strange and utterly false is the idea that…’, ‘How wrong are people who believe that…’—received historical information which has proven incorrect, asking visitors to think critically. For instance, concerning the traditional belief that the Mausoleum of Augustus has 12 doors, Ligorio writes: ‘Why following authorities blindly, if we see with our own eyes that the Mausoleum has only one, not sundry, doors?’ A remarkably fresh and clean collection of three important works for the development of the early modern fascination with Roman ruins.
I) BM STC It., p. 244; Schudt, Guide di Roma, 618. Not in Brunet, Fowler or Berlin Cat.
II) BM STC It., p. 244; Schudt, Guide di Roma, 621. Not in Brunet, Fowler or Berlin Cat.
III) BM STC It., p. 378 (1552 ed.); Schudt, Guide di Roma, 638. Not in Brunet, Fowler or Berlin Cat.