SPLENDID EARLY C17 BINDING
Annales magistratuum et provinciar. S.P.Q.R. ab urbe condita.
Antwerp, ex Officina Plantiniana, 1599.
FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. (xxiv) 469 [i.e., 467] (iii). Roman letter, with Italic. Engraved architectural t-p with allegorical figures of Fame, Justice, Prudence and the Tiber, 8 ¼-page engravings of classical deities, coins or scenes from Roman history, large woodcut printer’s device to verso of last, decorated initials and ornaments. Intermittent slight browning, light water stain to upper edge, ink burn to early ownership inscription on t-p, traces of chewing to upper and lower edge of first two gatherings. A very good, tall, well-margined copy in contemporary Flemish calf, lacking ties, stubs from rubricated C14 astrological ms. on vellum used as spine lining, single gilt and double blind ruled, centre panel bordered with roll of gilt ropework, large gilt fleurons to outer corners, large gilt corner- and centrepieces with interlacing ribbons and tendrils, raised bands, large gilt fleurons to compartments, a.e.g., expert repair to corners, head and foot of spine, and upper joint, small repairs to surface of corners. C17 ms. ‘Liber iste ex (?) et musaeo dep[re]ndet P. Mareschal Dñi de Boulans [Francisci Bouchard medicinae et (?)] doctoris Bisontini [Besançon] emptus decem libris 15 iunii 1634 de vastatione castelli Vildestein [Villedestin]’ and C18 ms. author biography to verso of fly, C17 inscriptions ‘Ex Lib. F. Bouchard med. doctoris & dono N. Viduae N. Domini [Christmas] D.’ and ‘A Monsieur P. Mareschal Baronis de Bouclan’ to lower blank t-p margin, modern label to rear fep.
In 1634, this copy was in the library of Pierre Mareschal, Baron de Bouclans, an influential personality in the government of Besançon, in France-Comté. He was an esteemed collector of Gallo-Roman antiquities, including epigraphic specimens, and books. The note says that, on 15 Jun 1634, he purchased from a physician in Besançon ten books which came from the ransacking of the Castle of Villedestin (Waldenstein), in Lower Alsace, owned by the Abbey of Murbach. The observation, arguably in Mareschal’s hand, that this work was ‘rarissimus’ (both scarce and excellent) reveals an early bibliophile’s interest in ‘rarity’, and the great appreciation in which the work was held by contemporary antiquaries. François Bouchard (fl. second half of the C17) was professor of medicine at Besançon, and the author of an account on the autopsy of ‘a monstrous child exposed in a public street at Leiden’ in 1672.
The splendid binding was most likely produced in the same workshop as BL C27k9, printed in Antwerp in 1601, given the identical corner- and centrepieces.
A splendidly bound copy of the first edition of this monumental survey of the chronology of the magistrates and officers of ancient Rome and its imperial provinces. ‘He who writes on Roman history cannot dispense with the work of Pighius’ (Niebuhr, ‘Lectures’, 1849). Stephanus Vinandus Pighius (Étienne Vinand, 1520-1604) was an antiquary from the Duchy of Clèves, patronised by Cardinal Farnese during an Italian stay, and later librarian of Cardinal Grenvelle and tutor of the Duke of Clèves’s son. He wrote ‘Annales’ in the later years of his life, but only published the first of three volumes; the other two were edited posthumously by the humanist Andreas Schott, following Pighius’s ms. notes. Based on a huge variety of fresh research into printed and ms. sources, ‘Annales’ lists all known Consuls, Censors, Dictators, Masters of the Horse, Praetors, Aediles, Tribunes and Quaestors, for every year from the foundation of the Republic. Pighius occasionally used fictious but verisimilar names to fill numerous gaps. His models were the histories of Rome published by C. Sigonius (1556) and O. Pavinius (1557), partly based, in turn, on the annals carved on the Capitoline Marbles (or Consular Fasti). This was a monument built under Augustus to celebrate the consular office, and which detailed, in stone, the Consuls in office each year since 509BC. A masterpiece of early modern historiography and antiquarianism, ‘Annales’ remained influential for centuries, being widely used by Gerard Vossius and reprinted by Johann Graevius.
The C14 rubricated vellum ms. used as spine lining contains parts (e.g., ‘De aptatione et corruptione’) of Albumasar’s ‘Liber introductorii maioris ad scientiam judiciorum astrorum’, in John of Seville’s Latin translation.
UNC, Huntington and Lehigh copies recorded in the US.
Adams, P1197; Pettigree & Walsby, Netherlandish Books, 25570. Not in Brunet. G.C. Sampson, ‘The Rediscovery of a Sixteenth Century Work on Roman Magistrates: the Pighius Fasti’.