SCHOOL PRIZE EROTICA
Erotikon Achilleos Tatiou sive De Clitophontis & Leucippes amoribus libri 8. Opera et studio Cl. SalmasiiLugd. Batavor, apud Franciscum Hegerum, 1640
12mo. pp. [xxiv], 752, [xxxii]. *12, A-2I12, 2K8 (2K8 blank). Roman and Greek letter, some Italic. Full page engraved title, with Leucippe and Clitophon on horseback, small woodcut initials and headpieces, grotesque and floriated tailpieces, contemporary inscription on front fly gifting the book as a prize to “Gualtero Bremannio” from “me Rectore Henrico Suardecronio” dated 1642, “Kapodos Aigov 1834” mss. on pastedown. Light age yellowing, a very good copy, crisp and clean, in a contemporary Dutch prize binding of polished vellum over thin boards, yapp edges, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, stopped at corners with a gilt dot tool, large fleurons gilt to corners of inner panel, large arms of the city of Rotterdam gilt at centres, spine double gilt ruled in compartments, large rose fleurons gilt at centres, lacks ties, gilt tooling a little rubed, spine slightly soiled.
First edition with the important commentary and textual revisions of Claude Saumaise, beautifully printed in parallel Greek and Latin, in a fine contemporary prize binding from the Erasmus School in Rotterdam. The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon by Achilles Tatius, is one of the five surviving Ancient Greek romances, notable for its many similarities to Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, and its mild parodic nature. It is a gently erotic romance in eight books, which retained remarkable popularity and spawned innumerable imitations, particularly in the C18, when it was several times reprinted. The author was a Greek from Alexandria in the 3rd or 4th centuries A.D. It is said he became a Christian and ultimately a Bishop. On being challenged for having written an obscene book he replied that he was only teaching the fruits of moderation as opposed to evils attendant on senseless passion. Tatius takes pleasure in asides and digressions on mythology and the interpretation of omens, descriptions of exotic beasts crocodiles, hippopotami, and sights such as the Nile delta, and Alexandria, and discussions of amorous matters; kisses, or whether women or boys make better lovers. The large number of existing manuscripts attests the novel’s popularity. A part of it was first printed in a Latin translation by Annibal della Croce, in Lyon, 1544; his complete translation appeared in Basel in 1554. The first edition of the Greek original appeared in Heidelberg, 1601, printed together with similar works of Longus and Parthenius.”Son roman … est agréable et expose bien les moeurs antiques. Héliodore en a repris avec succès plusieurs situations; mais, comme les traducteurs modernes, il les a adoucies et exposées plus modestement”, Gay I 14
“At a time when Cromwell with his Ironsides was fighting the battle of Marston-Moor, and Milton was defending the cause of English Democracy with his arguments, there was at the University of Leyden a professor by the name of Claude Salmasius, or Saumaise as he was called in France, from where he came. Born in 1588 at Semur-en-Auxois, in Burgundy, Salmasius had a very brilliant career in almost every department of learning, and scholarship. He studied law for three years under the famous Godefroy at Heidelberg, but afterwards preferred the study of languages and literature. His fame as a scholar of the very first rank ran through all Europe. The Universities of Padua and Bologna offered him a professorship, and England tried to win him, until in 1623 he accepted the call of Leyden in order to take the place of Scaliger. …Never before was a scholar given so much honor. To all this Salmasius responded by writing an almost incredible number of books on all kinds of subjects, as well as pamphlets on the prominent questions of the day. Being a royalist, he wrote, shortly after the execution of Charles I, a booklet entitled ‘Defensio Regia pro Carolo I,’ dedicated to the king’s oldest son Charles, whom he called the heir and legitimate successor of his father as King of England.” Tiemen de Vries “Holland’s Influence on English Language and Literature” He is perhaps now most famous for his discovery in the library of the Counts Palatine in Heidelberg of the only surviving copy of Cephalas’s 10th-century unexpurgated copy of the Greek Anthology, including the 258-poem anthology of homoerotic poems by Straton of Sardis that would eventually become known as the notorious Book 12 of the Greek Anthology. Salmasius made copies of the newly discovered poems in the Palatine version and began to circulate clandestine manuscript copies of them as the Anthologia Inedita.
This prize binding is most probably from the Schola Erasmiana at Rotterdam; the gift inscription on on the front endpaper naming the student recipient, Gualter Breman, is inscribed by the presenter, Henrico Suardecronio, with his signature, as Rector, Roterdam, 1642 who was a onetime head of the Schola Erasmiana in that city. There is a poem dedicated to Suardecronio in an edition of collected poetry published at Amsterdam, 1659 “Bloemkrans van verscheiden gedichten: door eenige liefhebbers der poëzij bij een verzamelt” that presents him as “Scholae Erasmianae, tum temporis Rectori, post quator Filios, Uxori continuato partu, editios”Brunet I 36-37. Graesse I 13. Gay I 14