AUSONIUS, Decius Magnus
[Opera]Venice, In Aedibus Aldi et Andreae Soceri, 1517, November
FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. ff. 107 [i]. Italic letter. Aldine device on t-p and last. Very faint occasional waterstains, sm. marginal piece missing from f. 18 (no loss). A very good, crisp copy vellum over bds., C1600.
First and only Aldine edition of Ausonius’ work, edited by Girolamo Avanzi, member of the Aldine Academy. In his dedication to Cardinal Marco Cornaro, Avanzi praises the activity of Torresani. Tutor to Gratian, son of the emperor Valentinian I, Ausonius (c.AD 310-c.393) was successively appointed prefect of several foreign provinces and finally consul in 379. He ‘wrote a great deal of verse in a variety of metres, showing great technical ability. There are over a hundred epigrams, some of which are in Greek. He seems to have written on any theme that presented itself, such as the names of the days and months, or the properties of the number three. He particularly delighted in verse catalogues: the professors of Burdigala [i.e. Bordeaux, his native town], the famous cities of the world, the Twelve Caesars, the Seven Sages. […] His more important and interesting poems are the ‘Ephemeris’ (‘a day’s events’), a description of a normal day in his life, his waking, talking with his servants, and so on; and the ‘Mosella’, a long hexameter poem describing in considerable detail the beauties of the river Moselle and the life that goes on around it.’ [Oxford Companion to Classical Literature], in particular the area’s wines. All are included in this lovely pocket Aldine.BM STC It. p. 64. Renouard 80:7. Dibdin I p. 345 ‘Copies of this Aldine edition [...] are esteemed by the curious’. Adams A 2278. UCLA 137.