AUSONIUS. [with] SCALIGER, Joseph.


AUSONIUS. [with] SCALIGER, Joseph. Opera in meliorem ordinem digesta. [with] Ausonianarum lectionum Libri duo.

Lyon, apud Ant. Gryphium, 1575, 1574


16mo. 2 works in 1, pp. (xx) 343 (v); 181 (xi). Roman letter, with Italic, little Greek. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps and last verso of second, decorated initials and ornaments. Slight age browning, occasional very minor marginal spotting, I: t-p a little soiled at fore-edge, lower blank margin repaired, II: a few gatherings slightly foxed. Very good copies in contemporary brown French morocco, lacking ties, gilt geometrical border, central panel block-stamped in gold, vegetal decorations and interlacing ribbons in blind over a gilt background, central ovals with gilt initials LVD. D.S.P. [Ludovicus de Saint-Priest?] (upper cover) and A.C.C. PAR. R. (lower), raised bands, spine with cross-hatched tooling in gold and blind, all edges gilt and gauffered, expertly rebacked, corners minimally bumped. C19 stamped monogram PD(?) to first t-p.

The most attractive contemporary binding ‘à fond d’or’ was probably produced in Lyon. It reprises the style of Henry Davis Gift, 106 (on a 1570 Lyonnaise Gryphius), and Belin Cat., 194. LVD. D.S.P. was probably Louis (c.1579-1654), last Marquis de Saint-Priest of the original line. Gentleman of the King’s Chamber, he attended scholarly academies, was appointed royal diplomat, and resided in Saint-Priest castle near Lyon (Gauer, 17).

An exquisite pocket student book comprising the first Gryphe edition of Ausonius’s complete works, edited by Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609), and the first edition of Scaliger’s related commentary. Though bibliographies record them as a single work, Scaliger’s commentary being mentioned in the first t-p, they intended to also be sold separately. Ausonius (c.310-95) was a renowned poet and rhetoric teacher in Burdigala (Bordeaux); among his pupils was the future Pauline, Bishop of Nola. He was also tutor to the son of Emperor Valentinian I, and converted to Christianity late in life. A perfect tool for a Renaissance schoolboy, this collection includes Latin epigrams, occasional poetry addressed to acquaintances (including contemporary rhetoric and grammar professors), four-verse poems on the Roman Emperors, ancient philosophers and cities in Gallia, idyllia, eclogues and epistles, with a final section of Greek epigrams on moral and mythological subject. Scaliger’s major editorial contribution to the Ausonian corpus is epitomized in the ‘Lectiones’. It is a detailed commentary with copious emendations to the received text published by Étienne Charpin in 1558, who updated the 1472 editio princeps on the basis of a new ms. recently rediscovered in Lyon. Whilst preparing his edition, Scaliger, then in France, corresponded with Élie Vinet, author of a 1551 edition. They had access to the ms., owned by the humanist Jacques Cujas, and reassessed several of Charpin’s editorial choices. ‘Both Vinet and Scaliger are rightly regarded by modern editors as major contributors to the text of Ausonius; between them they provide some 300 useful emendations’ (Green, 357-8). A lovely copy.

USTC 141296; Baudrier VIII, 365-6; BM STC Fr., p.36. Not in Dibdin, Hoffmann or Moss. M. Gauer, Histoire et généalogie de la famille Urgel-St Priest (2012); R.P. Green, ‘Scaliger, Vinet and the Text of Ausonius’, in Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Torontonensis, ed. A. Dalzell et al. (1988), 357-62.
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