CAESAR, Julius.


Omnia quae exstant

Leiden, Frans van Ravelingen, in officina Plantiniana, 1593


8vo, pp. [8], 434, [30]. Predominantly Italic letter, little Greek and Roman; printer’s device on title, floriated initials; Caesar’s numismatic portrait and three folding engraved maps; slightly dust-soiled; light marginal dampstain, notably to first and final leaves and folding maps, two small wormholes at blank foot of first half, small marginal wormtrail on outer lower corner of final gathering; original paper flaw to p. 417, affecting a couple of letters. A good copy in contemporary English calf, gilt border with large gilt arms of Sir John Rivers at centre, spine compartmental gilt with floral decoration; rebacked and remounted, minor repairs at corners and spine; a little rubbed, small loss to edges; Pirie’s bookplate on front pastedown, nearly contemporary inscription ‘Sum Johas: Davies’ at head of title.

Finely bound comprehensive edition of the most iconic amongst Roman generals and statesmen. Caesar’s own account of his military campaigns in Gaul, Spain, Africa, Egypt and the Civil Wars have been a perennial textbook to learn a terse and lively Latin. This edition features: three large, detailed and very neatly engraved maps of the Roman Empire, Gaul and Iberia; several fragments of Caesar’s letters and orations collected from contemporary or slightly later sources (e.g., Cicero, Sallust, Suetonius, Plutarch); a short geographical commentary written by Aldo Manuzio the Younger (1547-1597); a table showing the breakdown of the Latin and vernacular names of the cities mentioned in the book and drawing from Abrahm Orthelius’s Thesaurus geographicus.

This handsome copy belonged to Sir John Rivers of Chafford, 1st Baronet (c.1579-1651), whose arms are gilt on the covers. Little is known about John’s life as about his library. He owed his fortune to his grandfather and namesake, a self-made man able to climb the ladder of Elizabethan society, becoming Sheriff and Mayor of London, Alderman of various city wards and obtaining a knighthood.

Not in BM STC Dut. or Brunet. Adams, C 77; Graesse, II, 7.
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