DIONYSIUS OF HALICARNASSUS De Thucydidis Historia Iudicium

Venice, Paolo Manuzio, 1560


4to, 94 unnumbered ll. Roman letter, large sections in Greek. Aldine device on t-p and verso of final leaf, a few small ink-spots to corner of t-p. Infrequent contemp. m-s underlinings and annotations. Oil stain to last 2 ll not affecting text. A very good copy in early 18th C rich red morocco gilt, double filleted in gilt à la Duseuil, gilt corner ornaments, spine with gilt flowers in six compartments, gilt detail to board edges, aeg, 19/20th C bookplates to front pastedown and fep.

First Aldine edition of the most elaborate ancient criticism on the diction and composition of Thucydides. Dedicated to Nicholas Olacho, Primate of Hungary, Dionysius’ critical treatise on Thucydides discusses many of the pre-Thucydidean historians in order to emphasise the originality and genius of his subject. Since only fragments of those writers’ works survive, Dionysius’ brief discussion is an important testimony for understanding the nature and content of their works. His account is in fact the most extensive discussion of these essentially lost authors preserved from antiquity. Both a rhetorician and a historian, Dionysius was keen to explore the myth-history distinction, thus in his criticism, while acknowledging Thucydides’ status as the father of history he also takes pains to correct his facts, an undertaking that historically incurred much censure.

The only other examples of bindings employing this unusally blunt-looking ruling and cornerpieces on the diagonal we have found are Dutch, q.v. BL catalogue of bindings 141B17 and 139C16.

BM STC It. 217. Renouard 181:15. Adams D 638. Not in Brunet, Dibdin or Graesse.

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