FERRETTI, Francesco. [with] CICOGNA, Giovanni Matteo.


FERRETTI, Francesco. [with] CICOGNA, Giovanni Matteo. Della osservanza militare…libri due, di novo revisit, & ampliati. [with] Il primo libro del trattato militare nel quale si contengono varie regnole…

Venice, Camillo and Rutilio Borgominieri [with] Camillo Castelli, 1576, 1583


4to. Roman letter. Pp. (xxxvi) 126; Ff. (xii) 68. Tp with woodcut printer’s device, ornate woodcut head and tail pieces and historiated initials, four half page woodcuts of battle formations; tp with woodcut printer’s device, large ornamental head piece, ornamental initials, woodcut tables and diagrams of battle formations using numbers, small woodcuts of weapons and soldiers. De Thou shelf or case mark on pastedown partly repeated on upper corner, slight age yellowing, very light water stain to outer edge of ff. 14-17 of second work, good clean, well margined copy in handsome contemporary calf with gilt arms of De Thou on both covers and monogram in gilt on spine, slight loss at upper and lower head band and upper joint at tail. Joints rubbed, wear at corners.

Beautifully bound military treatises with Jacques De Thou’s (1553-1617) and his first wife Marie de Barbançon-Cany’s (died 1601) arms on covers. The first book is Francesco Ferretti’s (1523-1593) manual which provides practical advice for soldiers aided by woodcut tables and reproductions of deployment schemes. Ferretti was a knight of Santo Stefano, a Roman Catholic Tuscan military order founded by Cosimo I de Medici in 1561. It was originally created in order to fight the Ottoman Turks as well as pirates in the Mediterranean, and the order took part in Spanish attacks on the Ottomans including the siege of Malta in 1565 and the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 –Ferretti gained military experience and insight during these pivotal battles. American historian Lynn White calls Ferretti a “famous (military) engineer” and states that this work “was well known in later years” (‘Medieval Religion and Technology: Collected Essays’ 1978, p. 170). Ferretti’s tact and skill with diplomatic and military affairs were harnessed by the Duke of Urbino in 1557 when he was sent to London to encourage Philip II to free the Count of Landriano from prison in the castle of Milan. This work draws from Machiavelli’s famous Arte della Guerra (1521), despite it having been placed on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1559.

Both writers drew heavily from classical sources when compiling their military writings. Ferretti subscribed to the late Roman author Vegetius’s (4th c AD) military treatise ‘De re militari’, which advised that soldiers should be trained to a level of utter discipline and order, and that this training should be for a minimum for four months prior to deployment. Vegetius’s popularity had increased in the late 15th century due to the success of the first printed editions from 1473 onwards. Giovanni Matteo Cicogna was a scholar and historiographer from Verona who specialised in military tactics and battle formations. Cicogna’s humanist tendencies are shown in the employment of Roman and Macedonian battle lines including the phalanx. Cicogna pioneered the use of woodcut tables to demonstrate specific amounts and differing layouts of troops. This form of visual instruction went on to be used by other major military strategists including Giorgio Basta. 

Jacques Auguste de Thou (1553-1617) was a French historian, president of the Paylement de Paris and a copious book collector. He formed an international network of connections and allies, including Arnaud d’Ossat, François Hotman and Joseph Justus Scaliger and served both Henry III and Henry IV, he negotiated the Edict of Nantes. Under Marie de Medici he became conseil des finances and died in Paris in 1617. He wrote a number of works including his great historical chronicle Historia sui temporis which was inspired and fuelled by his extensive library. De Thou was the greatest French book collector of his day, of whom it was long said that a man had not seen Paris who had not seen the library of de Thou. “The De Thou library had a reputation as the finest private collection of its day; it numbered about 6,600 volumes at his death, and was greatly increased by his children.” P. Needham, Twelve Centuries of Bookbindings. This work is more recently from the library of renowned military literature collector Thomas Francis Fremantle, Lord Cottesloe (1862-1956. Lord Cottesloe acquired one of the most complete collections of military books.

1. BMSTC It 246 (1568 edition); Cockle 537 (1568 edition); Not in Gamba. 2. Not in BMSTC It; Cockle 536 (for the 1567 edition, though he mentions the 1583 edition as ‘another’); Not in Gamba.
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