GIOVIO, Paolo.


GIOVIO, Paolo. Turcicarum rerum commentarius. [followed by] Commentarius captae urbis ductore Carolo Borbonio.

Paris, Robert Estienne, 1539


8vo. 2 works in 1, separate t-ps, continuous signatures, pp. 87 (i), 32. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps. First t-p a little dusty with slight yellowing, minimal marginal foxing to last three ll. A very good, clean copy in late C19 crushed crimson morocco, marbled eps, gilt oval centrepiece to covers, spine and inner edges gilt, a.e.g. One early ms. marginal note.

Finely bound, good, clean copy of the second Estienne Latin edition of this important Turcicum, with the second part (not always present), including G.B. Egnazio’s famous account on the origins of the Turks. Paolo Giovio (1483-1552), a major historian and ethnographer, first published ‘Commentario’ in Italian in 1531, to contribute to the debate on the Ottoman wars, in view of the planned crusade of 1532. Like other such treatises, it was dedicated to Emperor Charles V, who led Europe against the Turks; it was also ‘the most realistic, less moralistic and clearest’ (Zimmermann, 159-60). It comprises sections on the origins of the Turks, their sultans from Orhan to Suleyman, their troops and war strategies. It was first translated and published in Latin in Strasbourg, in 1537, by the Italian Reformer Francesco Negri (1500-63). Robert Estienne printed it in 1538. Estienne added, with continuous signatures but separate foliation, the anonymous ‘Commentarius captae urbis’, also published separately. It recounts the sack of Rome of 1527, led by Charles III de Bourbon, on the French troops’ rebellion against the Holy Roman Emperor. It also includes the famous ‘De origine Turcorum’ by Giovan Battista Egnazio, first published by Aldus in 1516 as an appendix to Egnazio’s biographies of Roman emperors. Based on diplomatic documents produced for the Serenissima in the late C15, it did not depict a complimentary image of the Ottomans, presented as skilful invaders of the Byzantine empire, and, especially Suleyman, ambitious conquerors. This did not suit state policy as Francis I sought instead to promote the ongoing Franco-Ottoman alliance, established in 1536. A fine sammelband of scarce Turcica.

Only Illinois copy (both parts) recorded in the US.Göllner 644 (without second?) and 651 (separate publication of second); Renouard 48:12; French Books 72130; BM STC Fr., p.203; Brunet III, 585 (1538 ed.). T.C. Price Zimmermann, Paolo Giovio. Uno storico e la crisi italiana del XVI secolo (2012); E. Armstrong, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer (1954).

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