HERODIANUS Hērodianou Historiōn biblia 8. Historiarum libri VIII

Venice, Aldus, 1524


8vo. 2 parts in 1, ff. 92, 97 (i), including blank π3-4. Greek letter, with Italic. Woodcut Aldine device to t-p (hand-coloured) and last versos. Sight browning and use soiling, upper edge dusty, occasional thumb marks and ink splash, light water stain to lower blank margin of some later ll. A good copy in contemporary German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, one brass clasp, remains of second, double blind stamped to a panel design, outer border with rolls of tendrils in blind, centre panel double cross-hatched in blind, large blind-stamped fleurons, C19 gilt-lettered morocco labels, a.e.r., later eps, boards scuffed, upper edges dusty. c1900 bookplate of Henry William Poor and early C19 armorial bookplate with ms. shelfmark of August Fredrick, Duke of Sussex to front pastedown, C16 ms. autograph ‘Thomas Wiss’ to t-p, C16 ms. ‘Thomas Wiss utebatur Anno Do. 1569’ to last recto, some C16 annotations.

An unsophisticated copy, with interesting annotations and provenance, of the first separate Aldine edition of Herodian’s ‘Histories’, in a solid, contemporary southern German binding. The Greek editio princeps, spanning here the first 92 ll., was printed by Aldus in 1503, as part of a collection; based on imprecise mss., the text was plagued by several mistakes, partly redressed by Henri II Estienne in 1581. Politian’s ‘truly elegant Latin version’ (Dibdin) first appeared in 1493, becoming the standard translation well into the C16. Herodian of Syria’s (c.178-c.244) ‘Historiae’ is a most important witness account of nearly 70 years from the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180AD to the reign of Gordianus III. The humanist Angelo Poliziano (1454-94) was professor at Florence and the author of some of the earliest philologically accurate translations from the Greek to appear in print. The C16 annotator here, Thomas Wiss (or Weiss?), was most likely a German university student. Indeed, he wrote numerous glosses in Book 7, devoted to Maximinus’s campaign against the Germanic peoples. His notes were probably jotted down during Greek lectures, as a chapter of the Greek text is glossed ‘5 Lectio’, most of his marginalia do not reprise Politian’s translation (completely unannotated), and others gloss passages with scholarly remarks such as ‘de genere deliberativo’ or ‘paranomasia’. Aldus’s editions were bought ‘by many German students studying in Bologna and Padua, and were available north of the Alps through book fairs and the active German trading colony based in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice’ (Fenlon, 80).

In the early C19, this copy was in the collection of August Frederick (1773-1843), Duke of Sussex and sixth son of George III. ‘[H]e formed a magnificent library in his apartments at Kensington Palace. The collection consisted of more than 50,000 volumes […]. An elaborate catalogue of a portion of it, entitled Bibliotheca Sussexiana, was compiled by Dr. T.J. Pettigrew, the Duke’s librarian’ (Fletcher, ‘English Book Collectors’, 12; de Ricci, 18).

Henry William Poor (1844-1915) was an American banker, founder of the firm which later became Standard & Poor’s, and a renowned book collector.

Ahmanson-Murphy 227, 227a (both lacking blank π3-4); Renouard 171:2; Moss I, 449; Dibdin I, 351; Brunet III, 120. Not in Hoffmann. I. Fenlon, ‘Heinrich Glarean’s Books’, in Music in the German Renaissance (Cambridge, 1994), 74-102.
Stock Number: L2149 Category: Tag:

In stock