PALLADIUS, Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus. (and) MERULA, Giorgio, BEROALDO, Filippo and MANUZIO, Aldo. (and) VETTORI, Pietro. (and) RHENANUS, Beatus, BEROALDO, Filippo and ALCIATO, Andrea. (and) FERRETTI, Emilio.


PALLADIUS, Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus. (and) MERULA, Giorgio, BEROALDO, Filippo and MANUZIO, Aldo. (and) VETTORI, Pietro. (and) RHENANUS, Beatus, BEROALDO, Filippo and ALCIATO, Andrea. (and) FERRETTI, Emilio. De Re Rustica (with) Enarrationes vocum priscarum in libris de re rustica (…) In XIII Columellae annotationes (…) De dierum generibus (with) Explicationes suarum in Catonem, Varronem, Columellam castigationum (with) In P. Cornelium Tacitum annotationes (and) In Cornelii Taciti annalium libros annotatiunculae.

Paris (and) Lyon., Robert Estienne (and) apud Sebastianus Gryphius., 1543 (and) 1542, 1541.


8vo, 5 works in one, FIRST EDITION of last. pp. 186 (vi); ff. [84]; ff. 70 (ii); pp. 363 (i); pp. 52 (iv). Italic letter, printer’s device to t-ps (except third) and verso of last of fourth and fifth, woodcut floriated and figurative initials. First t-p very slightly soiled with minor chipping to upper fore-edge, very light age yellowing, tear to one leaf without loss. Very good, well-margined copies in handsome contemporary Flemish calf, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll of flower branches, wyverns and thristles, central panel with two opposed rows of crested acorns, binder’s name “Jehan Norvi(n)s” below (see Goldsmith 131, Gruel I, p. 137 and Foot III, n. 11), spine with blind ruled raised bands, repaired at head and tail. Contemporary “Sum ex libris Edzardi Eschij Frisij Laerani anno [15]97” and later “R. Futsinghe” to t-p blank. Unidentified C15 manuscript (two columns, illuminated initials) used as paste-downs, the text concerns animals (“de progressu animalium”, possibly from Aristotle) and focuses on dogs and hunting. C19 bookplate “Mr J.C. Bijsterbos” (Johann Christian Bijsterbos, 1814-1898), C20 bookplate “Ex libris Charles Van Der Elst” (1904-1982) to front paste-down, C20 bookplate “Ex libris J-J.S. Bibliophile” to fly.

Attractive sammelband, finely printed and beautifully bound, of three Estienne editions of the classic Latin agronomists and two editions by Gryphius of erudite commentaries on Tacitus. The volumes are in a handsome and very well-preserved Flemish – likely Louvain – contemporary binding by Jean Norvins (active 1525-1545), a bookbinder who worked in Paris and moved to Louvain in the 1530s. In the 16th century, the charming design of the blind stamped acorn panel on the covers was popular in Europe, but less than a dozen examples bearing Norvins’ name are recorded. Interestingly, the latest imprint in a Norvin’s acorn binding known to Goldsmith is 1542, and three volumes in this collection are 1543. An early owner, Edzardus Eschius, was from Frisia, in the northern Netherlands.

The first three works were published by Estienne as part of a famous five-book set of ‘Scriptores rei rusticae’ (Latin writers on agronomy, “On trouve difficilement ces 5 part. réunies” Brunet). They are among the earliest complete texts printed using a new elegant italic type – possibly cut by Garamond – which was designed in imitation of the popular Aldine italic. Rutilius Palladius’ ‘De re rustica’ (c. 5th century), is a treatise on farming describing the activities to be carried out on a typical Roman farm; it comprises 12 parts, each dedicated to a month of the year, providing instructions on the management of crops, fruit trees, gardens and livestock. The other two Etienne editions contain a series of commentaries by three important Italian humanists, Georgius Merula (1430 – 1494), Filippo Beroaldo (1472-1518) and Piero Vettori (1499-1585), on the classic treatises on agriculture by Cato, Varro, Columella and Palladius. A short contribution by Aldus Manutius is included concerned with dasy and hours, and how the hours of light and darkness change throughout the year. 

The other two books in this ensemble from Sebastién Gryphius’ press contain authoritative commentaries on the works of the Roman senator and historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (c. 56-120 AD). The authors are Beroaldo (editor of the first edition of Tacitus’ collected works of 1515), Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547, German humanist, scholar and book collector), Andrea Alciato (1492-1550, the celebrated jurist) and Emilio Ferretti (1489-1552, Italian jurist and diplomat). The commentaries – ‘annotationes’ and ‘castigationes’ – focus in particular on Tacitus’ Annales, a history of the of the Roman Empire from the death of Augustus in 14AD to the Jewish-Roman War in 70AD, but they also deal with ‘Germania’, an ethnographic treatise on the inhabitants of ancient Germany, ‘Dialogus de oratoribus’ on the art of rhetoric and ‘Agricola’, on the life of Tacitus’ father-in-law. Appended to Rhenanus’ commentary is his extensive and detailed thesaurus of Tacitus’ vocabulary.

1) USTC 140849; BM STC Fr. C16, p. 335: Adams P111; Ren. 55:2; Brunet V, 246. See Harvard French 489. 2) USTC 140879; BM STC Fr. C16, p. 311; Adams M1358; Ren. 55:2; Brunet V, 246. See Harvard French 489. 3) USTC 140891; BM STC Fr. C16, p. 438; Adams V676; Ren. 55:2; Brunet V, 246. See Harvard French 489. 4) USTC 140457; Baudrier VIII 164; Not in BM STC Fr. C16, Adams or Brunet. Worldcat records only four copies in the US (Harvard, Illinois, Pierpont Morgan, Brigham Young). 5) USTC 140210; BM STC Fr. C16, p. 164; Baudrier VIII 147. Not in Adams or Brunet. Worldcat records four copies in the US (Harvard, Yale, Illinois, Brigham Young)
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