PETIT, Samuel

PETIT, Samuel Leges Atticae Sam. Petitus collegit, digessit, et libro commentario illustrauit. Opus iuris, literarum, et rei antiquariae studiosis utilissimum, 8. libris distinctum

Paris, sumptibus Caroli Morelli, viâ Iacobaeâ ad insigne Fontis, 1635


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. xii, 55, (i), 557 (i.e. 567), (i). Roman and Greek letter, some Italic. Title in red and black with fine large engraved printer’s device of fountain allegorical figures of the 4 continents at corners, fine large floriated woodcut initials head and tail-pieces. Light age yellowing, some quires a little browned with some scattered spotting, lower blank corner of t-p with some minor soiling. A very good, clean copy in contemporary vellum over boards, yapp edges, a.e.r.

First edition of Samuel Petit’s important and beautifully printed study of ancient Athenian law, dedicated to Francis Auguste de Thou, the son of Jacques. A distinguished French orientalist, Protestant minister and principal of the Protestant Accademie de Nimes, Petit was a correspondent with the leading European men of letters of his day and a friend of Selden, Gessendi and Vossius. As no systematic collection of Greek laws has come down to us Petit gathered statements from the speeches of the Attic orators, and with the aid of inscriptions to corroborate them, compiled this work, as much a social history of the Greeks as of their laws. The work is divided into eight books, effectively systemizing the law, the first dealing with religion and worship of the Gods, ministers or priests and those who officiated in Holy rites, and the laws relating to temples and festivals. The second deals with the rights of citizens and those of slaves and free men, with laws relating to children and parents. The third concerns the Senate of the Five Hundred, the popular assembly, the role of magistrates, judges and orators, the gifts and honors that they can receive and laws relating to honors given to the Gymnasia, Physicians, and Philosophers. It also deals with lawsuits, judgments, witnesses and punishments. The fourth to seventh books deal in general civil and criminal law such as public revenues or tax, buying and selling, usury, the regulation of fields, herds and flocks, marriage, endowments, adultery, prostitution, wills and inheritance law, funerals, murders, thefts and slander. The eighth and final book includes military affairs, including punishments and rewards. A hugely scholarly work, it won Petit the admiration of many including an invitation by the Pope, through the auspices of Cardinal Bagni, to Rome, despite his Protestantism. It was was reprinted until 1742. A very good copy.

Not in BM STC Fr. C17th. Brunet IV 529. Graesse V 220.
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