PRISCIAN Libri Omnes. De octo partibus orationis…

Venice, Aldus, 1527


4to. [xiv] 299 [i] [ii]. Italic letter, Aldine printer’s device to t-p and verso of last. A very good copy in attractive English 18th C Harleian style crimson morocco gilt, lozenge-shaped centre ornament of many small but ornate tools, triple-gilt ruled with corner fleurons, inner dentelles gilt, spine richly gilt in 6 compartments, olive morocco lettering piece, marbled endpapers, one corner slightly bumped, joints repaired at head. Armorial bookplate of the Earl of Macclesfield on front pastedown, Shirburn castle blindstamp to first few ll.

Only Aldine edition of the complete works of Priscian (fl. 500 AD), including some works now attributed to pseudo-Priscians (indicated by *). Priscian was the last of the great grammarians of the Roman world. The collection begins with his most famous and substantial work, “the most comprehensive and significant Latin grammar” (Von Albrecht p1475) “Institutiones grammaticae,” the first 16 books of which deal i.a. with word-formation, parts of speech and sounds, and the last two with syntax. As well as systematically approaching Latin grammar, the text also preserves many fragments of earlier classical authors, many of whom would otherwise have been lost. Secondly is “Partitiones xii. versuum Aeneidos principalium”, which thoroughly dissects the first twelve lines of the Aeneid for teaching purposes, discussing the metre, scanning each verse and conducting a careful analysis on a word-by-word basis. Then come an 8th C treatise ‘On Accents’*, a song ‘On Weights and Measures’* (c.500), and Priscian’s translation of a treatize on rhetoric by Hermogenes, concluding with one on comic verses, accompanied by Rufinus’ commentary. Priscian’s text was one of the most widely admired and circulated of the Middle Ages. A schoolbook and therefore often heavily used, our present copy is in remarkably clean condition. This striking binding of high quality crimson morocco with a delicate pointille gilt centrepiece is similar in concept to the bindings from the library of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, (1661-1724), Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Treasurer and great bibliophile

BM STC It. 540. Renouard 103:2. Brunet IV 883. Adams P2113. Not in Dibdin.

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