ILLUSTRATED ENCYLOPAEDIA OF ROMAN ANTIQUITIES
Antiquitatum Romanarum Corpus Absolutissimum.Geneva, P. and J. Chouet, 1632.
4to. pp. , 1063, . Roman letter, with Italic, occasional Greek, partly double column. Title in red and black, woodcut printer’s device, 2 folding ll. with maps of ancient Rome and of Roman military camp, 48 ½-page or smaller woodcuts of ancient coins, medals, buildings and figures, decorated initials and ornaments. General light age yellowing, title and few ll. toned, paper flaw to outer blank margin of 3H3. A good copy in contemporary vellum, APHM bookplate to front pastedown.
A very good, unsophisticated copy of one of the most popular illustrated encyclopaedias of Roman antiquity, greatly expanded and amended by Thomas Dempster. The author (1550-1626) was a Lutheran pastor and rector of a school in Regensburg. First published in 1585, ‘Antiquitatum Romanarum’ was enlarged and revised several times. The present edition, which first appeared in 1613, was produced by the Scottish Catholic scholar Thomas Dempster (1579-1625) – whose additions are presented separately, as ‘paralipomena’ – and dedicated to King James I and his favourite Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester. Part I focuses on ancient Rome, its people, origins (with mentions of Greek sources), topography and main buildings (illustrated in a few woodcuts and a fold-out map). Part II is devoted to Roman religion and temples, with a large woodcut of the temple of Janus, and detailed accounts of sundry names and cults of major and minor deities. Part III deals with Roman priests and rites, prognostications (‘haruspices’), the emperor’s ‘apotheosis’, the Vestals, the Sybilline oracles, vases used for sacrifices, etc.; Part IV with computations of the days, months and years, with the typographical reproduction of an ancient calendar carved on a Roman monument, and a list of day’s names or feasts for each month; Part V with games and banquets (illustrated with a large woodcut of a triclinium), including theatrical spectacles, games in honour of specific deities, organised for funerals, or done by gladiators, etc. Part VI discusses politics, beginning with ‘comitia’ (legislative assemblies), Part VII magistrates, state and city officers, and political bodies, Part VIII and IX on the laws, their origin and types (e.g., patria potestas, inheritance, parricide, etc.), and trials, and Part X on the army, its structure, weapons, ranks, etc., with a fold-out map illustrating a military camp. The work is accompanied by two extensive indexes listing hundreds of authors and keywords mentioned in the text.Brunet IV (later ed.); Shaaber D38. Not in VD17.