SALLUST. Opera Salustiana

Lyon, Jacques Mareschal [et] Simon Vincent, 1511


4to, ff. (vi) 146. Gothic letter in two sizes, woodcut floriated initials, text framed by commentary. T-p in red and black within architectural woodcut border with 15 bust portraits, including Sallust (top center), and the ‘fleur de lis’ of France, Vincent’s printer’s devices on verso of last, ¾ page woodcut of the crucifixion. T-p a little soiled, light age browning to a few ll., age yellowing, tear from one blank margin touching four words without loss, tiny ink burn to lower blank margin of one l., waterstain to upper and outer margins of initial and last three gatherings. Extensively annotated up to fol. 33 and at end, some woodcut initials coloured red, contemporary ms. ex libris “Fr. Augustinus Pratus” and “Est conventi S.P. Augustini Montis Regalis” to t-p, gift dedication to Augustinus Pratus to verso, Augustinus’ ownership note and ms. annotations indicating contents and respective pages of the book on verso of last. A good copy in C19 morocco, cover single blind stamped to a panel design, gilt decoration to cover’s edges, spine triple blind stamped in compartments, author’s name gilt. Marbled endpapers, a.e.g. C19 bookplate of “Dr Lutrand” to front pastedown, his ownership stamps to fly and t-p.

Annotated copy of this edition of Sallust’s collected works, with the widely acclaimed commentary ‘Familiaris Explanatio’ by Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462-1535). First printed in 1504 and reprinted several times until the end of the 16th century, this is the first commentary written on the Sallustian corpus as a whole. A pioneer of printing, Badius Ascensius was a renowned scholar and humanist specialised in Roman texts, who added his notes to several of the classics that he printed.

In November 1554, this copy was gifted by Iohannes, the subprior of the Augustinian Convent of Montereale (Abruzzo, Italy), to his friend and novice Friar Augustinus Pratus. In his note, Johannes specifically asks: “anyone who finds this book lost, return it to Augustinus”. Augustinus Pratus corresponds to the Italian ‘Agostino Prato’, or possibly ‘Agostino da Prato’, and his surname seems to suggest that his family had Tuscan origins. Augustinus’ marginalia are particularly concentrated around the text and commentary of the ‘Bellum Catilinae’, Sallust’s most influential work, but also focus on Laetus’ biography of the author. Remarkably, in a few places, Augustinus decorated the woodcut initials with a bright red colour.

Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86-35 BC) was a Roman historian and politician, and his works are the oldest surviving historical texts in Latin that can be attached to a known author. An ‘homo novus’ born to a plebeian family, he was a partisan of Caesar during the Civil War of 49–45 BC, an opponent to the old Roman aristocracy and a critic of the moral decline of Rome. Sallust was influenced by the Greek Thucydides and he is the first Latin historian to delineate the characters of historical figures and to explain the connections and meaning of historical events. This edition opens with a ‘Life of Sallust’ by the Italian humanist Julius Pomponius Laetus (1428-1498). Then, Sallust’s three major works are included. ‘Bellum Catilinae’ (Catiline’s War) depicts the corruption in Roman policy through an account of Lucius Sergius Catilina’s attempt to overthrow the Roman Republic in the year 63 BC. ‘Bellum Jugurthinum’ (Jugurthine War) records the war against Jugurtha in Numidia from c. 112 to 105 BC, exploring the party struggles that arose in Rome and introducing the rivalry between Marius and Sulla for the first time. The ‘Histories’, of which only fragments survive, describes the history of Rome from 78 to at least 67 BC on a year-to-year basis. Also integrated at the end are some spurious texts, often attributed to Sallust, among which: two letters addressed to Caesar, a series of invectives against Cicero and Catilina, various orations by Roman consuls, a letter by Pompey to the senate and others.

USTC 143841; Adams S140, Graesse VI, p. 237; Renouard 232:7; Not in BM STC Fr. or Brunet.
Stock Number: L3703 Categories: , , ,