POLLUX, Julius


POLLUX, Julius. Pollucis vocabularii Index in latinum traslatus. [Iouliou Polydeukous Onomastikon. Iulii Pollucis vocabularium.]

Venice, Aldus, 1502.


EDITIO PRINCEPS. Folio. ff. (ix) 102 (i), unnumbered, AA⁴ χ⁴ αa-νn⁸. Greek letter, occasional Roman, double column. T-p and verso of last a bit dust-soiled, traces of paper label to upper blank margin of t-p, first few ll. a little finger-soiled in margins, two tiny marginal worm holes, light water stain to upper edge of first and last gathering, small repair to half-title (αi) not affecting text, occasional very slight marginal spotting, the odd mark. A very good copy, on high-quality thick paper, in C17 sprinkled goatskin, expertly rebacked, marbled endpapers, outer border with roll of palmettes in blind, inner gilt with same and gilt large fleurons to outer and inner corners, occasional very minor loss, small creases or tiny worm holes to boards, lacking feps. Contemporary C16 ex-libris in Greek letters ‘Bartolomaios Skiasos’ to t-p (with Italian version ‘Bartolomeo Squassi’ rubbed) to t-p and αi, C17 and C18 ex-libris and C19 library stamp (rubbed) to t-p, intermittent contemporary annotations.

Handsome copy of the ‘editio princeps’ of this important Greek dictionary, from the library of a Milanese humanist who funded, in the 1490s, the printing of Greek incunabula. Bartolomeo Squassi (or Squasso, fl. 1490-1510) was secretary of Lodovico Sforza, then regent for Gian Galeazzo, Duke of Milan. With the ducal secretaries Vincenzo Aliprandi and Bartolomeo Rozzone, he contributed to the printing expenses of the ‘editio princeps’ of Isocrates (Milan, 1493) and the Latin ‘Erotemata’ (Milan, 1494), prepared by the major Greek scholar Demetrios Chalcondylas. In the colophon of the ‘Isocrates’, as in the ex-libris in this copy, he appeared as Βαρθολομαῖος Σκὺασοϛ. In 1494, Gian Galeazzo granted Squassi, Calchondylas, Aliprandi and Rozzone a ten-year privilege to print Greek and Latin works, which suggests that, like Calchondylas, ‘they too had acquired an excellent reputation as scholars of the classics’ (Calvi, ‘Castello’, 75).

The ‘Onomastikon’, composed by the Greek grammarian Ioulios Polydeukes (Julius Pollux) in the second century AD, is a lexicon of phrases and synonyms in Attic dialect. Divided by subject, it includes invaluable information on ancient customs, mythology, and everyday life, touching on themes as varied as oracles, poetry, horses, trees, and navigation. This edition is prefaced by two indexes, in Latin and Greek. Squassi used it for practical purposes as he annotated sections on specific subjects including gods’ names, temples, the eyes, body parts, the arts, musical instruments, dance, singing, games and theatre. He wrote on the margins the names of the ancient authors thereby mentioned (especially Aristophanes, Isocrates, Herodotus, Homer, Xenophon and Plato) as well as interesting nouns or verbs, sometimes in different grammatical forms. A handsome Greek Aldine of bibliographical interest.  

Renouard 49:4; Ahmanson-Murphy, 54; Brunet IV, 785; BM STC It., p.531. F. Calvi, Il Castello Visconteo-Sforzesco nella storia di Milano (1894).


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Naturalis Historiae. [with] Index in […] Naturalem Historiam.

Venice, apud Paulum Manutium, 1559, 1558.


Folio. 2 parts in 1, separate t-ps, ff. (xxviii) 976 columns [pp. 488], 36 unnumbered pp.; 66 unnumbered ff., A⁶ B⁸ a-z⁶ ²A-²B⁶ C-R⁶ S⁴ 3a-3c⁶ A-L⁶. Italic letter with Roman, mostly double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps, decorated initials. A little finger-soiling or slight marginal spotting to t-p and first leaf, slightly adhering at gutter, a handful of ll. somewhat foxed, occasional mostly marginal spotting, small light water stain to few margins and towards gutter of last leaf, small worm trail repaired to lower blank margin of final gathering. A very good, large copy, most edges untrimmed, in C18 straight-grained morocco, arabesque and feather tool gilt ruling, later gilt composite centrepieces, rebacked in calf c.1800, gilt-lettered morocco label, rubbed. Early ms. ex-libris ‘Alberti de Albertis Tusculanensis’ to t-p, C16 ms. monogram PA within lozenge to verso of last, C17 marginal note.

A very good copy of this Aldine edition of Pliny’s monument, revised by Paulus Manutius after his 1535-36 and 1540 editions; the index based on that of 1538. Pliny the Elder (23-79AD) was an administrator for Emperor Vespasian and a prolific author. The ‘Historia’ is a masterful encyclopaedia of theoretical and applied natural sciences detailing all that was known in these fields in the first century AD. Based on hundreds of Greek and Latin sources clearly marked in this edition, its ten books introduce the reader to astronomical questions like the nature of the moon and its distance from the earth; pharmacopoeia, ointments and herbal remedies; natural phenomena including rains of stones; world geography and the ethnographic study of remote ‘gentes mirabiles’; descriptions of all animal and tree species, wild and domesticated; horticulture from cultivation to the treatment of plant mutations and illnesses; metals and gold mining; mineralogy and pigments for painting.

Thanks to a wide and intense manuscript circulation, ‘the “Historia” soon became a standard book of reference: abstracts and abridgements appeared by the third century. Bede owned a copy, Alcuin sent the early books to Charlemagne […]. It was the basis of Isidore’s “Etymologiae” and such medieval encyclopaedias as the “Speculum Majus” of Vincent of Beauvais’ (PMM 5). Renaissance humanists considered the ‘Historia’ a mine of ancient knowledge.

The early annotator of this copy glossed a section on exotic animals in India and Africa—including the ‘catoblepas’, first described by Pliny—by adding a reference to an animal missing, in his opinion, from the list: the ‘camelopardalis’ (i.e., giraffe). He cross-referenced the section from Dominicus’s ‘Polyanthea’ (1503) which discusses the ‘unequal’ composition of the ‘camelopardalis’, with a horse’s neck, bovine hooves, etc. The early ownership can be traced to Frascati (Tusculanum), in the outskirts of Rome.

Brunet IV, 716; Renouard 177:2; Ahmanson-Murphy 575.


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VARGAS MEJIA, Francisco de

Francisci Vargas Catholicae maestatis rerum status a consiliis,& eiusdem apud Sanctiss. D.N. Pium IIII. oratoris. De episcoporum iurisdictione, et pontificis max. auctoritate, responsum

Rome, apud Paulum Manutium Aldi f. in aedibus populi Romani, 1563.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [xvi], 160. A-Y4. Roman letter, some Italic. Capital spaces with guide letters. Woodcut Aldine device on title. C19th engraved armorial bookplate of a Scottish Earl on pastedown with motto ‘La Virtue est la seule Noblesse’, bookplate of the Los Angeles Law library on fly, earlier autograph of ‘Joseph Sainpanhy?’ on t-p. Light age yellowing, some minor spotting in places. A good copy in c1800 half calf over marbled boards, spine gilt ruled in compartments, rebacked and remounted, red morocco label, corners worn, all edges sprinkled red.

Uncommon first edition of this interesting work, finely printed by Paulus Manutius, in which Vargas discusses at length and in great detail the jurisdiction of the Pope’s power and that of the Archbishops and Bishops, a subject of capital importance in C16th century Europe, riven by religious war, and even in the legitimising of the conquests made by European nations in the New World. The limits of Papal power were being tested across Europe and particularly with the rise of Protestantism. Vargas’s work could be considered part of the counter-reformation battle to restate in the clearest terms the extent and legitimacy of Papal jurisdiction. In his work on the legitimacy of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, ‘De Indiarum Jure’ “Solorzano also recognized that the debate about legitimacy of the conquest was not simply an issue involving the Spanish and the inhabitants of the Americas. It was also an issue that involved the power of the papacy. He cited, to give but two examples, a treatise on papal and episcopal jurisdiction by Francisco à Vargas (d. 1577) and a treatise by Cardinal Bellarmine (1542-1621) on Papal authority. These and similar citations emphasized that the debate about the right of the Spanish to conquer the Americas was ultimately linked to the debate about the papacy that was central to  he Protestant reformers’ attack on the Catholic Church.” James Muldoon. “The Americas in the Spanish World Order: The Justification for Conquest in the seventeenth century.”

This work was printed by Paulus Manutius’ press in Rome, in which he produced mostly religious works for the ecclesiastical authorities. This aspect of his printing has often been overlooked in the discussion of his genius. “The contrast between this committed classicism and the sequence of catechisms or conciliar decrees which poured from the Aldine press after its move to Rome seems so complete that bibliographers have revealed some embarrassment in tracing them to the same person. Antoine-Augustin Renouard, on whose re- search all subsequent Aldine studies have been based, had steeped himself in the secular values of the Encyclopedistes during the 1780s and harangued the National Assembly on its cultural mission during the Revolution. To him, an alliance between humanism and priestcraft was inconceivable. Though he had found a draft of the terms submitted by Paulus to the papacy, which he published along with the relevant correspondence of the papal legate Girolamo Seripando in the third edition of his Annales, Renouard could only conclude that the move compelled Paulus to “break off his studies”, and that it was forced upon him by his difficult situation in Venice. …Only recently has the appearance of new evidence revealed that the two aspects of Paulus’ career were intimately connected, and that only the most tragic accidents or confusions divided them.” Martin Lowry “Facing the Responsibility of Paulus Manutius”

Renouard 188:6. Adams II, V 272. Palau XXV, p.270.


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CASTIGLIONE, Baldassarre


Il libro del cortegiano.

Venice, in aedibus haer. Aldo I Manuzio & Andrea I Torresano, 1528


FIRST EDITION. Folio. 122 unnumbered ff., *4 a-o8 p6. Aldine device to t-p and verso of last. T-p and first couple of ll. a little soiled at lower outer corner, thumb marks to few others, faint splash to *2, small spot to n8 and o1, very light water stain to upper margin of last two gatherings. A very good, fresh copy, in c1700 vellum over boards, spine gilt lettered and gilt ruled in six compartments. C19 armorial bookplate to front pastedown, faded early inscription ‘L(?) Cam[ill]a Doufau’ to lower blank margin of t-p.

A very good, fresh copy of the first edition of a work which shaped and changed the culture of the European upper classes in the Renaissance. This edition is the ‘first and most sought after’ (Brunet I, 1628), ‘handsome and rare’ (Renouard 105:3). Of noble origins, Baldassarre Castiglione (1478-1529) studied ‘literae humaniores’ at Milan and was at the service of the Sforza and Gonzaga before moving to the court of the Duke of Urbino. He spent the last few years of his life as Apostolic nuncio in Spain, where he died of the plague in 1529. It was the year before his death that the first edition of ‘Il libro del Cortegiano’ appeared in print; its success was foreseen by Aldus who obtained a 10-year monopoly. The work celebrates the characteristics of the ideal aristocrat and ‘has remained the perfect definition of a gentleman ever since’ (PMM 59). It was inspired by Castiglione’s time at Urbino and his social interaction with influential personalities including courtiers, aristocrats and literati, by then mostly deceased. It was thus intended also as a celebration of their achievements since, as Castiglione said in the preface, the ‘loss of so many friends’ had left him in a ‘painful solitude’. In this dialogue, refined courtiers discuss the virtues (e.g., honesty, magnanimity and good manners) and social skills (e.g., foreign language proficiency, dancing and fencing) a perfect courtier should have, often inspired by classical antiquity, as well as the ‘sprezzatura’—a fundamental nonchalance or ‘carelessness’ guiding his every action. The resulting idea of ‘self-fashioning’, or the crafting of a public persona following received standards, influenced, thanks to numerous translations, the behaviour of the European aristocracy for decades, especially in England where C16 literature and drama were imbued with the Italian ideals of the ‘cortegiano’.

USTC 819485; BM STC It., p. 156; Brunet I, 1628: ‘la première et la plus recherchée’; Renouard 105:3: ‘belle et rare’; Ahmanson-Murphy 252; PMM 59.


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ABRAVANEL, Juda ben Isaac.

Dialoghi di amore, composti per Leone medico hebreo.

Venice, in casa de figliuoli di Aldo, 1552


8vo. ff. (ii), 3-228. Italic letter. Printer’s device within border on t-p, repeated on verso of last. Guide letters, spaces blank. ‘Vivian de Sola Pinto’ bookplate on paste-down. Very light age-yellowing, a little early marginalia. A good copy in C17th speckled calf, re-backed, red morocco label gilt, all edges speckled.

Abravanel’s (1465 – ca. 1535) important philosophical treatise on love, first published posthumously in 1535. The Dialoghi was exceedingly popular and went through at least five editions (four by Aldus) in twenty years, and was quickly translated into French, Hebrew and Latin. It is notably one of the first original philosophical compositions to be published in the vernacular. “Don Yehudah Abrabanel, the son of Rabbi Yitshak Abrabanel, has been one of the most extraordinary and fascinating personalities in Jewish philosophy on the threshold of modernity.

His Dialoghi d’Amore has become one of the most celebrated books of Renaissance literature and thought. Despite his personal afflictions – the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the abduction and forced conversion of his son by the King of Portugal (about which he wrote a moving poem “complaint on the times”) – he has bequeathed to us one of the most outstanding philosophical books of the epoch. Dialoghi d’Amore is one of the chief expressions of Italian Platonism, revived and flourishing at the time.” Ze’ev Levy.Modeled on the Platonic dialogue, the Dialoghi d’Amore examines the nature of spiritual and intellectual love, which is regarded by Abravanel as the principle dominating all existence, reaching its apotheosis in the love of God. He structured his three dialogues as a conversation between two “characters”, Philo, representing love, and Sophia, representing science or wisdom. The first dialogue is a contemplation on the distinctions between love and desire, or the types of love and their true nature. The second postulates that love is the dominant principle of all life and describes how love operates in human beings’ lives. The third and most lengthy is a discussion of God’s love, how it encompasses all of existence, from the lowest creatures to the heavens. A discussion of beauty and the soul follows, with an analysis of Plato’s ideas. The dialogues cover a huge range of subjects including beauty, the intellect, fascination, the influence of the planets, reproduction, nature, psychology, mans place in the universe, creation, reason, friendship, virtue, poetry and much more. “Abrabanel attempts (especially in the third dialogue of his book) to bring about a merger between Jewish-religious conceptions and Renaissance Platonism. To this purpose he welds together the Jewish concept of love of God with a religious-aesthetic idealization of the world. For the first time in the history of Jewish thought, there was a philosopher who awarded space to aesthetic reflections .. and who set out to explicate and define beauty.” Ze’ev Levy.

Vivian de Sola Pinto (1895-1969) was a poet, professor, literary critic, translator and historian  ??. A close friend of Siegfried Sassoon and his second in command on the western front, he appears in “Memoirs of an Infantry Officer” etc under the pseudonym Velmore. A leading authority on D.H. Lawrence, Pinto gave evidence for the defence in the 1960 ‘Lady  Chatterly’s lover’ obscenity trial.

An unsophisticated copy of this important work, beautifully printed at the Aldine press.

BM STC It. C16. p. 3.  Ren. 154 : 13. Gay.  I p. 891.


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CAESAR, Gaius Iulius

Commentarii tradotti di latino in volgar lingua.

Venice, Paolo Manuzio, 1547.


8vo, ff. [7], 256 [i.e. 251]. Italic letter, large printer’s device on title and final verso, 5 full-page woodcut illustrations and two double-page maps; very light, mainly marginal foxing and occasional small damsptain to gutter or margins, minor stain to upper edge of ff. 51-52; small clean tear at head of f. 54, not affecting legibility; original paper flaws touching a few letters on f. 245. A good copy in contemporary vellum, recased probably in C19th, contemporary title inked on lower edge, others on spine, a. e. r.; a few tiny wormholes, mainly at spine and rear; early bookplate scratched off front pastedown, early initials ‘LB’ on title.

The best edition of this first Italian translation of a landmark in Western literature, first published in 1512. Caesar’s own account of his military campaigns in Gaul, Spain, Africa, Egypt and the Civil Wars have been a perennial textbook to learn a terse and lively Latin but also proved very successful as a reading for a broader non-learned audience. The first vernacular translation appeared, for obvious reasons, in France and was rapidly followed by a Spanish and German edition. This transposition into the Italian vernacular was made by Agostino Ortica Della Porta, an early sixteenth-century poet from Genoa who also translated Sallust’s works. This accurate edition retains the famous set of illustrations of the 1513 Aldine edition of the original Latin text as well as the additional map of the Iberian peninsula taken from the Giunta edition of 1514 (cf. Mortimer, 96 and Essling, II/1, 1728).

BM STC It., 135; Adams, C 84; Brunet, I, 1461 (l’édition d’Alde … est la meilleure et la plus recherchée’); Graesse, II, 9; Renouard, 142:10 (‘la meilleure edition de cette traduction’).



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CATULLUS, Gaius Valerius, TIBULLUS, Albius, PROPERTIUS, Sextus


Catullus. Tibullus. Propertius.

Venice, in aedibus Aldo Manuzio, 1502.


8vo. Three works in one, first issue with ‘Propetius’ uncorrected on t-p, replacement t-p, corrected, at rear. 44 unnumbered ll., A-F8 F4 + 36 unnumbered ll., A-D8 E4 + 72 unnumbered ll., a-i8. Italic letter, occasional Roman. Very occasional slight foxing, very faint water stain to upper outer corner of first few gatherings, t-p a little bit dusty, autograph show through from t-p to verso. A very good, crisp, well-margined copy in French calf c.1700, marbled paper pastedowns, triple-ruled border gilt, gilt rosettes to each corner, gilt armorial (Lambert de Thorigny) centrepiece, gilt inner dentelles, spine richly gilt, edges speckled red, joints rubbed. Printed label ‘Bibliotheca Lamoniana Y’ and in ink ‘125’, autograph ‘F. Wulff Lund, 5 Mars 1895 17 francs’ on front pastedown, early price ‘£1-5s’ and shelfmarks ‘3’, ‘M’, ‘129’ and ‘132’ to fep, autograph of Robert Dalrymple 1746, another faded beneath, stamp of coroneted ‘L’ [Lamoignon] to t-p, early inscription ‘25ii’ (binding cost?) to rear ep.

The attractive, gilt armorial binding was produced c. 1700 for Nicolas Lambert, seigneur of Thorigny and Vermont.

Very good, crisp copy of this Aldine first edition, edited by Hieronymo Avantio, of the immortal poems of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius—the three most important elegiac authors of the late Roman republic and early imperial era. First printed by Wendelin of Speyer in Venice in 1472, Catullus, Propertius and Tibullus’s poems revealed a new poetic feeling rejecting the heroic character of the epic tradition in favour of a more familiar tone and intimate subjects like love, erotic desire, rejection and mourning. Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54BC) spent most of his life in Rome where he was acquainted with important authors and politicians. His most famous ‘carmina’, 116 of which are extant, include verse on his love and desire for ‘Lesbia’, and lampoons against public figures like Julius Caesar. Albius Tibullus (55-19BC) was part of the circle of the Roman orator and politician Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus. His verse survives in four books, only the first two of which are of safe attribution, and is mostly devoted to his intense and star-crossed love for the married ‘Delia’. Sextus Propertius (c.50-15BC) enjoyed the protection of Maecenas and Augustus and is most famous for his four books of poems, many written for his beloved ‘Cynthia’. This ‘elegiac collection’ format was successfully republished in Europe throughout the century; in the 1590s, several editions appeared in which the texts were ‘castigati’ and ‘expurgati’ of their most obvious sexual references.

This copy was once part of the Bibliotheca Lamoniana. First acquired by Guillaume de Lamoignon in 1650, the library was augmented from 2500 to over 6000 volumes in the following century, especially by Chrétien François II de Lamoignon. Upon his death in 1789, it was sold to the English bookseller Thomas Payne.

Nicolas Lambert (1659-1729) de Thorigny and Vermont was a French politician and bibliophile. Like several members of the Lamoignon family, he held office as a Parliamentary councillor and then president of one of the chambers.

Robert Dalrymple (also Hamilton) (b. 1716) was probably the third son of Sir Robert of Castleton (d. 1734) and grandson of Sir Hew Dalrymple, 1st Baronet of North Berwick.

Fredrik Wulff (1845-1930) was professor of philology at Lund. 

USTC 821181; BM STC It. p. 160; Renouard 39:16; Brunet I, 1677: ‘Édition dont les beaux exemplaires sont rares et recherchés’; Dibdin I, 374.


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LE ROY, Louis


De la vicissitudine ò mutabile varietà delle cose, nell’universo.

Venice, Giorgio Angelieri presso Aldo Manuzio, 1585.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. (xxxii) 327 (i). Roman letter, occasional Italic. Title within woodcut architectural border with cherubs holding palm leaves, male and female figures, weapons and printer’s device; decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Light age yellowing, couple of ll. with light mostly marginal water stains, mostly marginal, slight marginal foxing in a few places, a few gatherings lightly browned, small slip pasted over two lines on one Ai. A good, well-margined copy in contemporary vellum, yapp edges, contemporary title and shelfmark inked to upper cover. Spine cracked with minor loss to upper compartment. Stamps of Jesuit seminary ‘SGS’ on t-p, tiny early marginal inscription to t-p, early ink stamp of the ‘Bibliot (?)  Stanu[y]’ on t-p and verso. 

Good first edition of Louis Le Roy’s much admired and curious work on the mutability of the universe, in its Italian translation by the humanist Ercole Cato. Le Roy (1510?-77) was a humanist, political writer and historian renowned for his translations of Greek authors, including Aristotle and Plato, into French. ‘De la vicissitudine’, first published in French in 1575, was his last work and a definitive compendium of his prismatic ideas on history, politics, letters and philosophy. The main subject of the work are ‘the variety and vicissitudes of men, peoples, cities, republics, kingdoms and empires’. A blend of the classical and Christian traditions inspired by the cultural syncretism of Italian humanism, it concentrates on change—inspired by the Renaissance concepts of ‘mutability’ and ‘variety’—as the principle responsible for all historical mutations, from migrations to wars, the history of civilisations, the making and unmaking of the physical world through interactions between the four elements. These mutations, Le Roy argued, are kept together by divine providence which prevents such balance of contraries from turning into chaos. In the section where Le Roy explains the simultaneous creation and eventual end of the Heavens and Stars, the owner of this copy concealed with a pasted slip: ‘when the Universe will have dissolved, returning to the ancient Chaos and original darkness’. Le Roy was especially attracted by the birth, development and ruin of civilisations, which he explored through the medieval model of universal history embracing the origins of man to the present. The work ends in a sombre tone, with a prophetical message based on the warnings of the past, that the climax of European civilisation might soon be undone by new invading peoples, plagues and wars.

Niccolò Manassi (fl. 1590), a scholar and author of the preface, was entrusted with the Venetian Aldine press from 1585, when Aldus the Younger moved to Rome to run the Vatican press.

USTC 837671; Renouard 235:1; BM STC It. p. 376; Alden 584/43 and 575/16: ‘Includes references to America’. Not in Brunet or Graesse. M. Jeanneret, Perpetual Motion: Transforming Shapes in the Renaissance from da Vinci to Montaigne, Baltimore, 2000, pp. 166-67.


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De situ orbis.

Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius, 1516.


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio, pp. 348 (i.e. 366); Greek letter; Aldine device on title and final verso, elegant section titles, vine-work initials and head-pieces in red at beginning of each book; minor repair to title, light damp stains, mainly on gutter and upper margin; paper flaws on 65 just affecting a couple of letters. A very good, well-margined copy in nearly contemporary limp vellum, author’s name inked in Greek capitals along spine and fore-edge; slightly dust-soiled; Feltrinelli’s label on front pastedown and blind stamp on lower outer margin of front endpaper.

Editio princeps of one of the earliest and most influential geographical surveys of Antiquity. Scion of a prominent family of the Pontus region, Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 25 AD) travelled extensively through Southern Europe, North Africa and Middle East, mostly during the peaceful reign of Augustus. The Geography is his only surviving work and the first comprehensive account of the subject as known to his contemporaries.

The topography, geology, history and political features of the main regions of the Roman world are thoroughly described, relying on first-hand investigation and many Greek sources now lost, such as the writings of the first systematic geographer, Eratosthenes (c. 276 – 195/4 BC), and of Hipparchus (c. 190 – 120 BC). Above all, however, Strabo regards Homer as the most authoritative writer. Strabo’s descriptions of the Mediterranean regions, Asia Minor and Egypt are excellent, while those of Gaul and Britain are weaker. Almost unknown to the Romans, the Latin version of the Geography became the standard geographical reference work during the Middle Ages. Among many other significant remarks and hypotheses, Strabo was the first scholar to discuss in detail fossil formation and vulcanism (both in Book 3).

This editio princeps – beautifully enriched with section titles, capitals and head-pieces printed in red (an unusual feature for the Aldine press) – was accomplished by Benedetto Tirreno and Andrea Torresani, most likely with the help of Marco Musuro; the dedication to Alberto Pio of Carpi bears a touching encomium of Aldus, recently passed away. The text was drawn from a rather corrupted manuscript, now in the BnF (Par. gr. 1395). The enterprise was wholeheartedly encouraged by Jean Grolier, who urged Torresani to continue editing and publishing Greek and Latin classics, as Aldus had done throughout his career.

BM STC it., 648; Adams, S1903; Hoffmann III, 453; Renouard, 77:7; Brunet, V, 554; Graesse, VI, 505.


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PEROTTO, Niccolò



Venice, Aldus Manutius, 1499


FIRST ALDINE EDITION. Folio, pp. (lx) 642. Roman letter, a little Greek. Large initial letter of text in red and blue, rubricated initials thereafter, some text underlining in red and black. Contemporary and early marginalia in several North European hands, occasionally in red, systematic to first 60 pages, one index passage extensive, intermittent throughout. Autograph of Father Labe S.J. 1698, and manuscript inscription of an anonymous Jesuit College 1728, both on recto of first. Three words in tiny hand (directions to binder?) on blank of verso last. Stubs from c. 15th rubricated manuscript on vellum, vellum paste-downs from c. 14th (?) hymnal, decorated initials in red and blue, three line musical notation. Recto of first couple of leaves a bit soiled, marginal finger marks and corner repairs to first gathering and last, water or oil splashes to edges in some places and two pages of text. A good, well-margined, thick paper copy, used but unsophisticated in elaborate blind stamped pigskin over wooden boards, double panelled within two four-line borders, elaborately patterned tooling of various flowers in overall design, strap leather replaced, original brass clasps and hasps, one corner restored.

First Aldine edition of Perottus’ monumental work on the language and literature of classical Rome, in the form of a commentary on Martial’s epigrams. It was the greatest storehouse of linguistic material of its day, and the source-book for generations of Latin writers, including Calepine for his great dictionary. In his long preface, Aldus tells the reader that he sees it as his duty to protect the treasures of literature from the ravages of time. The text is numbered by both page and line so that it can correspond exactly with the comprehensive alphabetical index, the first time this had been done and in fact the invention of a modern scholarly system of reference (see F. Geldner, Inkunabelkunde, p. 69).

The errors found in revision were all listed to help the student. This edition also contains the first use (possibly with the Discorides) of Aldus’ third and most influential Greek type inspired by Marcus Mursurus and engraved by Francesco Griffo. “A massive encyclopaedia of the classical world. Every verse, indeed every word, of Martial’s text was a hook on which Perotti hung a densely woven tissue of linguistic, historical and cultural knowledge.” B. Ogilvie ‘The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe.’

The best early edition of one of the most significant works on antiquity in an impressive contemporary binding.

BMC V 561. Goff P.296. IGI 7428. Renouard 19:2 “Première édition d’une grande rareté”. Brunet IV 505 “Livre fort rare”.


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