ARISTOTLE, ODONIS, Geraldus, ed. [with] ARISTOTLE, BURLAEUS, Gualtherus, ed.


ARISTOTLE, ODONIS, Geraldus, ed. Sententia et expositio cum questionibus […] super libros Ethicorum Aristoteles. [with]

ARISTOTLE, BURLAEUS, Gualtherus, ed. Expositio […] super decem libros Ethicorum Aristotelis.

Venice, Per Simonem de Luere, Impensis domini Andree Torresani de Asula, 14 Jul 1500; 4 Sep 1500.


Folio in 8s. 2 works in 1, ff. (x) 192; (xiv) 170. Gothic letter, double column. First t-p and second last verso a little soiled, small worm hole on first and last few ll., slight yellowing, couple of ll. dusty, outer edge just trimmed affecting first or last letters of ms. notes in a few places, small oil stain at foot of F7-G4, scattered ink smudges to few ll., occasional mainly marginal spots and minor repaired tears. Very good, clean copies, on high-quality paper, in late C18 quarter vellum over marbled boards, morocco labels, possibly later eps. Ms. ‘Conradus Suffan 1563 Æ.V.R.P.’, ‘Sum M[o]n[ast]erij B.M.V. In Brunnbach’ (C17), ‘Dono accepi à Petro Pistore Scriba conventus Aulae Mergentheimensis Anno 1563 die Conceptionis Mariae’ and C19 ‘F.[ürstlich] Loev.[enstein] Ros.[embergische] Canzlei Bibliothek’ stamp to first t-p, extensive contemporary C16 annotations throughout, C16 ms. ‘Sum ex bibliotheca Danielis Suffani’ and ‘Iam Biblioth: Brunnbach’.

Very good, clean copies of the second editions of these important commentaries to Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’—with extensive C16 annotations. The Franciscan theologian Geraldus Odonis (1285-1349) was papal legate for John XXII, on whose behalf he negotiated policies against the heretical Patarenes in Hungary and Bosnia, peace between the English and Scottish kings, and the thorny question of the saints’ ‘visio beatifica’ (the complete vision of God). His commentary to ‘Ethics’, which includes Robertus Grosseteste’s Latin translation, was first printed in 1482. It reassesses, through Christian theology, dozens of questions raised in Aristotle’s milestone—from the definition of ethics (the philosophy of human behaviour and moral value) to the nature and understanding of moral virtues, friendship, happiness, justice and pleasure, and the importance of education and good laws for society and the commonwealth. The early annotator was a theologian and probably a monk, as he highlighted passages on the ethics of ‘solitary’ life, including the ‘vita monastica’. Interesting glosses are those on the nature of happiness, on the ethical value of ‘banausus’ (an artisan but also, as here, musician and stage actor) and the vice of ‘banausia’, on the ethics of justice in the case of debtors’ ‘involuntary commutation’ (e.g., poisoning, blinding, death, slander) as payment for what they owe, on incontinence, bestiality, and friendship. He occasionally erased incorrect words and sentences, or integrated the text with variants from another edition. The second commentary in this sammelband is the work of Walter Burley (c.1275-1344/5), an English scholastic philosopher trained at Oxford and the Sorbonne, with a specialisation in logic and a critic of William of Ockham. He translated some works of Aristotle into English by request of his patron Richard de Bury, later bishop of Durham and Lord Treasurer. His commentary on ‘Ethics’, first published in 1481, is one of three dozen he wrote on Aristotle’s works. In the preface, the editor, Simon de Luere, explained the detailed organisation of the editing, layout, reference sidenotes (to Averroe), paratexts and content, shedding fascinating light on the painstaking work required to turn complex ms. commentaries into printed sheets for easy consultation. The annotator glossed this work as copiously as the first, in sections such as those on the role of education for children, the soul, moral virtues and the logic of vice or wrong-doing, types of justice, and kinds of government (with a note on Taprobana, ‘insula Indiae’, based on Solinus).

In 1563, this copy was in the library of Conradus Suffan (d. c.1568) from Röttingen, in Baden-Württemberg, registered at Jena c.1556 and later a Benedictine and Cistercian. It was donated to him in the same year by Petrus Pistorius from a nearby monastery of Mergentheim. ‘Scriba’ could mean he was either a scribe or copyist or that his surname was Schreiber. Circa 1600, it was in the library of the Cistercian monastery of Bronnbach, Wertheim, before it was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, and this copy likely lost.

I: Goff O29; HC 11969*; BMC V 576; GW M02767.

II: Only Free Library of Philadelphia, Illinois and Newberry copies recorded in the US.

Goff B1301; HC(Add) 4144*; BMC V 576; GW 5779.


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Sharh al-Mulakhas fi’Ilm al-Hay’a (a commentary on the Compendium of Cosmology), decorated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Region of Samarkand, likely last decades of fifteenth century


12mo, 170 by 95mm., 86 leaves (including 4 contemporary flyleaves), complete, text in single column throughout, 19 lines delicate black nasta’liq, some overlining and headings in red, numerous diagrams throughout the text also in red, contemporary annotations to margins, catch-words throughout, some very faint water-staining to extremities, a few early ownership annotations and stamps to preliminary and penultimate leaves, including some quatrains of Persian poetry, early eighteenth-century russet morocco with flap, centrally placed medallions stamped in blind to covers and flap, also ruled in blind, some staining and light wear to extremities.

Musa bin Muhammad Qazi Zadeh al-Rumi (d.1436), known simply as Qazi Zaheh, was an Ottoman astronomer and mathematician based in Samarkand. Qazi Zadeh was a celebrated scholar in his field and is best known for the Zij’i Sultani, his collaborative work with fellow astronomer and Govenor of Samarkand Ulugh Beg (d. 1449). Their treatise is considered the first truly comprehensive stellar catalogue containing over 900 stars and is still considered an important treatise in the field of cosmology today. During his career Qazi Zadeh also became the directory of the Samarkan educational observatory, built under the direction and patronage of Ulugh Beg, which became the centre for astronomical research and education in the region.

The present text is a commentary on Mahmoud ibn Muhammad ibn Umar al-Jaghmini’s influential astronomical text entitled Al-Mulakhas fi’Ilm al-Haya (Compendium of Cosmology) which was likely compiled in the early 13th century. Qazi Zadeh’s treatise both acts as a summary and commentary of Jaghmini’s text, dealing with the configuration of the celestial and territorial worlds combined (including the arrangement of Ptolemaic celestial orbs). These treatises are compiled in a simplified format to accommodate a wider scholarly community and thus explain cosmographic theories in basic elementary terms and target broad audiences. The approachable nature of this text meant it became particularly widespread, often copied alongside Jaghmini’s text, and was even used as a curriculum for schools in Ottoman regions. 

This particular manuscript was probably copied for personal use by a scholarly student. Though there are wide margins throughout (for annotation) the text itself is miniscule and copied in a very tight format, an economic solution for self funding copyist. The contemporary marginalia and ownership seals are in keeping with the Eastern regions of Timurid Persia, not far from Samarkand, and probably copied only a few decades after the author’s death. 


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HOTMAN, François. [with] MYNSINGER von FRUNDECK, Joachim.


HOTMAN, François. Vetus-renovatus commentarius in quatuor libros Institutionvm iuris civilis.

Lyon, Apud Antonium Candidum, [1588]. [with]

MYNSINGER von FRUNDECK, Joachim. Apotelesma, hoc est corpus perfectum scholiorum.

Helmstedt, ex officina Iacobi Lucii, 1588.


Large folio. 2 works in one, pp. (xii) 525 (xix), (xl) 704 (ccxxiv). Roman letter, some Italic, occasional Greek. T-ps in red and black with printer’s woodcut devices; author’s woodcut portrait to verso of second, his large woodcut arms to β8, and large woodcut printer’s device to last; woodcut initials and ornaments. Minimal toning, I: very light water stain to upper blank margin of early gatherings, small tear from upper outer blank corner of i1, II: marginal ink splash to verso of H4 just touching side note, the odd spot, small tear to three upper edges, light water stain to upper outer corner towards end. Very good copies in contemporary Saxon pigskin, triple blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll of tendrils and small heads within roundels, second with blind roll of interlacing palmettes, third with blind-stamped full female figures of Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence and Temperance (some signed FH), centre panel bordered by blind rolls of palmettes and tendrils, elaborate blind-stamped armorial centrepieces (signed GK) of Christian I, Elector of Saxony (upper) and Johann Georg, Elector of Brandenburg (verso), diagonally striped, raised bands, corners a bit bumped and worn, covers a little soiled. Ms. casemarks to front pastedown, C18 ‘1 Julii 1717’ to first t-p.

In a solid, handsome pigskin binding. The centrepieces are signed G.K. (Georg d. Ä. Kammerberger, EBDB w000435 and Haebler I 221-225). ‘The Kammerbergers were a family of bookbinders, whose workshops in Wittenberg were active during a large part of the C16 and throughout the C17 century. The company probably flourished under Georg Kammerberger the Younger in the 1590s, who was elected Master of the Guild in 1592’ (Haebler). This binding is stamped with the finely cut arms of Christian I, Elector of Saxony, and those of Johann Georg, Elector of Brandenburg. Christian I married Sophie of Brandenburg, Johann Georg’s daughter, in 1586; after her husband’s death in 1591, she became Regent (Sophia Electrix) during the minority of their son, until 1600. Given that, during the Regency, her personal arms were used in escutcheons and medals, this binding was probably produced for her library in the preceding years, with the Saxon and Brandenburg arms identifying her status as wife and daughter.

Two important commentaries to Justinian’s ‘Institutiones’—a cornerstone of the Western legal system. Justinian I (482-565) ruled for forty years over the Byzantine empire and succeeded in temporarily rekindling the former splendour of Rome by reclaiming Italy, Dalmatia and Spain from the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. ‘Institutiones’ is part of his ‘Corpus iuris civilis’, the first codification of Roman law. Based on the ‘Institutiones’ of Gaius, and other authorities, including Ulpian, it is a compendium of the basic institutions of Roman law devised by Theophilus and Dorotheus, two Byzantine law professors, under the supervision of Tribonian. François Hotman (1524-90) was a French Protestant lawyer associated with the anti-absolutist faction. In his revolutionary ‘Anti-Tribonian’, he advocated the substitution, in France, of Roman law based on Justinian, a change the king could have enforced with a legislative act. With a philological approach, he ‘favoured an alliance between law and history in order to distinguish between “old law” and “new law”, that is, between obsolete law and authoritative law’, being concerned with ‘salvaging what still had practical value’ among Roman laws (Kelley, ‘François Hotman’, 189). His ‘Commentarius’, also featuring a life of Justinian, sought to highlight Roman laws still relevant to the present, distinguishing originals and interpolations by later jurists, including the berated Tribonian. Joachim Mynsinger von Frundeck (1514-88) was a German jurist and writer, a judge at the Imperial Chamber of Justice in Speyer and later Vice-Chancellor of Helmstedt University. He was the first to publish documents of the so-called ‘cameralistic jurisprudence’, the decisions of the Imperial Chamber based on confidential consultation. Here in a scarce German edition, ‘Apotelesma’ was organised ‘in the form of “glossae” or annotations to single passages in the text, accompanied by brief comments. (Padoa-Schioppa, ‘History’, 269). Subjects include the laws relating to agriculture, wills, evidence, landed property and inheritance.

I: Baudrier XII, 484. Not in BM STC Fr. or Brunet.

II: No copies recorded in the US.

BM STC Ger., p.746 (1563 ed.). Not in Graesse. A. Padoa-Schioppa, A History of Law in Europe (Cambridge, 2017); D.R. Kelley, François Hotman (Princeton, 1973).


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BEROALDUS, Philippus.


Orationes et poemata.

Bologna, Franciscus dictus Plato de Benedictis for Benedictus Hectoris Faelli, 1491.


FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. 76 unnumbered ll., a-i⁸ k 4 . Roman letter. 4- to 7-line initials, capitals and paragraph headings heightened in red (occasional smudge). Recto of first and verso of last leaf a bit dust-soiled, the former restored at gutter, couple of ll. very slightly shaved at head, affecting couple of letters of a headline and one ms. note, light oil splash extending from lower gutter of g 7-8 , the odd marginal spot. A very good copy in early C19 polished calf, rebacked, spine remounted, eps renewed, double gilt ruled, bordered with small ropework in blind, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, corners a little worn, all edges blue, silk bookmark. Contemporary ms. marginalia in black and red.

A very good copy of the first edition of the orations and poems of Philippus Beroaldus—a leading humanist in Europe c.1500. Except for brief spells in Parma and Paris, Beroaldus (1453-1505) was a much esteemed professor of rhetoric at Bologna, his hometown, from 1472 to his death in 1505. Among his students were Jodocus Badius and Polydore Vergil. A skilled editor of the classics, he was also a prolific author and worked as editor for Benedetto Faelli, the publisher of the present work, known for his elegant imprints. Since 1487, Faelli had collaborated with Francesco ‘Platone’ Benedetti, ‘the prince of Bolognese typographers’, producing books with type ‘of superior elegance’ (Cioni, ‘Diz. Biog.’). Dedicated to Beroaldus’s student Martinus Boemus, ‘Orationes et poemata’ provides critical assessments of major authors including Virgil, Propertius, Livy, Cicero, Lucan, Juvenal, Sallust, Persius and Horace. It also portrays fascinating scenes from late C15 Bologna, scattered among topical orations on the appointment of the Briton Thomas Anglicus to rector of the Gymnasium Bononiense (with a celebration of Albion/England/Britannia based on Tacitus and Pliny), on the celebration of Ludovico Sforza and the weddings of the nobility. At the end are a few poems on sundry subjects including epitaphs, the Passion, love, slander, and the fable of Tancredi from Boccaccio.

This work was used by rhetoric students, doubtless including Beroaldus’s own, for examples of oratory, Neo-Latin poetry and classical commentaries. The contemporary ms. marginalia in this copy highlight the contrast between the Virgilian virtues of ‘rusticitas’ and the late C15 vices of ‘urbanitas’ (with merchants and usurers), Propertius’s views on love, ancient theories of poetry (with mentions of Homer), as well as Beroaldus’s scattered lamentation for lost ancient books (e.g., Livy and Sallust) or for the life of his times (e.g., ‘so strong in mortals is the innate greed for novelty’). The orations bear so many references to contemporary Bolognese city and university life that the work was probably a fascinating ‘guide’ for (especially foreign) students. For instance, the annotator highlighted Beroaldus’s description of the crowds gathering for the marriage of Annibale II Bentivoglio and Lucrezia d’Este in 1487. On the lower margin of the last leaf, he penned the appropriate motto ‘etate iuvenis maturitate senex’, from St Jerome’s commentary on Isaiah’s description of Daniel.

Hain 2949; BMC VI 825; ISTC ib00491000; GW 04144; Goff B-491. A. Cioni, ‘Faelli, B.’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 44 (1994).


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Harmonia ex tribus Evangelistis.

[Geneva], Robert Estienne, 1555.


FIRST LATIN EDITION. Folio. 2 parts in 1, pp. (xvi) 446 (ii) 237 (vii). Roman letter, some Italic. Printer’s woodcut device to t-p, decorated initials. Later blank inserted between parts, light water stain to upper outer corner of second part and foot of last leaf, ink splash to Bb3-5, pp. 119-23 misnumbered 151-54, extensive C16 marginal annotations in places. A very good copy in C16 Geneva calf binding, modern reback, double and triple blind ruled, gilt fleurons to corners of inner border, blind-stamped oval centrepiece with interlacing ribbons and tendrils, boards deliberately knife scratched (Revolution?), repaired corners, C17 stamp ‘RECOLS D BX’ to upper board. Modern bookplate to front pastedown, C16 dry-point inscription ‘Se present libre apartient a mos S Meliande’ to ffep, C17 inscription ‘Ex libris conventus Bruagii [Brouage, crossed out] Burdingale [Bordeaux]’ to t-p, annotations in French and Latin, with occasional Greek.

A very good copy, in contemporary Geneva binding, of the first Latin edition of Jean Calvin’s commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, also including a commentary on St John.

Calvin (1509-1564) famously contributed to the introduction of the Reformation to France and Switzerland. A meeting with the Parisian Robert Estienne, Royal Printer and late convert to Protestantism, encouraged the latter’s controversial move to Geneva. Until 1559, Estienne used not the place name but ‘Oliva’ (the Olive-Tree, his printer’s sign) on the t-p of his Genevan editions. Calvin was quick to offer Estienne his Latin scholarly works. ‘The second-rate printers at his disposal [in Geneva] had on occasion caused him serious embarrassment, and he applied formally to the Council […] praying that privileges in his works should not be granted except to the printer of his choice, “to uphold his reputation”’ (Armstrong, ‘Robert Estienne’, 229).

‘Harmonia’ sought to harmonise the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke), who, unlike John, recount many of the same episodes of the life of Christ, in similar order and sometimes wording. The three gospels are compared in columns, and the lines numbered. The work was ‘designed for ease in comparing and contrasting the three Evangelists’, as Calvin wished ‘to allow readers to “see at a glance the points of likeness and difference”. […] The Synoptics indicate what happened, but John tells why’ (Flaming, ‘John Calvin’, 150, 152). Calvin’s references to John led Estienne to add, as he explains at the end of Part I, the previously published commentary to St John. ‘Harmonia’ thus provided an ‘integral exposition of the history of the Gospels’.

The C16 Catholic annotator focused on important Calvinist differences. He added comments to the account of the annunciation, and quotations describing the Virgin’s nature and attributes (those controversial for Protestants, e.g., ‘gratia plena’) from authorities like Augustine, Ambrose, Cyprian, St Paul, Council of Basel and the Council of Trent. He annotated the section on Christ’s temptation by Satan, which Calvinists used to discuss whether it was, really, a temptation, if Christ was never meant to give in, his human nature, and the value of free will. Quoting from authorities, he highlighted Christ’s temptation to break his fasting (could he die of starvation?), labelling Calvin’s statement ‘stultitia’ and referencing authorities who confuted this, from the Council of Nicaea to the Church Fathers. In the sections on the Sermon of the Mount, he highlighted the issue of Christ as legislator and judge, and his ‘new commandment’ to ‘love one another as I have loved you’, refuting Calvin’s ‘false’ beliefs. He also quotes from Luther’s sermon on the Third Sunday of Advent. The annotator also labelled as ‘falsum’ Calvin’s understanding of absolution as a renewal of one’s baptism rather than part of the Sacrament of Penance. He glossed passages where Calvin questions the distinction between mortal and venial sins, clarifying according to Catholic doctrine. Finally, he focused on Calvin’s theory of predestination, using authorities to restate the Catholic view on salvation.

In the C17, this copy was in the library of the monastery of the Recollects in Brouage, established in 1555 by Jacques de Pons, and one of a handful of new (later Royal) towns founded in C16 France. The Recollects were born of a Spanish reform movement within the Order of the Friars Minor in the late C16. The Brouage-born navigator Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635), founder of Quebec, ‘hired’ some of the local Recollects in 1615, making them the first order to establish a mission there.

Renouard, Estiennes, 86; Adams C-347. E. Armstrong, Robert Estienne (Cambridge, 1954); D.K. Fleming, ‘Calvin as Commentator on the Synoptic Gospels’, in Calvin and the Bible (Cambridge, 2006), 131-63.


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EUCLID. Elementorum libri XV.

Pesaro, Camillo Franceschini, 1572. [with]

ARCHIMEDES. Opera non nulla. [and] Commentari.

Venice, Paolo Manuzio, 1558.


FIRST EDITIONS. Folio. Three works in one, ff. (xii) 255 (iv) 55 (ii) 63 (i), first lacking last blank, separate t-p to each. Roman and Italic letter, pages double-ruled in red. First t-p within architectural border t-p, allegorical figures, grotesques, cornucopiae and small geometrical diagrams; second and third with printer’s device to last; hundreds of fine geometrical diagrams; decorated initials. Occasional light yellowing, first t-p with odd marginal thumb mark, light marginal water stains to second t-p and a few ll. where annotations were washed, a few marginal tears without loss, old repairs to 3 ll. and one outer margin of final ll. of first work. Very good, well-margined copies in superb C17 French brown goatskin, gilt to a single- and double-ruled panel design, centre panel with gilt arms of Louis Bizeau surmounted by a plumed helmet, gilt monogram LB to corners, gilt roll of lozenges and circles to edges, all edges gilt and marbled. Spine triple gilt ruled in seven compartments, six with monogram LB, one with gilt lettering, floral scrolls with dentelles at head and foot, raised bands gilt to a roll of interlacing circles. Early casemark ‘FF. 8. 31.’ and armorial bookplate of Viscount Bruce of Ampthill and Baron Bruce of Whorleton, ‘Robert Bruce
1729’ to ffep, a few washed-out early marginalia. In modern slip box.

The superb binding bears the monogram and arms (a fess, two stars in chief, a crescent in point) of Louis Bizeau (fl. first half of C17), a prominent bibliophile of whom little is known (Olivier, ‘Manuel de l’amateur de reliures’, V, pl. 486). Some of his bindings c.1645-50 have been linked to the same workshop as worked for Dominique Séguier (Quaritch, ‘Examples of the Art of Book-Binding’, 108-9). His books, like this, had ruled pages, gilt edges and marbled pastedowns.

Excellent, well-margined copies, in fine impression, of Francesco Commandino’s Latin translations of Euclid’s ‘Elements’ and Archimedes’s ‘opera omnia’, with Commandino’s commentary, the last two issued together. These texts provided the foundations of modern mathematics and physics. Commandino (1509-75) was a humanist from Urbino renowned for his translations of the ancient Greek mathematicians including Aristarchus of Samos and Pappus of Alexandria. Several of his Latin renditions of Greek mathematical terms, for which he relied on previous adaptations by Roman authors like Cicero and Vitruvius, became the standard. Euclid (4 th century BC) was the first to reunite mathematical findings from the ancient world into a coherent, bi-dimensional system centred on simple axioms of plane geometry, based on angles and distance, from which further propositions (or theorems) could be deduced. His ‘Elements’ began with the crucial definition of ‘point’, ‘that which has no part nor size’ and which is only determined by two numbers defining its position in space—the fundamental notion on which the Euclidean geometrical system is based. Archimedes (287-12BC) was a mathematician, inventor, astronomer and engineer from Syracuse. The ‘Opera non nulla’ includes all his recorded writings, except for the treatise on floating bodies and that on the method of mechanical theorems, which was discovered later. This edition—the sole Aldine of Archimedes’s works—illustrates superbly his theorems on the area of circles, parabolae, spirals, spheres and cones, concluding with the famous ‘De arenae numero’, a calculation of the amount of sand grains needed to fill the universe. It is followed by Commandino’s commentary on Archimedes’s works, where geometrical diagrams are substituted by numerical calculations.

Charles Bruce (1682-1747), Earl of Ailesbury, Viscount Bruce of Ampthill and Baron Bruce of Whorleton, was a keen book collector. A catalogue of his vast library, comprising over 8,000 volumes, at Tottenham in Wiltshire, was printed in 1733—the second earliest catalogue of an English private library ever published (Pollard & Ehrman, 274-75), this copy being n.17, p.83. The library was eventually sold at Sotheby’s in 1919. His first-born, who died in 1738 before succeeding his father, is probably the Robert Bruce who signed the copy in 1729.

I) USTC 828478; BM STC It., p. 238; Brunet II, 1088: ‘édition bonne de cette traduction estimée’ ; Riccardi I, 362; Mortimer, Harvard Italian, 174; Thomas-Stanford, 18.

II) USTC 810251; BM STC It., p. 36; Rénouard 173:3; Riccardi I, 42: ‘bella edizione, assai poco comune’; Brunet I, 344: ‘peu commune’.


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Explicationes suarum in Catonem, Varronem, Columellam castigationum.

Paris, ex officina Robert Estienne, 1543.


8vo. ff. 70 (ii). Italic letter, little Roman. Very slight toning, a fine, wide-margined copy in late C19 polished calf, marbled eps, triple gilt ruled, raised bands, spine in seven gilt cross-hatched compartments, gilt-lettered label, inner edges gilt, a.e.g. Bookplate of Leo S. Olschki and faded stamp of Rothamsted Experimental Station to front pastedown, faded early marginalia on one fol.

Fine copy of Piero Vettori’s classic commentary on Cato, Varro and Columella. Vettori (1499-1585) was among the most influential Italian humanists and Greek philologists, and editor of works—some of them appearing for the first time in print—by Aeschylus, Cicero, Aristotle and Euripides, mostly published in Paris and Lyon. ‘Explicationes’ was intended as an appended commentary with references to specific phrases and lines in Vettori’s editions of Cato, Varro and Columella’s works on husbandry, agriculture and farming, with which it was sometimes bound (see Renouard 55:2). These were known collectively as ‘De re rustica’—a florilegium addressed to a C16 readership interested in the classical rustic virtues of landownership and practical aspects of country life, covering topics as varied as the best place to set up a beehive, horticulture, remedies for dogs with flees and sick horses, ways to scare snakes off stables and regulations for workers. Marcus Porcius Cato’s (234-149 BC) ‘De Agri Cultura’ (c.160 BC) was a manual on the management of a country estate reliant on slaves, with a special interest in the cultivation of vines. Marcus Terentius Varro’s (116-107BC) ‘Rerum rusticarum libri tres’ was based on his direct experience of farming. A soldier and farmer, Lucius Moderatus Columella (4-70AD) is best known for his ‘Res rustica’, one the cultivation of vines and olives, farming and estate management, and the shorter ‘De arboribus’, on horticulture. Vettori compares his edited text to a variety of sources. These included epigraphic inscriptions and ms. variants in Latin and Greek found, for instance, in the Bibliotheca Medicea, easy access to which he had enjoyed since 1538, when he was appointed professor of classics in Cosimo I de’ Medici’s Studio Fiorentino.

USTC 140891; BM STC It., p. 722 (not this ed.); Renouard 55:2. Not in Brunet.


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MACROBIUS, Ambrosius Theodosius


viri consularis & illustris in somnium Scipionis libri II. Eiusdem saturnaliorum libri VII.

Basel, Johannes I Herwagen, 1535


Folio. pp. [xl] 334 [ii]. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek, entirely ruled in red. Woodcut printer’s device on title, repeated on verso of last, several small woodcut diagrams including a world map, fine white on black criblée, historiated and floriated woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, very occasional minor marginal spotting, small chip at heat of t-p. A fine copy, crisp and clean with excellent margins, in C19th french olive morocco, covers bordered with a triple gilt rule, finely worked to a fanfare design with single and double gilt rules, scrolls, and branches, with a multitude of compartments, all filled with a small tools gilt, around a central oval with the arms of Henri IV gilt stamped at centre on a pointillé ground, spine gilt ruled in a single panel with a semée of fleur de lys gilt, edges gilt ruled, all edges gilt and gauffered, tiny repairs to extremities. 

A beautifully printed edition of the major works of Macrobius, edited by Camerarius with valuable emendations, in a fine C19th morocco binding in a pastiche fanfare style, with the arms of Henry IV of France. This edition contains the two major works that have survived from this Roman grammarian and philosopher. Macrobius was of African descent. He may be the Macrobius mentioned in the Codex Theodosianus as a praetorian prefect of Spain in 399-400, proconsul of Africa in 410, and lord chamberlain in 422. The first work is a commentary on the Dream of Scipio in which the elder Scipio appears to his grandson, and describes the life of the good after death and the constitution of the universe from a Stoic and Neo-Platonic point of view; from this Macrobius discourses upon the nature of the cosmos, transmitting much classical philosophy to the later Middle Ages. Cicero’s ‘Dream’ described the Earth as a globe of insignificant size in comparison to the remainder of the cosmos. The world map in this edition is important as it has evolved from the original Macrobian map which, for a 1000 years, formed the basis of world geography. It was first printed in 1482, showing the continents in the ‘Alveus Oceani’, a big Europe, and a rather small Africa and Asia. The round map is typically divided in 5 climatic zones, demonstrating a pre-Renaissance view of the world, with a large Antipodean section. The map in this edition shows the awakening of the passion for exploration and the cartographic progress in this period. Africa and Asia have grown hugely, and Europe has shrunk considerably. The lines of the climatic zone on the first map of 1482 were straight, suggesting a flat earth, on this map the lines are convex, indicating a spherical world. The Antipodean part has disappeared. There is still, however, no sign of the Americas.

Macrobius’ Saturnalia, with its idolisation of Rome’s pagan past, has been described as a pagan “machine de guerre”. The first book inquires into the origin of the Saturnalia and the festivals of Janus, leading to a history of the Roman calendar, and an attempt to derive all forms of worship from that of the Sun. The second begins with a collection of ‘bons mots’, many ascribed to Cicero and Augustus, and a discussion of various pleasures, especially of the senses, but most is lost. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth books are devoted to Virgil. The latter part of the third book is a dissertation upon luxury and the sumptuary laws. The primary value of the work lies in quotations from earlier writers, many now lost. The form of the Saturnalia is copied from Plato’s Symposium and Gellius’s Noctes Atticae; the chief authorities are listed at the end of this edition.

Joachim Camerarius, 1500-1574, holds one of the foremost places among the German classical scholars of the 16th century. “His numerous editions of the Classics, without attaining the highest rank, are characterised by acumen and good taste”. Sandys, ‘History of Classical Scholarship.’ Camerarius was a man of vast knowledge. He also wrote on history, theology, mathematics, astronomy and pedagogy. “Up to the period of this edition, the text of Macrobius may be said to have received no material aid or illustration: when, under the care of the celebrated Camerarius, and by the help of several important MSS. there is hardly a verse in the poets quoted but what received very considerable emendation. A volume, thus intrinsically valuable will not fail to find a purchaser at a reasonable price” Dibdin.

BM STC Ger. C16th p. 584. USTC 674641. VD 16 ZV 20513. Adams M64. Dibdin 220. Houzeau and Lancaster 1038.


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Erotikon Achilleos Tatiou sive De Clitophontis & Leucippes amoribus libri 8. Opera et studio Cl. Salmasii

Lugd. Batavor. : apud Franciscum Hegerum, 1640.


12mo. pp. [xxiv], 752, [xxxii]. *12, A-2I12, 2K8 (2K8 blank). Roman and Greek letter, some Italic. Full page engraved title, with Leucippe and Clitophon on horseback, small woodcut initials and headpieces, grotesque and floriated tailpieces, contemporary inscription on front fly gifting the book as a prize to “Gualtero Bremannio” from “me Rectore Henrico Suardecronio” dated 1642, “Kapodos Aigov 1834” mss. on pastedown. Light age yellowing, a very good copy, crisp and clean, in a contemporary Dutch prize binding of polished vellum over thin boards, yapp edges, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, stopped at corners with a gilt dot tool, large fleurons gilt to corners of inner panel, large arms of the city of Rotterdam gilt at centres, spine double gilt ruled in compartments, large rose fleurons gilt at centres, lacks ties, gilt tooling a little rubed, spine slightly soiled.

First edition with the important commentary and textual revisions of Claude Saumaise, beautifully printed in parallel Greek and Latin, in a fine contemporary prize binding from the Erasmus School in Rotterdam. The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon by Achilles Tatius, is one of the five surviving Ancient Greek romances, notable for its many similarities to Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, and its mild parodic nature. It is a gently erotic romance in eight books, which retained remarkable popularity and spawned innumerable imitations, particularly in the C18, when it was several times reprinted. The author was a Greek from Alexandria in the 3rd or 4th centuries A.D. It is said he became a Christian and ultimately a Bishop. On being challenged for having written an obscene book he replied that he was only teaching the fruits of moderation as opposed to evils attendant on senseless passion. Tatius takes pleasure in asides and digressions on mythology and the interpretation of omens, descriptions of exotic beasts crocodiles, hippopotami, and sights such as the Nile delta, and Alexandria, and discussions of amorous matters; kisses, or whether women or boys make better lovers. The large number of existing manuscripts attests the novel’s popularity. A part of it was first printed in a Latin translation by Annibal della Croce, in Lyon, 1544; his complete translation appeared in Basel in 1554. The first edition of the Greek original appeared in Heidelberg, 1601, printed together with similar works of Longus and Parthenius.”Son roman … est agréable et expose bien les moeurs antiques. Héliodore en a repris avec succès plusieurs situations; mais, comme les traducteurs modernes, il les a adoucies et exposées plus modestement”, Gay I 14

“At a time when Cromwell with his Ironsides was fighting the battle of Marston-Moor, and Milton was defending the cause of English Democracy with his arguments, there was at the University of Leyden a professor by the name of Claude Salmasius, or Saumaise as he was called in France, from where he came. Born in 1588 at Semur-en-Auxois, in Burgundy, Salmasius had a very brilliant career in almost every department of learning, and scholarship. He studied law for three years under the famous Godefroy at Heidelberg, but afterwards preferred the study of languages and literature. His fame as a scholar of the very first rank ran through all Europe. The Universities of Padua and Bologna offered him a professorship, and England tried to win him, until in 1623 he accepted the call of Leyden in order to take the place of Scaliger. …Never before was a scholar given so much honor. To all this Salmasius responded by writing an almost incredible number of books on all kinds of subjects, as well as pamphlets on the prominent questions of the day. Being a royalist, he wrote, shortly after the execution of Charles I, a booklet entitled ‘Defensio Regia pro Carolo I,’ dedicated to the king’s oldest son Charles, whom he called the heir and legitimate successor of his father as King of England.” Tiemen de Vries “Holland’s Influence on English Language and Literature” He is perhaps now most famous for his discovery in the library of the Counts Palatine in Heidelberg of the only surviving copy of Cephalas’s 10th-century unexpurgated copy of the Greek Anthology, including the 258-poem anthology of homoerotic poems by Straton of Sardis that would eventually become known as the notorious Book 12 of the Greek Anthology. Salmasius made copies of the newly discovered poems in the Palatine version and began to circulate clandestine manuscript copies of them as the Anthologia Inedita.

This prize binding is most probably from the Schola Erasmiana at Rotterdam; the gift inscription on on the front endpaper naming the student recipient, Gualter Breman, is inscribed by the presenter, Henrico Suardecronio, with his signature, as Rector, Roterdam, 1642 who was a onetime head of the Schola Erasmiana in that city. There is a poem dedicated to Suardecronio in an edition of collected poetry published at Amsterdam, 1659 “Bloemkrans van verscheiden gedichten: door eenige liefhebbers der poëzij bij een verzamelt” that presents him as “Scholae Erasmianae, tum temporis Rectori, post quator Filios, Uxori continuato partu, editios”

Brunet I 36-37. Graesse I 13. Gay I 14


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Annotationes in Sophoclem et Euripidem

[Geneva, Henri II Estienne,] 1568.


FIRST and ONLY EDITION. 8vo. pp. (xvi) 207 (i). Roman letter, with Italic and Greek. Printer’s device to t-p, floriated initials. Light age browning, t-p lightly thumbed, lower outer blank corner of third fol. torn, very faint water stain to lower gutter of a few gatherings, the odd thumb mark. A very good, well-margined copy in contemporary dark brown English calf, C14 ms vellum strip on spine and front pastedown, double blind-ruled border, oval centrepiece gilt, interlacing ribbons, curvy tendrils, leaves and fleurons in contrasting blind, spine in five compartments, raised bands, gilt lettering, some loss at joints and lower edge of rear cover. C18 armorial bookplate of Beilby Thompson of Escrick to front pastedown, early autograph ‘Geo: Seignior’, casemark (?) ‘m/1’, monograms ‘GHS’ (Seignior’s?) and ‘SWF’, little annotations ‘2’ and ‘of’ (?) to t-p, contemporary autograph of William Harrington (?) and monogram ‘TG’ to eps, modern bookplate to rear pastedown. In box.

The exquisite binding bears the same centrepiece as fig. 3.37 in Nixon and Foot, ‘English Bookbinding Styles, 1450-1800’, produced in Cambridge in the 1570s. An early owner of this copy was George Seignior (d. 1678), reverend, classical scholar and fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, to which he donated part of his books in 1676.

Very good, well-margined copy of the FIRST and ONLY EDITION of Henri Estienne’s commentary on the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides. Estienne (1528/31-98) was a French printer—the eldest son of Robert—and scholar of Greek and Latin. After being entrusted with his father’s presses in 1559, he published numerous new or revised Latin translations of Greek authors like Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle and Aeschylus, as well as editions of the Greek New Testament. This commentary was intended, as shown by cross-references, as a companion volume to his editions of Sophocles and Euripides’s tragedies of the same year. It begins with a learned ‘tractatus’ on Greek orthography discussing the use and printed reproduction of diacritics like accents and breathings, and word alterations like crasis and elision. In the ‘annotationes’, Estienne makes continuous references to the codex tradition and editions like those of Rancoretus and Turnebus, seeking to redress major ‘lectiones depravatae’—mistranscriptions and philological misinterpretations—made by his predecessors. He also provides sophisticated brief studies of Sophocles’s lexicon and Euripides’s appropriation of Homer’s poetics. A nicely bound and finely printed jewel of classical scholarship.  

Beilby Thompson (1742-99) of Escrick, Yorkshire, was a British landowner and politician.

Rénouard 131:4; Brunet II, 1082; mentioned in Dibdin II, 411.


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