[MÜNSTER, Sebastian.]

ARAMAIC GRAMMAR AND DICTIONARY

Chaldaica Grammatica. [with] Dictionarium Chaldaicum.

Basel, J. Frobenius, 1527.

£3,750

FIRST EDITIONS. Small 4to, 2 works in 1, pp. (viii) 212 (iv); (viii) 434 (ii). Roman and Hebrew letter, little Ge’ez. Woodcut architectural t-p with putti and grotesques to second, woodcut printer’s device to verso of last of both, decorated initials (a handful hand-coloured). Slight browning, light water stain to upper and outer blank margin of first and last few gatherings, I: fore-edge a bit chewed, small worm hole to upper outer blank corner of first few gatherings. Good copies in contemporary Swiss or German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, rebacked, remains of spine replaced, brass clasps, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll with Jacob’s ladder, Abraham and Isaac, and Christ trampling the Devil, second border blind-stamped rosettes and ivy leaves, centre panel with blind rolls with female figures of Lucretia, Prudencia. Rubbed, minor loss to lower outer corners. C16 faded Italian autograph and Hebrew inscriptions to front pastedown, small armorial stamp and inscription mostly erased from t-p, occasional C16 Latin or Aramaic annotations.

An Augsburg binding from the workshop of Caspar Horneffer (Haebler, I, 168-168), who signed the figure of Lucretia with C.H. (EBDB r003142). The outer border shows handsomely portrayed scenes of Christ trampling the Devil, Abraham and Isaac, and the unusual subject of Jacob’s ladder.

First editions of the first Aramaic grammar and dictionary by a Christian scholar (with references to Ethiopic). By Sebastian Münster—‘the founder of the field of study of Aramaic in Germany’ (McLean, ‘Cosmographia’, 18)—they were superbly produced by one of the most intellectual early printers, the Swiss Johann Froben (1460-1527). The initials and the handsome woodcut t-p of ‘Dictionarium’ were designed by Hans Holbein the Younger, employed by Froben. Most renowned for his ‘Cosmographia’ (1544), Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a cartographer and Hebraist at Basle, being the first Christian scholar to produce an edition of the Hebrew Bible. He conceived his ‘Grammatica’ after learning Aramaic as a language that could shed greater light on Hebrew as well as on the interpretation of biblical texts, like the books of Daniel and Ezra, which had largely survived in Aramaic. He proceeded by making the reader familiar with Aramaic by degrees, highlighting the number of words of Greek origin, Aramaic words in the Scriptures, and comparisons between the ‘lingua Saracenica’, ‘lingua Indiana’ (Ethiopic, in Ge’ez type), Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin. After discussing Aramaic letters, numbers, nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc., it provides a few Targum texts, ‘Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic […] used […] primarily as a means to teach Aramaic in the Jewish education system’ (van Staalduine-Sulman, ‘Introduction’, 1). The ‘Dictionarium’ was dedicated to St John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, a great promoter of Hebrew studies at Cambridge, later executed by Henry VIII and canonised. It includes words encountered by Münster in the course of his studies, and considered important for the study of this sacred language, from verbs to the word for ‘dates that are still unripe’, with additional explanations. The learned annotator of this ‘Grammatica’ was acquainted with Ethiopic, as he mentioned Johannes Potken’s misidentification of Ethiopian as Chaldean in his ‘Alphabetus’; he also provided the Aramaic transcription of a few Latin words.

I: Panzer, VI, 258, n.654; Steinschneider, Bibl. Hand., 1377; BM STC Ger., p.632; Burmeister, Sebastian Münster, 3.
II: Burmeister, Sebastian Münster, pp. 92-93, n.4.4; Burmeister, Sebastian Münster Bibl., n. 23 Fürst, Bibliotheca Judaica, II:408; BM STC Ger., p.633; BM Hebrew, p.598; Panzer, VI, 258, n.653; Steinschneider, Bibl. Hand., 1385. M. McLean, The Cosmographia of Sebastian Münster (Aldershot, 2007); E. van Staalduine-Sulman, Justifying Christian Aramaism (Leiden, 2017).

L2948

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BALMES, Abraham de.

APPROVED BY THE CENSOR

Miqnē Avram: Peculium Abrae. Grammatica Hebraea.

Venice, Daniel Bomberg, 1523.

£2,250

FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. pp. [315], lacking final blank. Hebrew letter, with Roman, little Assyrian. Decorated initials. Upper outer blank corner of t-p repaired affecting few ll. of the dedicatee’s name on verso, next three ll. a bit oil or ink stained in places, lower outer edge of a 3 a bit chewed, small scattered worm holes and oil staining to final gatherings, former marginal, latter mostly, couple of ll. browned. A good copy in mid-C19 sprinkled sheep, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, a.e.r., a little loss in places, tiny scattered worm holes at head and foot of spine. Small modern Hebrew stamp to lower blank margin of t-p verso, s 2 and last, late C16 inscription ‘Fr. Alex[ander] Longus Inquisitor Montisregalis concessit isti Die 24 octobris’.

A good copy of the first edition of this important Hebrew grammar for Christian scholars, printed by the most important printer of Hebrew books in Italy. Abraham de Balmes (d.1523) studied at Naples, whence he fled to Venice probably in 1510, when the Jews were expelled from the Spanish territories. In Padua, he was the personal physician of Cardinal Grimani; in Venice, he acquired a solid reputation as a linguist and translator of Hebrew philosophical texts. The Flemish turned-Venetian Daniel Bomberg (1483-1549)—the first printer in Venice and first Christian printer of Hebrew books—employed de Balmes in 1523 as one of his talented editors (Amram, ‘Makers’, 169-70). He asked him to write a Hebrew grammar, published posthumously, in order to facilitate the learning of Hebrew for Christian scholars, encouraging them to undertake the quest for the Hebrew original (not the translation for the Greek) of the New Testament, the discovery of which would ‘make your name immortal’. Balmes’s original approach to Hebrew grammar was imbued with philosophical discussion, including Aristotelian logic, Plato and the Kabbalah, outlined in Chapter 1. Organised into Hebrew sections followed by their literal Latin translation, it discusses the definition of Hebrew grammar, the alphabet and phonetics, and its various elements. The seventh chapter is an early attempt to analyse Hebrew syntax on the basis of logic and use, and the eighth—partly composed and translated by Calos Calonimos—discusses biblical prosody and accents. The partial lack of success was due to its ambivalent character as ‘a preparatory work to the reading of a “ghost” text, a Hebrew New Testament not yet available’ and ‘the experimental revision of the logical premises of the Hebrew grammatical tradition’ (Campanini, ‘Grammatica’, 19).

Friar Alexander Longus is recorded as censor of Hebrew books in 1590, in Monreale, a small bishopric near Asti, in Southern Piedmont (Popper, ‘Censorship’, 135). In 1591 the Holy Office decided that ‘no Christian should in the future be allowed to undertake censorship; Jews should expurgate their own books, and then, if at any time one should be found not properly corrected, its owner should be severely punished’ (Popper, ‘Censorship’, 72-3). In Piedmont, Inquisitors continued to check recent publications and personal libraries until at least 1593. Being a work on grammar, this copy was ‘allowed’ (‘concessit’).

Steinschneider, Cat. librorum hebraeorum, 1576, 6067/1; Steinschneider, Bibliographisches Handbuch, 164.2; Habermann, Bomberg, 76; BM STC It., p.2; Heller, 16-Century Hebrew Book, pp.164-5. D.W. Amram, The Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909); S. Campanini, ‘Peculium Abrae. La grammatica ebraico-latina di Avraham De Balmes’, Annali di Ca’Foscari, 26 (1997), 5-49; W. Popper, The Censorship of Hebrew Books (1899).

L2946

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BUTLER, Charles.

The English Grammar. [with] Rhetoricæ Libri duo. [with] Syngeneia. De propinquitatematrimoniumimpendiente, regula. [and] The femininʿ monarchiʿ, or the histori of beeʿs. Shewing their admirable naturʿ, and propertis.

Oxford, Printed by William Turner, for the author, 1634. (with) London, Excudebat Ioannes Hauiland impensis authoris, 1629. (with) Oxford, Excudebant Iohannes Lichfield & Guilielmus Turner, Academiæ typographi, 1625. (and) Oxford, Printed by William Turner, for đe author, 1634.

£7,500

Four vols. in one. FIRST EDITION of the third. 4to. 1) pp. [viii] [xxiix] 2-63 [i]. 2) 252 unnumbered pages. A-P, pi², A-Q. 3) pp. [iv], 71, [i]: A-I, K². 4) [xvi], 112, 115-182: [par.]-2[par.], B-Z, 2A². Roman letter, some Italic, Greek and Black. Titles with printer’s devices, woodcut headpieces and initials, typographical ornaments, wood-type music in last volume, book plate of James Elwin Millard (1824 – 1894) on pastedown. Light age yellowing, very rare mark or spot. Very good copies, crisp and clean in contemporary calf, covers bordered with a double blind and single gilt rule, leafy arabesque gilt at centres, rebacked to match, spine with gilt ruled raised bands fleurons gilt, corner repaired, tan morocco label gilt lettered, a.e.r. a little rubbed at extremities.

An excellent sammelband of four major works of the extraordinary scholar Charles Butler. The first is the second edition of his remarkable treatise on Grammar (which he put into practise, cf. last of the work in this Sammelband ‘the Feminine Monarchy’). It is a reissue of the 1633 first edition, with preliminaries reset and an added dedication to Prince Charles.The work hopes to remedy “the imperfection of our alphabet, for it is come to passe; that sundry letters, of frequent use in our tongue, have yet no peculiar and distinct characters,”  and secondly “in many words we are fallen from the old pronunciation.” Thenceforward, the text is printed in a special phonetic manner, shunning orthography in favour of writing “altogether according to the sound now generally received” in an attempt at standardisation and simplification. “The author dwells upon the capriciousness of English orthography (‘neither our new writers agreeing with the old, nor either new nor old among themselves’), and proposes the adoption of a system whereby men should ‘write altogether according to the sound now generally received.’ DNB.

The Rhetoricase Libri Duo, here in an expanded edition, “was intended to be a school text book and was an edition in Latin for English school-children of the work of the French Scholar Pierre de la Ramée who had met his death at the hands of the mob in the notorious Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s day in 1572” John Shute. ‘The English theorists of the seventeenth century with particular reference to Charles butler.’ “The last of the Elizabethan Ramists was Charles Butler, whose Rhetoricae Libri Duo first appeared in 1598. A rare instance of an Oxford convert to Ramism, Butler took a degree at Magdalen Hall only a few years before Hobbes became an undergraduate there. Although Butler’s treatise amounts to little more than a further reworking of Talon’s Rhetorica, it proved extremely successful in its own right, and probably served more than any other work to popularise the tenets of Ramist Rhetoric in England” Quentin Skinner, ‘Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes.

The third work is the First edition of Charles Butler’s work on consanguinity in marriage. ‘Dealing with problems of consanguinity and in particular with affinity as a bar to Matrimony. Even the ‘broad-chested’ Fuller was content to quote the opinion of the learned Dr. Prideaux, Vivce- Chancellor of Oxford, who ‘commended it as the best ever written on that subject’… The book appears to have been prompted by the marriage of Butler’s son, William to a cousin, Mary Butler, at Wooton in 1624” John Shute.

The final work is Butler’s most celebrated, the third and best edition of his ‘Feminine Monarchy’ a classic English guide to Beekeeping, and the first to be translated into phonetic English, combining Butler’s love of bees with his work in orthography. In “De Printer to de Reader”, readers concerned with “de Ortograpi of dis Book” are encouraged to consult Butler’s English Grammar (1633), in which he put forth a new orthology where words were spelled “according to de sound”.

Known as the Father of English Beekeeping, Butler addresses in his preface the great classical tradition that relies upon “the Muses birds” as models of religion, government and labor, “worthily to bee most admired”, but notes that Philosophers “in al their writings they seeme vnto me to say little out of experience”. Butler’s treatise is the first to argue that worker bees were female, not male, and the first to popularise the idea in England that the hive is lead not by a king but a queen bee. Not only do these ground Butler’s practical treatise firmly in methods of entymological observation that would be refined by the end of the century in books such as Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665), but they also relate directly contemporary political debates that made use of bee hierarchy as a model for government.

An excellent sammelband of four rare works.

1) ESTC S106979. STC 4191. Madan, I.165-6. 2) ESTC S106985. STC 4200. 3) ESTC S106987. STC 4201 Madan, I, p.122. 4) ESTC S106981. STC 4194. Madan, I, p.177

L3301

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ERPENIUS, Thomas.

Arabicae linguae tirocinium.

Leiden, J. Maire, 1656.

£1,450

Small 4to. pp. (xii) 172, 282 [i.e., 284]. Roman letter, with Arabic, some Italic. T-p in red and black with engraved vignette, woodcut initials and ornaments. Minor mainly marginal foxing, few ll. slightly browned. A very good copy in contemporary vellum over boards, edges sprinkled red, curious early red stamp (Arabic?) to lower outer blank corner of t-p, editorial annotation on E1.    

Very good copy of the much enlarged, definitive edition of this milestone of early modern Arabic linguistics by the major scholar Thomas Erpen. First published in 1613 as ‘Grammatica Arabica’ and substantially enlarged by his former student Jacobus Golius in 1656, this grammar marked ‘a breakthrough in European attempts to render Arabic grammar accessible to students who had been educated in the Latin tradition’ (Loop, ‘Introduction’, 5). Encouraged by Scaliger to undertake the study of Oriental languages, Erpenius (or van Erpe, 1584-1624) became one of the most important linguists of his time, a prolific editor of oriental texts, and professor at Leiden, where he delivered the inaugural lecture ‘On the Excellence and Dignity of the Arabic Language’. This enlarged edition is ‘by far the most comprehensive and the most didactically accomplished version of Erpenius’s grammar ever to appear’ (Loop, ‘Arabic Poetry’, 247). It includes the original, accessible sections on grammar—from orthography to syllabation, phonetics, verbs, nouns, pronouns, etc.—and, as reading exercises with a Latin translation, the fables of Luqman and 200 proverbs (from the 1636 edition). Golius, who had succeeded Erpenius as professor at Leiden and published a revolutionary Arabic-Latin dictionary in 1653, added further reading exercises, some without translation. In particular, a brief history of the Qur’an and its structure, three ‘suras’ (Luqman, al-Ṣaf and al-Sajda), texts by al-Ḥarīrī and al-Maʿarrī, and a sermon by Eliya III. Reprinted dozens of times, Erpenius’s grammar was superseded only in the C19.

Brunet II, 1050; Graesse II, 499. The Teaching and Learning of Arabic in Early Modern Europe, ed. J. Loop et al. (Leiden, 2017).

L3291

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BRINSLEY, John

Ludus literarius: or, The grammar schoole; shewing how to proceede .. both to masters and schollers; onely according to our common grammar.

London, Imprinted by Felix Kyngston for Richard Meighen, 1627.

£4,950

4to. [xxviii], 339, [i]. “One of four variants with different publishers’ names in the imprint.” ESTC. Roman letter, some Italic. Floriated woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut headpieces, typographical and woodcut ornaments, label of John lawson to pastedown, early mss price mark at head of t-p. Light age yellowing, a little spotting on first few leaves, cut close at head and tail, just touching imprint, running headline and signatures in places, pale waterstain in a few places, heavier on last two leaves. A good copy in modern calf antique, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands morocco label gilt.

Rare edition of this important work on teaching in Grammar schools, one of the earliest such in English, giving tremendous insight into the methods of teaching in the Elizabethan period. “John Brinsley (fl. 1581–1633) was a schoolmaster in Leicestershire who used Lily’s Latin grammar but branched out to develop a reading survey method that was praised by Samuel Hartlib. He married a sister of Bishop Joseph Hall and moved to London, where he wrote and lectured. This work, as the subtitle announces, is ‘intended for the helping of the younger sort of teachers’. It adapts aspects of the traditional humanist education for use in smaller towns. Unlike earlier pedagogical treatises, however, emphasis is placed on close reading, instruction in the vernacular and using translations of the classics. The interlocutors are two schoolmasters, Spoudeus (in Greek, ‘diligent’), who goes to his old friend, Philoponus (‘lover of toil’), for advice about preparing lesson plans”. William E. Engel. ‘John Brinsley, Ludus literarius.’

John Brinsley (1566-1624) graduated with an MA from Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1588, becoming schoolmaster at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, only a few years after Shakespeare putatively attended the grammar school in Stratford, 50 miles away. These schools were a burgeoning feature of local education in the 16th century, catering to the children of a growing middle class in market towns across England and often endowed by successful merchants or, as in the case of Stratford, newly formed town councils. Brinsley’s Ludus literarius (first published in 1612) was intended to guide ‘the younger sort of teachers, and of all schollers’ in a tried and tested application of conventional pedagogical theory. The author advocates an increased use of the vernacular in learning that parallels the contemporary divergence from the original purpose of the schools (to teach Latin grammar), alongside a familiarisation with traditional Latin texts such as those of Ovid, Cicero and Virgil. The text takes the form of a dialogue between two schoolmasters discussing the most effective teaching methods. They refer to perfecting ‘the accedence’ or inflections of Latin, an emphasis later echoed by John Milton in his Accedence commenc’t grammar (written ca 1640), which stresses the importance of familiarisation with the language first, and its grammatical rules second, in order to understand and imitate the classical literary canon. Shakespeare’s infamous ‘small Latin and less Greek’, in the words of his friend Ben Jonson, is commensurate with a formal education not necessarily extending to a university degree; yet his familiarity with classical authors, along with other supposedly advanced literary training, would not have been beyond the reach of a diligent grammar school boy developing his reading and classroom exercises in later life.” Kings College London. ‘The very age and body of the time, Grammar School Education.’

“John Brinsley.. became a ‘minister of the Word,’ and had the care of the public school at Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire. The famous astrologer, William Lilly, was one of his pupils, as he himself informs us in his curious autobiography. ‘Upon Trinity Sunday 1613,’ he says, ‘my father had me to Ashby-de-la-Zouch to be instructed by one Mr. John Brinsley; one in those times of great abilities for instruction of youth in the Latin and Greek tongues; he was very severe in his life and conversation, and did breed up many scholars for the universities. In religion he was a strict puritan, not conformable wholly to the ceremonies of the church of England’ (Hist, of his Life and Times (1774), 5). Again he says: ‘In the eighteenth year of my age [i.e. in 1619 or 1620] my master Brinsley was enforced from keeping school, being persecuted by the bishop’s officers; he came to London, and then lectured in London, where he afterwards died’ (ib. 8)”. DNB.

ESTC S104677. STC 3770a. Lowndes I 272.

L3272

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STOCKWOOD, John

NOT RECORDED IN THE US

Disputatiuncularum grammaticalium libellus, ad puerorum in scholis triuialibus exacuenda ingenis primum̀ excogitatus: .

London, [T. Dawson,] typis Ioannis Battersbie, Regiæ Maieststi in Latinis, Græcis, & Hebraicis typographi, 1619

£2,400

8vo. pp [xxx], 358, [civ]. A-2H8. [last two ll. blank] Roman and Italic letter, some Greek. Floriated woodcut initials and head-pieces, fine full page woodcut of children picking fruit on verso of last., contemporary manuscript, inscriptions at end, a few ink trails. Light age yellowing, title a little dusty, tiny single worms holes and trails at blank gutter, cut a little close at fore-edge, just shaving a few side-notes. A very good copy, crisp and clean in contemporary calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine with raised bands blind ruled in compartments, later morocco label gilt, stuubs from an early mss leaf, a little rubbed, upper cover repaired at lower edge, a.e.r.

Rare fourth edition of this important and influential Latin grammar, first published in 1598, all editions of which have survived in a few copies only. ESTC records seven copies only of this edition, with none in the US. John Stockwood “school-master and divine, was a pensioner of St. John’s College, Cambridge, when Queen Elizabeth visited that university in August 1564, being matriculated on 4 Oct. in that year, and admitted a scholar on the Lady Margaret’s foundation on 10 Nov. following. He graduated B.A. in the university of Heidelberg in 1567, and was incorporated in that degree at Oxford on 19 May 1575, when he stated that he was about to open a ‘Indus literarius’ at Cambridge. ..  In 1571 he occurs as minister of Battle, Sussex. In or before 1578 he was appointed headmaster of the free grammar school at Tunbridge, Kent, by the Skinners’ Company of London.… He was a celebrated and powerful preacher, and obtained the vicarage of Tunbridge, Kent, in 1585 At one period he was in great poverty. The records of the corporation of Gravesend show that on 30 Aug. 1594 he received a contribution of forty shillings out of the stock of the chamber of that town, in compliance with a written request from Sir Robert Sidney. He had ceased to be master of Tunbridge school in 1597, when his ‘Progymnasma Scholasticum’ was published. In the dedication of that work to the Earl of Essex he acknowledges the kindness of that nobleman in relieving his poverty and protecting him from malevolent antagonists. It is believed that he retained the vicarage of Tunbridge till his death. He was buried there on 27 July 1610.” DNB.

“With regard to text-books, many of the books on Rhetoric give examples of the Disputational Method. For Grammar a book which was much used in England is John Stockwood’s Grammatical disputations. This was a well known book, and represents for the first half of the 17th century a mode of school activity which has passed away, for which we have not, apparently, elsewhere than in Stockwood, any outstanding document. … the most important consideration in reference to Stockwood’s book is rather the mental discipline involved in the the method than the subjects discussed. If a right method of discussion is practised, his argument is that such a method, employed first on material with which the pupil is familiar, viz., Grammar, can be applied to other subjects of discussion of literary or culture-material. … Stockwell himself points out the aim of the method as an effort to sharpen the wits of boys in the trivial schools. It is the old method of dialectic transferred to the material of Grammar, which had become the sine qua non of Renaissance studies. A special merit of the method was the spirit of research at first-hand amongst the classical writers for illustration of grammatical uses and standards. With Stockwood, the classical authors were to Grammar what modern maps are to the geographer. .. Stockwood endeavours that the pupil shall map out, at least by confirmation, the usages of the most approved classical authors. It is true he supplies the pupil with a great number of these. But he also supplies models whereby the the pupil enterprising in Disputation shall be on the look-out for himself – supplying himself with material against his opponent.” Foster Watson ‘The English Grammar Schools to 1660: Their Curriculum and Practice.’

ESTC S114853. (BL, Cambridge (2 copies), Oxford (3 copies), Wells Cathedral) STC 23279. 

L3148

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VARRO, M Terentius

De Lingua Latina

Parma [printer of the Jerome, Epistolae] 1480, 11th December

£ 5,950

Folio, ff. (iv) 46. Roman letter, a little Greek, guide letters, spaces blank. Extensive early marginalia in at least two early hands (one contemp) throughout, final blank page filled with annotations in Italian (c.1600); uniform light age browning, waterstains to edges of some ll., mostly marginal but slightly affecting the text in places, ancient marginal ink splashes to a couple of ll. A very interesting, not unattractive and well margined copy, if well used at an early date. In modern vellum over boards. A rare edition from an almost equally rare press; the identity of the printer is unknown, the style of his Greek type may indicate he came from Venice; the total known output of the press is only six titles, however the layout and typeface are handsome and accomplished.

An early edition of Varro’s pioneering work on Latin grammar (including inflexion and syntax) or more accurately of books V to X (of 25) which are all that have come down to us. It was regarded as a work of considerable importance by no lesser authorities than Cicero (the dedicatee), Quintilian and St Augustine, who wonders at the author’s learning in the De Civ. Dei, book VI; the text was edited for the press by Pompinius Laetus and Francisus Rolandellus and first printed in that form by an unknown press in Venice in 1478. It has a comprehensive index. “Varro’s treatise is the earliest extant Roman work on grammar. This great work, which was finished before Cicero’s death in 43 BC, owes much to the stoic teaching of Aelius Stilo, and also to that of a later grammarian who combined the Stoic and Alexandrian traditions. The first three of the surviving books are on Etymology, book V being on names of places, VI on terms denoting time and VII on poetic expressions. To ourselves the value of these books lies in their citations from the Latin poets, and not in their marvellous etymologies. The next three books are concerned with the controversy on Analogy and Anomaly: VIII on the arguments against Analogy, IX on those against Anomaly and X on Varro’s own view of Analogy”, Sandys I p.179. Of Varro’s vast literary output his three books ‘De Rustica’ is the only other survivor.

BMC.VIII p.942. Hain 11903 (3) Goff N267 (4 copies)

L276

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RHYS, John David

Cambrobrytannicae Cymraecaeue linguae. 

London, Excudebat Thomas Irwin’s, 1592.

£3,750

FIRST EDITION. Folio pp. [xxiv], 70, 73-304, [ii]. [2] folding tables. Roman and Italic letter. Small woodcut printer’s device on title, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut head-pieces, near contemporary inscription in Welsh (purchase note?) at head of title page. Light age yellowing, the occasional mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in early C18th speckled calf over boards, rebacked with spine laid down, raised bands gilt ruled in compartments, with gilt fleurons, a little rubbed and scratched.

The first edition of this most important and famous Welsh grammar, the first scientific grammar of the Welsh language; amongst the complimentary verses prefixed to the volume are a set by William Camden. Rhys states, in his lengthy preface in Welsh, that he had written the work in Latin, as he felt it was easier to explain Welsh in Latin than in English. The work contains a dedication to Sir Edward Stradling who urged Rhys to undertake the work and who financed its printing. The work is important as one of the first studies of the Welsh language and for the anthology of early Welsh poetry which it contains.

“John David Rhys. (or ‘ Siôn Dafydd Rhys ’), physician and grammarian of a humble family … After spending some time at Christ Church College , Oxford , he departed for the Continent about 1555 and travelled extensively — he himself states that he visited Venice , Crete , and Cyprus — finally becoming a member of the University of Siena , where he graduated as a doctor of medicine. He was also a teacher at a school in Pistoia. It is not known for how long he remained on the Continent, but he was back in Wales by 1579 , and in 1583 he was practising as a physician at Cardiff . .. Two books by him appeared during his stay on the Continent. One was De Italica Pronunciatione ( Padua , 1569 ), which was probably intended for the use of Welshmen visiting Italy, and which proves the author’s familiarity with all the principal European languages. The other work was a Latin grammar published at Venice, and said to have been very popular with students, but no copy seems to have survived. After returning to Wales and devoting some years to the collection of material Rhys published, in 1592, his famous Welsh grammar, Cambrobrytannicae Cymraecaeve Linguae Institutions et Rudimenta. The book was dedicated to Sir Edward Stradling of S. Donats, Glam., who had defrayed the cost of printing. It consists of a grammar of the Welsh language together with a lengthy and laborious discussion of Welsh prosody.  As a work of scholarship it has very little merit, because the author , who had none of the gifts of Gruffydd Robert or Dr. John Davies for analysing the structure of language, adopted the grammatical framework of Latin and forced the Welsh language into that. … It should be observed however that the book contains items of knowledge which are not found elsewhere. The author’s aim was to make known outside Wales the peculiarities of the Welsh language and the main features of the bardic tradition, and this is the reason why the book was written in Latin.” Dictionary of Welsh Biography. A very good copy of this most important and rare Welsh Grammar.

ESTC S115912. STC 20966.

LATIN, WELSH

L2186

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PEROTTO, Niccolò

INCUNABLE EDITION OF LATIN GRAMMAR IN CONTEMPORARY BINDING

Cornucopiae.

Venice, Aldus Manutius, 1499

£29,500

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”.

L1739

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GREEK THESAURUS

INCUNABLE EDITION OF CLASSICAL GREEK GRAMMAR BOOK

Thesaurus Cornucopiae et Horti Adonidis.

Venice, Aldus Manutius, 1496.

£37,500

FIRST EDITION. Large folio, ff. (10), 270, A10, aα-zψ8, &ω4, AA-DΔ8, EE6, FZ-GH8, HΘ6, II8, KK6, LΛ8. Greek letter (types 1:146Gk, 2:114Gk), a little Roman; two tiny wormholes to first gathering and small marginal worm trail at foot of eε-gη, occasional light foxing in extreme margins; three paper flaws to blank spaces of last leaf. A very good, wide-margined and unwashed copy in early nineteenth-century ¾ green  morocco, gilt on spine with floral decoration, title gilt on tan morocco label; title lettered on lower-edge in contemporary hand; armorial bookplate of Marco Antonio Borghese, Prince of Sulmona (1814-1886), and modern label on front pastedown; a few contemporary scholarly annotations, underlinings and one correction in first gatherings; several pen corrections made directly in the Aldine press, mostly previously unrecorded.

An excellent copy of the first edition of Aldus’ collection of grammatical works for students of ancient Greek, including many previously unpublished essays such as those of the Homeric commentator Eustathius of Thessalonica. This ‘Treasure of abundance’ was one of the founding pieces of the Aldine printing programme, devised in the first place to spread the knowledge of Greek in Italy and the rest of Europe. It consists of a well-considered selection of writings and lexicons by Byzantine Greek grammarians, referring especially to the Homeric poems. In compiling this book, Aldus was helped by exceptionally skilled teachers of the subject, like Urbano Bolzanio (1442-1524), Arsenios Apostolios (1465-1535), Angelo Poliziano (1454-1494) and Poliziano’s pupils Guarino Favorino (1450-1537) and Scipione Carteromaco (1466-1515). Aldus’ Latin preface to ‘every scholar’ is of great interest. Not only does it provide key evidence for dating the beginning of his own activity – he states that he has worked for 7 years with barely an hour of solid rest –, but it also announces what was to be his most famous achievement, the complete Greek edition of Aristotle’s works.

This copy bears six corrections made in the Aldine workshop straight after printing. Only two of them have been already recorded and concern the very last words of ff. 197r and 207r, which were crossed out with a pen stroke. A third and more extensive emendation involves the declension of the term ‘shame’, as illustrated in the second essay of the collection (f. 6v). The passage was expunged and the manuscript internal reference to leaves 268 (‘ζήτει φύλλον 268’) added instead. A couple of lines above, a vowel was amended twice in the same word and an accent and a subscribed iota were added. The faulty numeration of leaves 187, 188 and 213 was also consistently rectified, alongside the incorrect ‘K’ in the title of f. 227r, replaced with ‘Λ’. These corrections were made in many copies of this edition, but often have been washed out or even deliberately erased as insignificant marginalia, even the most important one – that in f. 6v with the internal reference in Greek.

ISTC, it00158000; BMC, V, 555; GW, 7571; Hain, 15493; Goff, T-158; Hoffmann, II, 116; Brunet, VI, 806; Graesse, VII, 130; Renouard, 9:1 (‘belle edition, devenue très rare’).

K47

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