De oratore Libri III. Orator. De claris oratoribus.

Venice, [Paulus Manutius], 1559.


8vo. ff. 240 [i.e., 248]. Italic letter, occasional Roman. Aldine device to t-p. Very slight yellowing, printing tear and smudge to outer blank margin of I4, the odd little marginal mark, ink splash to upper and outer edge of last couple of gatherings. A fresh, well-margined copy in c.1700 vellum, gilt-lettered morocco label to spine, all edges blue, silk bookmark. Early ownership stamps of a comet with monogram AF to t-p and verso of last.

This very rare, fascinating woodcut stamp—a comet with seven points surmounted by a small lily and flanked by AF—has defied our attempts at discovering the identity of its mysterious owner, who proudly stamped it 3 times on t-p and once on verso of last. The heraldic route led to the Schininà family of Ragusa, who bear very similar arms, but the keeper of their collection confirmed it is not among the recorded family ex-libris. Its rarity, unusual iconography and absence from major provenance bibliographies suggests it probably belonged to an individual student or young scholar with a small library, or to a small scholarly institution or accademia. If an individual, it was probably someone who did not bear arms he could use for an ownership stamp. The little lily might indicate a Florentine provenance. We could only trace another copy—vol.3 of 3 of Cicero’s ‘Orationi’ (Venice, 1556), at the Biblioteca Storica in Longiano (M5272)—with the same stamp appearing twice on the t-p and twice on the last two ll. That both occurrences appear in mid-C16 student editions of Cicero supports this theory. In the 3-volume Longiano set, only vol.3 bears the stamp, vol.1 having none and vol.2 lacking the first and last gatherings. Both vols 1 and 3 share the same early C17 ms. ex-libris, though vol.3 is sewn differently, with 4 instead of 3 stations. This suggests that vol.3, the only one with the stamp, was probably acquired separately by the same early C17 owner who then signed all t-ps. Since this set has since been preserved intact in Longiano, the comet stamp must have already been present when vol.3 was acquired and signed, plausibly dating it no later than c.1600.

A fresh, well-margined copy of the second volume, published separately, of the ‘Opera Rhetorica’, edited by Paulus Manutius. The second edition, the text based on the 1546 and corrected by Manutius. One of the most influential figures of classical antiquity, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) put his legal skills to the service of politics with speeches which became landmarks of forensic oratory. Defined by Quintilian as ‘eloquence itself’, his copious prose production occupied a fundamental place in medieval syllabi. This second volume begins with ‘De oratore’, an immensely influential analysis of how a good orator should construct persuasive arguments which should however be driven by sound ethical principles. There follow ‘Orator’, a description of the perfect orator integrating observations in previous works, and ‘De claris oratoribus’, a history of eloquence through individual figures including Pericles and Solon.

Renouard 320:3; Ahmanson-Murphy 580. Not in Dibdin, Moss, Schweiger or Brunet.


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Historia della guerra sacra di Gierusalemme.

Venice, appresso Antonio Pinelli, 1610.


4to. pp. 8, 615, (i), (xvi), index (b 8 ) bound at rear. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device, decorated initials. T-p a little dusty, a handful of ll. lightly toned or foxed at margins, minimal worming to lower blank margin of few gatherings, ink smudge to lower outer corner of 2pp. of final index, verso of last a little soiled, repaired at gutter. A very good copy in early C17 French polished calf, double gilt ruled, large gilt centrepiece with arms of Paul Petau to covers, raised bands, compartments double gilt ruled with Petau’s gilt chiffre, gilt-lettered title, lower outer corners repaired. Armorial blind stamp ‘Bibliotheca Augusta Rhodocanakiana’ to t-p.

An excellent copy of this famous medieval history of the kingdom of Jerusalem—elegantly bound for the major bibliophile Paul Petau (1568-1614). He owned one of the best libraries in early modern France, which included books and mss from the collections of Jean Grolier and Jean Nicot, and major monastic institutions like the abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. His son Alexandre continued to enlarge the collection until his death, in 1672. In the C19, this copy was in the library of the bibliophile Prince Demetrius Rhodocanakis of Chios (1840-1902).

One of the most praised medieval historians, William (1130-86), Archbishop of Tyre, grew up in the kingdom of Jerusalem, founded after the First Crusade in 1099. He was ambassador to the Byzantine Empire and tutor to the son of the king of Jerusalem. His only extant work is ‘Belli sacri historia’, a chronicle in 23 books, probably unfinished, of the history of the kingdom of Jerusalem from the seventh century to 1184. It remains a most important historical source to date. After a substantial ms. circulation in the medieval period, it was first published in Latin in 1549, and translated into French, Italian and German. This is the fourth edition of the Italian translation by Giovanni Horologgi. The chronicle focuses on the First Crusade and its political consequences, with sections the invasion of Egypt of 1167, on the Persians and Turks. In addition to descriptions of places like Damascus, Edessa and Tyrus, it provides accounts of battles and sieges in the Mediterranean, from Jerusalem to Sicily, and even an account of the origins of the Turks, shedding light on their perception and ‘mythography’ in medieval Christianity. History blends with ‘mirabilia’, magic and even mild humour, as in the episode of the enchantresses who sought to throw a charm onto the Christian stone throwers attacking the walls of Jerusalem, but they were killed, ‘to the laughter and cheerfulness of all outside’, by one of their enormous stones. For its priceless details, ‘Historia’ was the main historical source for Tasso’s poem ‘Gerusalemme Liberata’, especially for its portrayals of Turkish princes.

Four copies recorded in the US.
USTC 4021523; Röhricht, Bib. Geog. Palestinae, p.23. Not in Brunet.


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Lilium musice plane.

Augsburg, per Johannem Froschawer, 1498.


Small 4to. 15 unnumbered ll., lacking final blank. Gothic letter. Handsome half-page woodcut vignette to title with Pythagoras and Lady Musica holding scrolls, printed music notation, decorated initials. Faint water stain to upper or outer blank margin of last gathering, tiny worm trail to lower edge of three ll., lower outer blank corner of b 6 minimally torn. An excellent, remarkably clean but unwashed copy in C19 navy blue crushed morocco by Zaehnsdorf, double gilt ruled, raised bands, spine gilt-lettered, bookplate of pianist Alfred Cortot to front pastedown, his small stamped monogram on lower outer blank corner of t-p and b 1 .

An excellent, fresh copy of the rare third edition—not in Goff, Hain or BMC—of this handsome music incunabulum. It was first published in Basel in 1496, and reprinted in Ulm the following year. Michael Keinspeck (c.1451-c.1516), from Nuremberg, studied under Josquin de Près and was later professor at Basel. In the introduction to ‘Lilium’, he provides a short account of his early career. ‘Lilium’—a plainchant manual—was conceived for the use of students. It was only the second such manual published in Germany, after Hugo von Reutlingen’s (1488). Plainchant (‘cantus planus’), of which Gregorian is a subcategory, refers to the monophonic chant, with a single melodic line, used in Catholic liturgy. After a definition of music, the work proceeds to discuss types of music (choralis, mensurata, rigmica), scales, cantus (durus, mollis, naturalis), single and double clefs, toni, modi and key change, with a section on intonations for psalms, for ferial and festal use, in eight modes. Extensive musical notation, including a table illustrating Boethius’s ‘scala vera et recta’, provides illustrative examples in four-line staffs, and were printed on woodblocks. ‘Based on the consistent style of the design and the cutting, it is likely (but not certain) that one designer or workshop produced all the woodcuts, including the diagrams, music and title vignette’ (Giselbrecht & Savage, ‘Printing Music’, 91). A rare incunabulum, beautifully printed.

From the library of Alfred Cortot (1877-1962), famous Franco-Swiss pianist and conductor, especially praised for his interpretations of musical classics of the Romantic era.

Only 4 copies recorded (1 fragmentary), none in the US. (No copies of first ed. recorded in US, the second only at LC and Rochester.)
ISTC ik00009200; Klebs 571.3; IBP 3328; Schr 4443; GW M16240. Not in Goff, Hain or BMC. E. Giselbrecht and E. Savage, ‘Printing Music’, in Early Music Printing in German-Speaking Lands, ed. A. Lindmayr-Brandl (London, 2018), 84-99.


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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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Corona delle nobili et virtuose donne. Libro primo [- quarto].

Venice, appresso Cesare Vecellio, 1601.


Oblong 8vo in 4s. 4 parts in 1, separate t-ps, ff. [28] unnumbered, A-G4; ff. [28] unnumbered, AA-GG4; ff. [28] unnumbered, AAA-GGG4; ff. [32] unnumbered, AAAA-HHHH4. Roman letter. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps, large woodcut with Venus and gentlewomen sewing to A3, 108 white-on-black woodcut sewing patterns, occasional text or figurative illustrations of female personifications, animals or grotesques, decorated initials. Occasional finger soiling, marginal ink smudges from contemporary annotations to few blank margins or versos, small marginal repair to blank verso of first t-p and DDD2-3, outer blank margin of C3 and CCC2-3 trimmed. A very good copy, in fresh impression, in probably C19 russet morocco, later marbled eps, double gilt ruled, ornate early crimson morocco panel inlaid from probably original binding, bordered with rolls of tendrils, gilt to a pointillé design of corner- and centrepieces with large fleurons and gouges, semé of gilt dots, raised bands. Morocco label of Robert Hoe to front pastedown, numerous annotations dated 1682-1708, few later pencilled annotations to margins.

A lavishly illustrated sammelband of scarce editions, elegantly bound and of illustrious provenance, of the four parts of this famous sewing pattern book for gentlewomen. Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601) was a Venetian engraver and painter. His most famous publication is ‘De gli Habiti Antichi e Moderni’ (1590), a visual encyclopaedia of world fashion in his time. ‘Corona delle nobili et virtuose donne’ first appeared in 1591 in 3 parts, dedicated to Viena Vendramina Nani and also sold separately; a fourth, with a different title, was issued in 1593. All were reprinted, with additions, several times. ‘Although the earliest examples [of textile pattern books] were intended for a diverse audience of artists, craftsmen, and art enthusiasts, over the course of the C16 the titles, illustrations, and printers’ introductions were aimed more and more at […] girls and women’ (Speelberg, ‘Fashion’, 42). The patterns illustrated in these works reproduce famous stitching points used in Venice—a centre of lace production—and Europe. The most important are ‘punto a reticella’ (‘made by drawing the threads of the cloth […] or by working the lace on a parchment pattern in button-hole stitch’), ‘punto tagliato’ (cut-work) and ‘punto in aria’ (‘worked on a parchment pattern’); others, like the ‘opere a mazzette’ mentioned in the title, have remained unidentified (Palliser, ‘History’, 43-46). Some patterns were specifically for handkerchiefs or ‘bavari’ (veils) in the Venetian style. The annotations in this copy, dating 1682-1708, reveal the serendipitous fate of such crafts book, this copy having been used as an unofficial account book before being elegantly rebound for a bibliophile’s collection. The writer was from mainland Veneto (e.g., ‘mastea’ for washtub). Although the notes mostly relate to the sale of wine and grains, mentioning debts paid by specific customers (both men and women), the business included sartorial services, for which the present work provided practical suggestions. Indeed, there are accounts concerning cloths—cream-coloured satin, and distaffs (‘fuseli’) of linen and hemp—and finished garments (a satin shirt).

Robert Hoe (1839-1909) of New York was one of the great collectors of the turn of the C20. His personal library catalogue was published between 1903 and 1919 in 16 vols and its sale fetched over £400,000.

No copies recorded in the US.

Catalogue of the library of Robert Hoe II, 1879; Brunet V, 1105 (1591 ed.); Berlin Cat. 940. B. Palliser, A History of Lace (London, 1869); F. Speelberg, Fashion & Virtue (New York, 2016).


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CATO, Marcus Porcius, VARRO, Marcus Terentius, COLUMELLA, Junius Moderatus, PALLADIUS, Rutilius Taurus. De re rustica.

Cologne, Johannes Gymnicus, 1536.


8vo. pp. (xxxii) 814 (x). Roman letter. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, 15 small woodcuts of agricultural instruments or diagrams, decorated initials. T-p a bit dusty, small marginal hole, light marginal stain to some early and final ll., Ii2-3 cleanly torn and repaired, dislocating couple of letters, far lower outer blank corner of Ii5 lost, small scattered worm holes to margins of last two gatherings. A very good copy in contemporary probably Polish (Gdánsk?) calf over wooden boards, two brass clasps, double blind ruled, outer border with Mercury(?) and female half-figures, centre panel with (upper cover) blind-stamped ivy leaf and blind-tooled inscription THESMA / RVSALLE / BEKENPO / MERANV(?) / ANNO / DOMI / NI / 1539, (lower) blind-stamped fleurons and rosettes, raised bands, flaw to upper cover affecting one blind-stamped letter, small worm holes to lower edge of lower cover. C17 bookplate of Robert Barclay of Urie (Scotland), inscriptions ‘John Cox Booke 1661’ and another C17 crossed out to ffep, t-p with C17 inscription ‘Barclay Ury’, C16 ‘Ioann Weisser (?)’ and early casemark, C16 bibliographic inscription and C16 ‘Thesmarus Alebeke Pomeranus’ to rear pastedown. In modern folding box.

This copy belonged to Robert Barclay (1648-90) of Ury, Scotland—a major early member of the Society of Friends. His ‘An Apology for the True Christian Divinity’ (1676), written in light of the anti-Quakers controversies of the 1670s, became the most authoritative defence of their doctrines, and one of the most remarkable theological works of the time. From 1682, and without ever visiting the colony, Barclay was appointed governor of East New Jersey by its twelve buyers, eleven of them Quakers, who purchased the territory after the death of Sir George Cartelet. Among them was his long-term friend William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania in 1681. John Cox, who owned this copy in 1661, is listed in Quaker documents of the 1670s alongside Penn and Barclay (‘Exalted Diotrephes’, 28). He was most probably the John Cox from Gloucestershire who ‘emigrated to America with his wife and three children in 1688. He settled first in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, but removed later to […] New Jersey. […] He was the progenitor of many of the well-known Quaker Cox families of New Jersey and Pennsylvania’ (Cox, ‘Cox Family’, 37).

The handsome binding was produced for the earliest owner, Thesmarus Allebeke (fl. early C16), from Pomerania. In 1545, he was rector of the schools at St John’s and St Mary’s churches in Gdánsk. After returning to Catholicism, he was a priest at Cedry Wielkie, near Gdánsk. He owned a rich library of classical authors, including incunables, which bore similar bindings (‘Katalog Inkunabułów Biblioteki Miejskiej w Gdańsku’, 257).

A very good, handsomely bound copy. This florilegium of agricultural works was devised for a readership interested in the classical rustic virtues of landownership and the practical aspects of country life, with topics as varied as the best place to set up a beehive, horticulture, remedies for dogs with flees and sick horses, ways to scare off snakes stabling and regulations for workers. Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BC) was a Roman statesman, military officer and author. His only complete, extant work, ‘De Agri Cultura’ (c.160 BC) is a manual on the management of a country estate reliant on slaves, with a special interest in the cultivation of vines. A prolific writer patronised by Augustus, Marcus Terentius Varro (116-107BC) based his ‘Rerum rusticarum libri tres’ on his direct experience of farming. He notably warns his readers to avoid marshlands, where ‘animalia minuta’ that cannot be seen by the human eye may be breathed in or swallowed and cause illnesses. A soldier and farmer, Lucius Moderatus Columella (4-70AD) is best known for his ‘Res rustica’, which deals with a wealth of activities including the cultivation of vines and olives, the farming and treatment of animals, and the management of workers. Inspired by Columella and much admired in the medieval period, Palladius’s (C4-5AD) ‘Opus agriculturae’ (or ‘De re rustica’) provides an account of the typical monthly activities of a Roman farm, and mentions the utility of building mills over abundant waterways to grind wheat. This edition features commentaries by Georgius Alexandrinus, Philippus Beroaldus and Aldus. Beautifully bound, with fascinating provenance.

Columbia, UCB, NYBG, NLM, Oberlin, Illinois, KU and Rutgers copies recorded in the US.

Graesse VI, 331; BM STC Ger., p.187. An Exalted Diotrephes Reprehended (London, 1681); H.M. Cox, The Cox family in America (New York, 1912).


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Plotini Platonicorum coryphaei opera.

Basel, Ludwig Koenig, 1615.


Folio. pp. (xxxvi) 773 (xlv). Roman letter, with Greek and Italic, mostly double column. T-p in red and black, woodcut portrait of Plotinus, large woodcut printer’s device to recto of last, woodcut initials. Stain at upper gutter of a3, touching first word of 16 lines, very minor marginal worming, couple of edges untrimmed. An excellent, wide-margined copy in high-quality contemporary Dutch vellum, double and single blind ruled, large lozenge-shaped centrepiece with oval and interlacing ribbons, raised bands, C17 title and shelfmark labels to spine. Purchase notes ‘Const. 7 fl.’ (C17) and ‘10 gul. 10 st.’ and ‘paris 10 lib’ (C18) to ffep, C17 inscription ‘A Fletcher’ to t-p.

A handsome copy, of illustrious provenance of Plotinus’s works, edited by Marsilio Ficino. This copy (‘Bib. Fletcheriana’, 109.26) belonged to the Scottish writer and politician Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1655-1716) ‘the most learned man of his day’, and the owner of the largest private library in Scotland, with c.6,000 volumes. In 1683-88, he was in exile in the Netherlands for plotting against James II. In 1683, a major sale took place in Leiden of one of the greatest libraries in Europe, owned by the late Dutch humanist Nicolaus Heinsius (1620-81). The purchase note ‘10 gul. 10 st.’ [10 gulden, 10 stuivers] on this copy matches the buying price for lot 110 (see ‘Bib. Heinsiana’, p.109). Like other similar notes in Fletcher’s books from the sale, it does not appear to be in his own hand; it may have been a secretary or auction house clerk. ‘While Fletcher owned a copy of the “Heinsiana” and a number of books from the sale […] his attendance or representation at the sale must remain a matter of conjecture. […] if not present at the sale itself, [he] was clearly on the scene soon after and would have been able to purchase items from the sale from local booksellers, as the many volumes in his library priced in “guilders” and “stuivers” may attest’ (Sibbald, ‘Heinsiana’, 151). The earliest purchase note (‘Const. 7 fl.’) resembles Heinsius’s hand very closely; it sheds light into the price rise in Holland for the same edition in the course of 70 years. The third purchase note—‘Paris 10 lib’—reprises other such notes present in Fletcher’s books. Other books in his library catalogue (see Willems, ‘Bib. Fletcheriana’) include ‘Paris’ or mention Parisian editions of the same works. They were likely acquired in Paris if not by Fletcher himself, then by James Fall, who since the 1670s had provided him with information on book prices from Paris (ODNB). This copy appears as lot 312 in Deighton Bell’s ‘A catalogue of classical literature’ (1972).

Fletcher also owned the editio princeps of Plotinus’s Greek text, printed by Petrus Perna in Basel in 1580 (‘Bib. Fletcheriana’, p.176). The same sheets, including Perna’s original dedication, were used for the second issue, just altering the t-p. The text was edited, with a Latin translation, by the Neo-Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-99), from mss given to him by Cosimo de’ Medici. Born in Egypt, Plotinus (204-70AD) studied philosophy at Alexandria under Ammonius Sacca; his most important ideas, which greatly influenced pagan, Judeo-Christian and Islamic metaphysics, concern the One, the Soul and the Intellect. This edition begins with his disciple Porphyry’s famous biographical account. Plotinus, he wrote, ‘abstained from animal flesh’ and ‘would not swallow medication containing animal products’, information which fed into early modern debates on vegetarianism and the ethics of eating animal flesh. Through Ficino’s translation of Porphyry’s ‘De abstinentia’, and together with the theories of other Platonists like Porphyry and Iamblichus, Plotinus’s ideas on the rationality of animals were similarly influential (Muratori, ‘Renaissance Vegetarianism’, 2, 43). The rest of the work is occupied by the six ‘Enneads’, based on the writings of his student Porphyry. In the Renaissance, Plotinus provided fertile philosophical ground for the Neo-Platonist reconciliation of Platonism and Christianity.  

UCB, Illinois and Virginia copies recorded in the US.

Brunet IV, 727; Willems, Bib. Fletcheriana, p.176. J.A. Sibbald, ‘The Heinsiana’, in Documenting the Early Modern Book World, ed. M. Walsby et al. (Leiden, 2013), 141-60. C. Muratori, Renaissance Vegetarianism (Oxford, forthcoming). With many thanks to J.A. Sibbald for his helpful comments.


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ENNENKEL, Georgius Acacius.


De privilegiis parentum et liberorum.

Tübingen, Typis Johan. Alexandri Celii, 1618.


FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. pp. (viii) 1018 (l), lacking F 4 (blank) as often. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut initials and ornaments. Browned in a few places, small paper flaws to text of 4Q 4 with no loss. A good, clean copy in contemporary (probably Austrian) deerskin, wanting ties, blind-tooling decorated in silver (mostly oxidised), double blind ruled, blind-stamped fleurons to corners, centrepiece with arms of Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor, as Archduke of Austria to upper cover and those of Lower Austria (appropriated by the Habsburgs in the C14) impaled with those of the Duchy of Austria to lower cover, raised bands, blind-tooled rosettes to three compartments, old shelfmark label at foot of spine, a.e.g., extremities a bit rubbed, with tiny loss at foot, spine and upper joint cracked but firm.

A good, clean copy, of excellent provenance, of the first edition of this interesting legal work on Roman and civil law regulating the relationship between parents and children—perhaps the earliest separate treatment of this subject. This copy appears to have been in the library of the Austrian archdukes—quite possibly a presentation; the work is dedicated to Ferdinand I, Archduke of Austria. Georgius Acacius Ennenkel (1573-1620), Baron von Hoheneck, an Austrian Protestant aristocrat, studied classics and philosophy at Strasbourg and Tübingen. He married the daughter of Christoph Freiherr von Althann, president of the Exchequer of the Austrian empire.

Ennenkel calls the parents-children relationship ‘the closest and strongest of all human ties and contracts’. He begins with an introduction to the meaning of ‘parent’ and ‘child’ according to Roman and civil right, with the help of authorities like Baldus de Ubaldis. He comments on dozens of particular circumstances, e.g., that a ‘contemptuous and impious’ father should legally be considered a father nevertheless; the cases in which the mother is Jewish or another relative has acted ‘in loco parentis’; that a baby ‘who died during delivery’ should not be considered legally a son or daughter, as well as any child struck by supernatural monstrosities or portents. The second section is an historical overview of laws among the Romans, Greek and Jews, touching on the murder of children and the extent of parental authority. The following discuss dozens of legal topics, such as ‘pietas’ between parents and children; the rights and duties of fathers (e.g., their authority, their right to take revenge (e.g., killing an adulterous daughter); in case of ‘frightful events’ children are not compelled to obey their fathers, what happens after a father’s death); the necessity of parental consent for marriages; their obligations in terms of sustenance to their children; and inheritance. A scarce and fascinating reference work for the history of children and the family.

Only Berkeley, LC and Princeton copies recorded in the US.
BL STC Ger. C17 E339.


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AELIANUS, et al.


Ailianou poikilēs istorias […] Aeliani variae Historiae libri XIIII.

Rome, Blado, 1545.


EDITIO PRINCEPS, LARGE PAPER COPY. ff. (iv) 111 (xiii). Greek letter. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p and verso of last. T-p and verso of last a little dusty, upper margin of first gathering and a handful of other ll. oil (?) stained, tiny tear to upper outer blank corner of * 3 and ι 3 , very light water stain to outer blank margin of couple of ll., occasional minor bleed from yellow painted edges, lower outer blank corner of ρ 2 torn. A very good, fresh, large paper copy in English polished calf c.1600, double blind ruled, gilt arms of Herbert of Cherbury to covers, ms. price and monogram to margin of t-p, raised bands, lower edges a bit rubbed. ‘Powis’ to front pastedown, contemporary probably binder’s instructions to verso of last.

Handsomely bound, large paper copy of the Greek editio princeps of this compendium of anecdotes on ancient history and other interesting, lesser known Greek texts on physiognomy and divination. Claudius Aelianus (175-235AD) was a Roman Stoic author, renowned for his mastery of Greek. ‘Variae Historiae’ is one of two works that have reached us—a compendium of anecdotes on the ancient world (on wonders, customs and myths), biographies (of philosophers, writers and historians) and maxims, often taken from sources now lost. Among the subjects he discussed were Greek painting, fly-fishing and pagan religious cults, some of which archaic and obscure. With Aelianus’s ‘History of Animals’, ‘Variae Historiae’ formed ‘part of the standard canon of classical reference works in the early modern period’ (Lupher, ‘Greeks’, 128). Prefaced by a life of the author taken from Philostratus, this edition was prepared by Camillo Peruschi (d.1572), rector of the university of Rome in the 1530s. It features another five works. ‘De rebus publicis Commentarium’ by the Greek astronomer and philosopher Heraclides Ponticus (390-310BC), famous for suggesting that the Earth rotates on its axis in the course of 24 hours. Polemon of Laodicea’s (90-144AD) and Adamantios’s ‘Physiognomica’ were manuals teaching how to tell character from appearance, the former highly influential in the Arabic world. The last two—a treatise on divination through the study of heart palpitations, and another on divination through birthmarks and moles—were attributed to the pagan soothsayer Melampus (3 rd century BC).

This copy was in the fine library of the great book collector Edward, 1 st Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1582?-1648), created at Montgomery Castle, in Wales, in 1622-25. It was also one of c.230 volumes which, through the history of the Herbert family, ended up in the library of Powis Castle after 1748, probably from Oakley Park, dispersed in the 1950s-60s (Roberts, ‘Lord Herbert’, 118).

Dibdin I, 229; Moss I, 3; Fumagalli 1523; Brunet I, 62; Schweiger I, 3; Hoffmann, Bibliographisches litt. der griechen, I, 11. Not in Bernoni. D. Lupher, Greeks, Romans, and Pilgrims (Leiden, 2017); D. Roberts, ‘Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s Library at Montgomery Castle’, Library & Information History 31 (2015), 117-36.


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Illuminated manuscript on vellum

[England, (most probably London), soon after 1309]


8vo, 160 x 110mm, 167 leaves, 167 leaves, wanting single leaf from main text and a leaf or so at end, else complete. Drypoint medieval leaf and quire signatures as well as old foliation in ink in lower margin, single column of 29 lines in an English secretarial hand (anglicana), running titles and marginal titles with red and blue paragraph marks, each chapter opening with an illuminated initial on bicoloured red and pink grounds. Waterstain to lower margin of first 3 leaves, cockling throughout, edges slightly dampstained, a little smudging and offsetting, occasional rubbing and spotting, good and legible. In English early seventeenth-century calf, ruled in blind and with a central gilt-stamped lozenge on upper and lower covers, leather label “Manuscript” on spine, remains of green silk ties, some wear to binding, spine skilfully restored.

A fine and early legal manuscript containing one of the fundamental texts of English law; from an important legal library.


  1. Most probably written either by a scribe of the Inns of Court or a chancery clerk in London, for a medieval lawyer whose mark or initial may be the large calligraphic capital ‘B’ on the front flyleaf. The opening writ of the present manuscript was attested at Westminster on the 12th of December in the third year of the reign of Edward II, that is 1309, and the manuscript was most likely written within a very few years of that date. Its selection of texts frequently cites London and Westminster, and was likely produced for use by a resident of that city.
  2. Red oval armorial ink stamp (bendy sinister of nine with central device) surmounted by coronet, on front endleaf.
  3. Alfred J. Horwood (1821-1881), of the Middle Temple, barrister and important historian of English law, pioneering editor of the year books of Edward I and Edward III (the records of the medieval English courts arranged by monarch and regnal year, the latter falling into the date range of the production of the present manuscript) for the illustrious Rolls Series, and a prominent early collector of English legal manuscripts. His manuscript of the Opinio Angeri de Rypone, edited in Rolls Series, 31, 1866 is now Harvard Law School, MS. 36; other legal manuscripts of his now in British Library, Addit. MSS. 32085-32090, and listed in P.A. Brand, Early English Law Reports, 1996, I, xxii, n. 15; and further non-legal manuscripts in the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Horwood’s signature on first endleaf, above “Temple” and several lines of partly erased notes by him. His library dispersed by Sotheby’s, 8 June, 1883, at which point this volume entered the booktrade; with bookseller’s catalogue of that date pasted inside upper cover (5 guineas), and later pencil inscription of price “£6-18-0”.


Registers of Writs were produced as formulary books, providing a range of writs issued by the Chancery to serve as precedents in the pursuit of any action for the protection of rights, property or liberties (see F.W. Maitland in Harvard Law Review, 3, 1889, pp. 97-115, and E. De Haas and G.D.G. Hall, Early Registers of Writs, 1970). They were an absolutely essential part in initiating medieval and indeed much later litigation. It was also essential to any set of proceedings that the writ was correctly drafted, or the legal action would almost certainly fail. Accordingly, sound precedent books were the fundamental tools of English medieval practise, described as early as the seventeenth century as “the ancientist book of the law” by Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), Attorney General to Queen Elizabeth I and Chief Justice to King James I, and their direct successors, at least until recently, were still in daily use. Modern scholarship also recognises their importance to the execution of the law, with T.F.T. Plunkett stating that they were the “basis of the mediaeval common law, a guide to its leading principles, and a commentary upon their application” (Statutes and their Interpretation in the First Half of the Fourteenth Century, Cambridge 1922, p.111).

The volume here includes a list of 60 chapter headings, followed by the Register of Writs proper from De recto to De salvo conductu.


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