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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Sophokleous ai epta tragoediae. Sophoclis tragoediae septem.

[Geneva, Henri Estienne,] 1568.


Tall 8vo. 2 parts in 1, pp. (viii) 461 (i) 142 [i.e., 242] (ii). First part in Greek letter, in two sizes, second in Roman, little Greek. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p a little dusty, minor soiling to outer margin, occasional very slight foxing towards outer edges, small, faint water stain to lower blank margin of few gatherings, three tiny worm holes to couple of ll. touching the odd letter. A very good, clean copy in C18 English tree calf, marbled eps, single gilt ruled, raised bands, spine gilt, contrasting morocco labels, spine a little rubbed with minor loss at head, corners a bit bumped, late C18 armorial bookplate of F.W. Brydges to front pastedown, another earlier C18 of ‘R.H. [Robert Holbyn] C.C.C. Oxon. Comm.’ to t-p verso, *ii initialled R.H.

Very good, clean copy of this handsomely produced first Estienne Greek edition of Sophocles’s seven tragedies. ‘A very excellent and accurate edition, and highly creditable to the editorial talents of Henry Stephens […]. It contains some very choice readings: there is not an Edition in which I read Sophocles with so much pleasure as in this…’ (Moss). Henri Estienne (1528-98) had been in Geneva since the late 1550s, when his father, the Royal Printer Robert, abandoned Paris to escape religious persecution, bringing duplicates of the matrices of his famous ‘Grec du roi’ typeface devised by Garamond. Upon Robert’s death in 1559, Henri became official printer of the Republic of Geneva. A fine humanist and prolific author, Henri produced numerous editorial milestones of the Greek classics, the New Testament in Greek, and his very expensive masterpiece, ‘Thesaurus grecae linguae’. Based on Turnebus’s 1553 version, this Greek edition of Sophocles comprises ‘Ajax’, ‘Antigone’,

‘Women of Trachis’, ‘Oedipus Rex’, ‘Electra’, ‘Philoctetes’ and ‘Oedipus at Colonus’. The text is surrounded by the Scholia of the 1518 Roman edition and those of Turnebus, edited by Estienne. Appended are the important scholia by the C14 Byzantine scholar Triclinius, concerned with Sophocles’s metre, and a commentary by Joachim Camerarius, whose critical work from the 1530s ‘stands at the very beginning of modern Sophoclean criticism’ (Lurie, ‘Int. History’, 441). Estienne’s annotations on Sophocles and Euripides, mentioned on the t-p for publicity, were printed separately.

A choice collector’s item, this copy was in the library of Robert Holbyn (1710-57) of Nanswhyden, Cornwall, formerly a student at Christ Church College, Oxford. He accumulated ‘a magnificent library, which was taken to Bath and sold by auction by his successor in the property, […] the sale lasting six weeks, with catalogues costing 10s. 6d. each’ (Jewers, ‘Registers’, vii). It was later owned by Francis William Brydges of Tiberton Court, high sheriff of Herefordshire.

Schreiber, The Estiennes, 171; Renouard, Annales, 131:3; Brunet V, 447: ‘Bien executée et réputée correcte’; Hoffman III, 414; Adams, S1448. Dibdin I, 363-64 and Moss II, 597 cite it as published in Paris. M. Lurie, ‘Towards an Intellectual History of Sophocles in Europe’, in A Companion to Sophocles, ed. K. Orman (2012), 440-60; A.J. Jewers, The registers of the parish of St. Columb Major, Cornwall (1881).


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

Venice, apud Paulum Manutium, 1559, 1558.


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

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

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

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

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


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Aristotelous Politikon Bib. Th. Aristotelis Politicorum Libri VIII.

Leiden, ex Officina Elzeviriana, 1621.


8vo. 2 vols, pp. (xvi) 388; 389-1045 (xli). Roman letter, with Greek, mostly double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials. Uniform light age browning, edges a little dusty, slight foxing to first and last ll. of each, lower outer corner of Lll 1 torn affecting two words, marginal paper flaw at lower edge of Eee 5 . A very good copy in early C18 English crimson morocco, marbled eps, double gilt ruled, small gilt rosettes to corners, inner edges gilt, raised bands, same gilt decoration to spine, gilt-lettered title, a little cracking, some corners a bit bumped. Bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst to front pastedown of vol. 1.

A very good, richly bound copy of this Greek and Latin edition of Aristotle’s immensely influential essay on political philosophy—the basis of early model political theory. ‘A respectable and scarce edition: it is very neatly printed by the Elzevirs’ (Moss). ‘Editio nitida’ (Hoffman). In eight books, the work discusses the institution of the ‘polis’, intellectual and moral virtues as applied to politics, the nature of citizens, types of government, the ideal state and citizens’ education. It was produced by the great humanist Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655), professor at Leiden and editor of numerous Elzevir classical texts. It also features the fragmentary Greek and Latin texts of Heraclides Lembus’s ‘De politiis’ and the Jewish historian Nicolaus Damascenus’s ethnographic account ‘De moribus gentium’. The last few pages are devoted to the Jesuit classicist Andreas Schottus’s annotations to Aristotle’s ‘Politics’. An exquisite set.

Willems 180; Moss I, 129; Hoffman I, 312; Brunet I, 468. Not in Dibdin.


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Ποιησεις Ομηρου […] Opus utrumque Homeri Iliados et Odysseae.

Basel, per Ioan. Hervagium, 1551.


Small folio. 2 parts in 1, separate t-ps, pp. (xx) 394 [i.e., 410] (ii), 314 (ii). Greek letter, occasional Roman, mostly double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps and versos of last, additional engraved portrait of J. Camerarius by P. Galle (late C16) mounted on ffep decorated initials. A handful of gatherings lightly browned, slight marginal foxing, light water stain to upper outer blank corner, another to lower outer blank corner of second half, small ink splash to outer blank margin of e 6 , edges slightly trimmed touching a few marginalia. A good copy in C18 sheep, modern reback, boards worn with some loss. C19 booklabel of John McAllister, C18 bookplate of Bell’s Circulating Library and modern auction record to front pastedown, intermittent C16 Greek and Latin marginalia in red or black ink, ex-libris of Jacob Feilitscher, Jenensis, 1554, and C16 inscription on Greek language to second t-p.

Annotated copy, extra-illustrated with a handsome author’s portrait by P. Galle, of the Greek text of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’. It sought to improve on the Hervagius edition of 1535, which had a critical apparatus based on the ‘scholia’ of Didymus of Alexandria (now believed to date much later). The German humanists Joachim Camerarius (1500-74) and Jakob Micyllus (1503-58), also the authors of Homeric commentaries, revised the 1541 edition and added further material to the Greek-only ‘scholia’ surrounding the text.

This copy sheds light on the teaching of Greek at Jena in the mid-C16. The annotator was Jacob Feilitzscher, registered as a student at the Protestant Academy of Jena (from 1558, a university) in 1548, the year of its foundation (‘Matrikel’, 99). In 1554, he was studying Greek under the Lutheran humanist and former student of Melanchthon, Michael Neander (1529-81), who, after moving from Wittenberg, taught Greek and mathematics at Jena in 1551-72. Neander compiled a ‘Gnomologia Graecolatina’, a collection of ‘sententiae’ in Latin and Greek by major classical authors. Feilitzscher noted a quotation by Neander on the ‘Odyssey’ t-p, on Homer’s use of the Ionic dialect. In the notes, philology is preeminent, with attention to variants, some not listed in the surrounding commentary, as well as Greek synonyms or Latin translations. Feilitzscher noted rhetorical figures (e.g., ‘hysteron proteron’), classical quotations by Ovid, Virgil and Quintilian. In Book 2 of the ‘Iliad’, he glossed ‘the same with the civil wars in Germany’. He also highlighted and annotated scenes with ‘THERSITES’, as well as references to Aristotle’s discussion of Homer in his ‘Poetics’, and to Virgil. In Book 3, he highlighted Hector’s berating of Paris as ‘mad after women’, a ‘beguiler’ who ‘should never have been born’, and added numerous glosses to the subsequent section on the preparation for the battle, Priam’s dialogue with Helen and her dialogue with Paris after his return from the battle. On the passage describing Helen’s appearance on the walls of Troy, he glossed ‘fair among women’ with ‘Maria’, a reference to the Virgin Mary. In Book 4, he highlighted, with an observation on the Homeric relation between human faults and the gods’ will, Athena’s trick on the Trojan Pandarus, as she convinces him to shoot an arrow against Menelaus and thus undo the truce. Feilitzscher added one gloss to the ‘Odyssey’, underlining what Homer presented as the best treatment of guests and strangers, in Book 15.

In the C18, this copy was among the books available at Bell’s Circulating Library, near St Paul’s Church, one of several which rented out books to readers who could not afford to purchase them or to subscribe to a normal library. Whilst most circulating libraries were devoted to fiction and sensationalist novels, some also sold more scientific and scholarly books. Bell advertised that he ‘gives ready money for new and old books’.

In the early C19, this copy was in Philadelphia, in the library of John McAllister Jr. (1786-1877), owner of a renowned firm of optical equipment, and married to Eliza Young, the daughter of the noted printer and bookseller William Young. After his retirement in 1835, McAllister turned into a keen collector of books and mss., assembling a library ‘rich in works of all kinds’ (Watson’s ‘Annals’, 1905 ed.). The library was divided among his children; his son, John Allister, left his portion, increased with further purchases, to the Library Company. ‘The John A. McAllister Collection held by the Library Company has many thousands of items encompassing some of the same classifications as his father’s collection, but few with a provenance to connect them to John McAllister Jr. and his famous library’ (‘The John A. McAllister Collection’, The Library Company). This copy bears John Jr’s bookplate.

Hoffman II, 316; Brunet III, 271; Dibdin II, 50 (footnote). Die Matrikel der Universität Jena. Band I (1944); ‘Michael Neander’, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie 23 (1886), S.340.


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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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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


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. 


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ΣΥΝΩΔΙΑ, sive Musarum Cantabrigiensium concentus et congratulatio.

[Cambridge],  Ex Academiæ Cantabrigiensis typographeo, Anno Dom. 1637


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [112];  4. A-L ²L-N. The first three leaves of ²L are signed L4, L5, L6. [Issue with the additional quire between L and M.] Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Title within double ruled typographical border, floriated initials typographical ornaments, Robert Pirie’s bookplate on fly. Light age yellowing, endleaves a little dusty. A fine copy, crisp and clean in contemporary vellum, covers bordered with a single gilt rule, ‘sun’ fleuron gilt at centres (a little rubbed on upper cover).

Rare, first and only edition of this collection of verses to celebrate the birth of Anne of England, King Charles I’s daughter; a fine copy in a contemporary vellum binding

“The practise at English universities of printing collections of verses in the learned languages to celebrate public events seems to have started in 1587 with the death of Sir Philip Sidney. But whereas the exequies of the Oxford muses on that occasion were printed at Oxford itself by the university printer Joseph Barnes, the tears of Cambridge were published in London and it was not till 1603 that the first Cambridge-printed volume appeared.  ..But with the reign of King Charles Cambridge began to compete seriously with its rival in the frequency of its official offerings, celebrating the King’s accession, marriage, health, journeys and a rapid succession of royal babies in ten volumes between 1625 and 1641. “ Harold Forster. ‘The rise and fall of the Cambridge Muses (1603-1763).

This collection contains the first two poems published by the great metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell, one in Greek the other in Latin. “Marvell’s first published poem was an Horatian ode on the birth of Princess Anne in Cambridge on that occasion, ‘ΣΥΝΩΔΙΑ, sive Musarum Cantabrigiensium concentus et congratulatio (1637), written when Marvell was fifteen. Marvell entitles his poem a parody, that is a formal imitation, in this case of an ode by Horace which describes the horrors of civil war and begs Caesar to save the state. The poem offers critical difficulties. … The horror that Marvell’s poem summons (on what would seem to be a happy occasion) is present to varying degrees in all four university volumes on the princesses, and is even more strongly marked in the two volumes commemorating the birth of Henry, Duke of Gloucester in 1640.”

A fine copy of this very rare work in its original limp vellum binding.

ESTC 6179052. “Oates, J.C.T. Cambridge books of congratulatory verses 1603-1640 and their binders. Transact. Camb. Bib. Soc. I (1953) p.395-421, no.12” STC 4492.


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Academiae Oxoniensis pietas erga serenissimum et potentissimum Iacobum Angliæ Scotiæ Franciæ & Hiberniæ Regem.

Oxford. Excudebat Iosephus Barnesius, almæ Academiæ typographus, 1603.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. [iv], 207, [i]. *² A-N. Issue with the poem “Votum Typographi ad… Regem” on the last page. Roman letter, some Italic, Hebrew, and Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on title, floriated woodcut initial and headpiece, typographical ornaments on last leaf, note in modern hand concerning the provenance on fly, armorial bookplate of Rev. Richard Grosvenor Bartelot on pastedown, early autograph on vellum turn in, bookplate of Robert S. Pirie on rear pastedown. A fine copy, absolutely crisp and clean on thick paper with large margins, in excellent contemporary vellum over thin boards, yapp edges, covers gilt ruled to a panel design, small acorn fleuron gilt to outer corners, gilt fleuron at centres, spine gilt ruled in bands, remains of pink silk ties, small hole to vellum in spine, a little soiled.

Rare first and only edition of this collection of poetry comprising more than 470 Latin poems, with a few in Greek, Italian and French, from members of Oxford colleges on the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James I. On page 17, there is a complaint about the lack of Hebrew type. The King’s pedigree from Edward the Third, is prefixed to the volume with some verses by the Vice Chancellor Dr. Howson. This work was preceded by another from the same press ‘Oxoniensis Academiae Funebre Officium in Memoriam Elizabethae,” of collected poems on the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. Almost all such university poems are considered as academic exercises, however they offer great insight into the politics and culture of the Elizabethan period, and at a particularly crucial time in the History of the Monarchy. Many of the poets in this volume rarely published their work, which often circulated in manuscript, so such miscellanies offer tremendous insight into contemporary poetry. Hazlitt states that Sir Walter Raleigh contributed to the collection however the poem he is referring to is signed ‘Guil. Raleghe’ and seems unlikely to be by Sir Walter who was imprisoned that year by James.

“The practise at English universities of printing collections of verses in the learned languages to celebrate public events seems to have started in 1587 with the death of Sir Philip Sidney. But whereas the exequies of the Oxford muses on that occasion were printed at Oxford itself by the university printer Joseph Barnes, the tears of Cambridge were published in London and it was not till 1603 that the first Cambridge-printed volume appeared.  ..Oxford meanwhile poured out no less than eleven volumes of verses adding the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Platine in 1613 and the Kings safe return from Scotland in 1617 as well as domestic tributes to the memory of the Universities benefactors, Sir Thomas Bodley (1613), Sir Henry Savile (1622) and Willaim Camden (1624). And individual Oxford colleges also produced their own memorial collections for distinguished alumni or special benefactors.” Harold Forster. ‘The rise and fall of the Cambridge Muses (1603-1763).

There is a lengthy note on the fly stating that the work belonged to Sir Philip Oldfeld commoner of the Brasenose College, who wrote the verses on page 178/179. The quality of the copy, in s very high quality contemporary binding certainly suggest that it was bound, either for presentation or for a contributor.

STC 19019. Case, 25. The Early Oxford Press, p. 56. Madan, 229.


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