Antiquæ linguæ Britannicæ, nunc vulgò dictæ Cambro-Britannicæ, a suis Cymraecae vel Cambricae, ab aliis Wallicæ, et linguæ Latinæ, dictionarium duplex…

London : impress. in ædibus R. Young, impensis Joan. Davies SS. Th. D., An. Dom. 1632.


FIRST EDITON. Folio. pp. [398]. *⁴, 2*⁴, A-P⁴, 2A-3H⁴, 3I⁶. Issue without the unsigned leaf of commendatory verses. Roman and italic letter, some Hebrew, triple column. Title and text within box rule. Small woodcut device on title, Royal arms on verso, those of the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) at head of dedication, historiated woodcut initials, elaborate woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, autograph of ‘Hon Howell Vaughan’ repeated in blank margins of several leaves, ‘Ed. LLoyd’ in several margins, engraved case mark of the Porkington Library on pastedown, early latin inscription on verso of last. Light age yellowing, some minor waterstaining in places, the odd mark or spot. A very good, crisp copy in early C19th polished calf, covers bordered with blind Greek key and floral scrolls, spine with raised bands blind fleurons in compartments, title and author gilt.

First edition of Davies’ great Welsh- Latin, Latin-Welsh dictionary; though the second part was the work of Thomas Williams of Trevriw, the whole work was edited by Davies. Davies was of humble origin but had the inestimable advantage of a village education in his native Denbighshire by William Morgan, the translator of the Bible into Welsh. He later in turn assisted Parry in the preparation of his great Welsh Bible (1620). He was held in high esteem as a clergyman and magistrate and the present work gained him a high reputation as a scholar also. The separate glossary of Welsh botanical names remains of particular interest.”The author was ‘esteemed by the academicians well vers’d in the history and antiquities of his own nation, and in the Greek and Hebrew languages, a most exact critic, an indefatigable researcher into ancient scripts, and well acquainted with curious and rare authors’ – Ant. à Wood” Lowndes cit. infr. “The greatest scholar until modern days was John Davies of Mallwyd, editor of the 1620 Bible, whose grammar (in Latin in 1621) and Welsh- Latin, Latin-Welsh dictionary (1632) are among the most influential works of Welsh scholarship.”. J. T Koch Celtic Culture, A Historical Encyclopaedia. “His analysis of the modern literary language is final; he has left to his successors only the correction and amplification of detail.” John Morris Jones. 

The Porkington or the Brogyntyn Library at Brogyntyn Hall in Shropshire contained a hugely important collection of Welsh books and manuscripts. It is known that Sir Robert Owen of Brogyntyn (d. 1698) was a bibliophile who continued the family’s traditional patronage of poets, and a collection of printed English literature was developed by his grandfather Lewis Anwyl of Park. Nevertheless, the early history of the library at Brogyntyn is obscure. Some of the family had collected early printed books during the nineteenth century but this does not account for the fine collection of manuscripts that the library held. There is some evidence contained within the manuscripts which suggests that the collection was formed circa 1700 from other manuscripts collections in the surrounding area. The thirty Welsh language manuscripts that the third Lord Harlech deposited in the National Library of Wales in 1934 was, at the time, the largest collection of manuscripts in Welsh that was still privately owned. The fourth Lord Harlech deposited a further fifty-nine manuscripts in the National Library in 1938 and subsequently donated most of the deposits in 1945. They include a medieval psalter and a version of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniæ, both from the thirteenth century, a fifteenth century miscellany in Middle English, a volume of the Welsh laws of Hywel Dda, and pedigrees, genealogy and heraldry of familes in Wales.

The autograph Howell Vaughan that appears n the margins of the work was probably that of Sir Robert Howell Vaughan (1723 – 1792) the possessor of of the estates of Nannau, Hengwrt, Ystumcolwyn, and Meillionydd in Wales. A most appropriate provenance for this work, a rare first edition.

ESTC S122150. STC 6347. Lowndes II 600. ‘A most elaborate and excellent work’ Nicholson.



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RHYS, John David

Cambrobrytannicae Cymraecaeue linguae. 

London, Excudebat Thomas Irwin’s, 1592.


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.



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PEROTTO, Niccolò




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

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

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

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

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


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RICCI, Bartolomeo


Apparatus latinae locutionis.

Venice, Niccolini Brothers, 1533.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, (4) f., 598 col., (12) f., wanting final blank. Neat Roman letter, double-columns; title within elegant architectural woodcut boarder with monsters, cupids and soldiers; few rust spots on cviii; tiny worm trail over internal upper margin of ff. rviii-ti; margins very occasionally marked. An extremely good copy in contemporary vellum from an early fifteenth-century manuscript missal, black-and-red; on both boards, decorative border in red and capitals in red and blue (some beautifully decorated); slightly rubbed; front lower corner a bit chipped; original binding, not recased. Contemporary ex libris on title, ‘Valvasor’ and ‘Valvassoris et amicorum’ (repeated on head of ai) as well as ‘Franciscus Hieronimus De medicis … anno curente 1551.’

First edition of this successful lexicon of Latin terminology drawn from the best ancient writers, especially Cicero. A respected scholar and writer, Bartolomeo Ricci (1490 – 1569) taught the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d’Este. He left several speeches and letters, together with a famous treatise on the stylistic imitation of the Latin classics. His Apparatus offered readers a tool to enlarge and refine their knowledge of Latin, exclusively on a classical basis. It was published following the favourable judgement of Pietro Bembo, the founding theorist of the Italian language. Both Bembo and Ricci thought the purest Latin prose should resemble the style of Cicero as close as possible. This view was broadly shared by sixteenth-century Italian humanists. In their excess of zeal, many of them were regarded as pedantic emulators, ultimately falling into the category mocked by Erasmus in his Ciceronianus.

This remarkable copy was almost certainly inscribed in a very elegant humanist handwriting by Clemente Valvassori. A Venetian men of letters, he glossed and commented on an Italian translation of Sallust and provided an allegoric Christian interpretation of Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso (nothing more distant from the author’s original purpose!). The printer Giovanni Andrea Valvassori was probably a relative of his. In 1551, the book was acquired by (presumably) Girolamo de Medici, most probably the jurist from Lucca who was active in Mantua in mid-sixteenth century.

Not in BM STC It. nor Adams. Graesse, VI, 109.


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PANSA, Muzio

Della libraria vaticana ragionamenti.

Rome, Giovanni Martinelli, 1590.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. (8), 331, (29). Roman and italic letter, little Greek; few historiated initials and vignettes, large woodcut device on title and colophon; remarkable and detailed xylographic depiction of the porticoed façade of Belvedere palace in Vatican in 1588 at 126; numerous engraved samples of Hebrew, Syriac, Coptic, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Armenian, Illyrian, Gothic and Arabic alphabets at 254-318; occasional light foxing, small oilspots to 81. A very good copy in elegant seventeenth-century calf, a bit worn and cracked; gilt panels, double and triple fillet, floriated corners to the central frame; rebacked.

First edition of this important and engaging work, depicting the new location of the Vatican Library erected by Sixtus V in 1588. Muzio Pansa (1565-1628) was a physician and man of letters. He graduated in both philosophy and medicine at the Roman University and joined several erudite academies. A skilled poet, he celebrated with his pen, cardinals, sovereigns and pontiffs, especially the numerous achievements of Sixtus V (1585-1590).

His Ragionamenti offers the first printed historical account of the papal library and illustrates the ambitious iconographic programme still adorning its rooms. The latter embraces the history of human knowledge, sublimating the role played by the papacy as the sole custodian of truth and orthodox faith. Describing frescoes and statues in order of appearance, Pansa writes on the origins of the book and paper, the ecumenical councils and famous libraries of the past, as well as on the ancient alphabets and their mythical inventors, from Adam to St Cyril. At pp. 14-15, one can find an interesting account of the invention of printing in China, the later discovery by Gutenberg and the arrival in Italy of the typographers Sweynheim and Pannartz in 1465. The recent establishment of the Vatican Press is also recorded, along with other stunning private libraries of the Counter-Reformation.

BM STC It., 487; Adams, P 172; Graesse, V 121.


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PONTANO, Giovanni Gioviano

Opera omnia soluta oratione composita…

Venice, in aedibus Aldi, June 1518; April, September, 1519


Large 8vo, 3 vols. ff (iv) 326, lacking final but with original integral blank+ 318 with both original integral blanks and fol 64, often censored + 301 (xix). Italic letter, guide letters, spaces blank. Anchor and dolphin device on t.p of vol I and final verso of vol III. Partially inked over early C17 ex libris of at foot of each t.p., C20 bookplate on blank versos, C19 Harvard armorial bookplate on front pastedown of each with release stamp to vol I, attractive contemporary ink title to fore edge of each. First t.p. strengthened at gutter, faint blind stamp in blank upper margin of t.p. to vol. II, very slight foxing, the odd minor marginal tear or blemish. Good, clean, well margined copies in uniform, Harleian style, English red morroco c 1700, covers with panels, borders and cornerpieces gilt, rebacked (in modern red morocco) incorporating earlier labels, a little wear.

The complete 3 vol. set of the first collected Aldine edition of the prose works of Pontano, published by Aldus over a period of 15 months and rarely found together and uniform. The fore edge lettering indicates that these three volumes have coexisted since the first half of the C16 and almost certainly since publication. The text is the edition of J. F. Asulanus (or Tornesanus); the first vol., the poems re-printed from that of 1505 but the other two here published by the Aldine press for the first time. Volumes I and II contain Pontano’s political works such as De principe, De liberalitate, and De Magnanimitate and his speculative and theoretical work on art and language such as De aspiratione and De sermone. The third volume, which also contains an index to all three, consists of scientific, astronomical and astrological works, a translation and commentary on the Centium Sententiae Ptolemaei and other briefer treatises such as De luna and De rebus coelestibus.

Giovanni Gioviano Pontano (1429-1503) humanist, diplomat, scholar and poet is a prime example of the power and prestige attainable by men of letters in Renaissance Italy. A poor boy from Perugia he became the driving force behind the Neapolitan Academy, its official leader after 1471, Secretary of State and trusted friend and counsellor of his sovereign, whom he deserted in favour of Charles VIII of France, and rich. He was hugely esteemed by contemporaries who thought his writings quite equal to their classical models.

BM STC It. p. 533. Renouard 82:3, 87:6, 87.7. Brunet IV 808 “Bonne edition, et dort ou trouve diificilement les trois volumes réunis et bien conservés”. Houzeau and Lancaster I, 1.2334 “beaux caractères italiques — Rare.” cf Cantamessa II 3556.


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PEROTTO, Niccolò


Cornucopiae, siue linguae Latinae commentarij diligentissimé recogniti.

Venice, Aldi et Andrea Soceri, November 1513 [but May 1517].


Folio. ff. 79 (i), 1,436 columns, ff.(i). π-10π8, a-z8, A-Y8. Italic letter in double column. Aldine device on title, capital spaces with guide letters. Two leaves of quire slightly oxidized browned, couple of tiny single worm holes on first few leaves and at end, title a little thumbed in lower outer blank corner of table, the odd minor marginal mark. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in contemporary vellum over boards, title manuscript on spine.

An excellent copy of the second Aldine edition of this monumental collection of grammars, including one of the most important Renaissance Latin dictionaries by Niccolo Perroto, together with three influential classical grammars by Varro, Festus and Nonius Marcellus, dedicated to the condottiere Federico da Montefeltro of Urbino. Although the date 1513 is shown on the final colophon as if it was the second Aldine edition, this is in reality a reprint carried out in May 1517, as the colophon at the end of Perotti’s work indicates (col 1064 [i.e. 1054]). The largest section of the book is taken up by Perroti’s Cornucopia. Written as a commentary on book I of Martial and de-constructing its every sentence, Cornucopia became a standard reference work on the Latin language. “A massive encyclopedia 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” Brian Ogilvie, ‘The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe.’

The work was revised and expanded by Perotto’s son Pyrrhus and the first edition was published in Venice in 1489 with the first Aldine appearing in 1499. The text was carefully numbered by page and by line helping to key the index precisely and thus introducing a modern scholarly system of reference. Niccolò Perotto (1429-1480) was an Italian cleric and humanist, who was born and died in Sassoferrato. From 1451 to 1453 he taught rhetoric and poetry at the University of Bologna. In 1452 he was acknowledged as Poet Laureate by the Emperor Frederick III during his welcome speech upon his arrival in the city. He was the papal secretary from 1455 and archbishop of Siponto in 1458. Although his later career was as a papal governor, he continued his scholarly pursuits, editing the works of the Roman writers Pliny and Martial. Apart from Cornucopia, he wrote a Latin school grammar, Rudimenta Grammatices (Pannartz and Sweynheim 1473), one of the earliest and most popular Renaissance Latin grammars, which attempted to modernize the language by excluding many words and constructions of medieval origin.

The Cornucopia is bound together with the three most important classical texts on the grammar and etymology of the Latin language. Firstly, “Varro’s treatise is the earliest extant 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. … 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.” Sandys I, p. 179. Second is Sextus Pompeius Festus’ epitome in 21 books of the encyclopaedic treatise ‘De verborum significatione’ of Valerius Flaccus. Festus gives the etymology and the meaning of many words, throwing considerable light on the Latin language, mythology and antiquities of ancient Rome. The work ends with Nonius Marcellus’ Compendia. A lovely, fresh copy of these important texts.

BM STC. It. C16th p. 499. Adams P720. Renouard 63.6.


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Ductoris in linguas. The guide into tongues.

London, John Haviland, 1627.


Folio, pp. (iv) cols 760 (pp. 380) (iv). Double column. Black, Roman, Italic and Greek and Hebrew letter, printed side notes. Title within typographical border, three ornate woodcut headpieces and initials, C17 ex libris on fly ‘H. Burton’ and jottings e.g. ‘Abingdon quasi Alby town in Barkshire,’ including other names, mostly light age browning. Two leaves discoloured, one with tear without loss and small hole with loss of two or three letters, a good original copy in contemporary calf, upper joint cracked but sound, foot of spine slightly defective, edges a bit rubbed.

Second and best edition of Minsheu’s great multilingual dictionary much altered by the author, giving “The Reasons and Derivations of all or the most part of words” in English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, together with etymological explanations and examples of literary usage. The text differs from the first edition in that Welsh and Portugese are omitted. Also included are proper names “of the Bible…Countries, Cities, Townes, Hilles, Rivers, Flouds, Promontaries, Ports, Creekes, Islands, Seas, Men, Women, Gods, Peoples, and other things of note,” and a detailed “Exposition of the Termes of the Lawes of this Land…with the description of the Magistracies, Offices and Officers” clearly designed for the burgeoning legal market.

The work also catered for the increasing interest in England in continental languages – apart from the traditional classical texts people were often attempting to read and write, whether for business or pleasure in the modern European tongues. The lasting value of this great lexicon however is as a dictionary of everyday English in its golden age at the beginning of the C17 – no other work gives as comprehensive a survey of the meanings of Shakespeare, Jonson and the other giants of the day. It is also still a wonderful source of random information, e.g. ‘nicotine’ comes from Jean Nicot who introduced tobacco to France in 1560. ‘H. Burton’ may be the puritan divine Henry Burton (1578 – 1648), immensely popular preacher and author, whose ears were famously cropped by order of Star Chamber and who more famously continued preaching without them.

STC 17947. Lowndes IV 1570 “Minsheu’s guide is a very important work and has furnished great assistance to subsequent lexicographers. Todd…This edition is by some prefered for its additions and corrections.” Alden 627/76; “An etymological dictionary with definitions and sources for numerous words relating to the Americas (617/93). Alston II 107. c.v. F. B. Williams “Scholarly Publications in Shakespeare’s Day”.


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