CATULLUS, TIBULLUS, PROPERTIUS

(Works).

Paris, Simon de Colines, 1534.

£2,750

8vo. ff. 80, 89-168 (misnumbered). Italic letter, black-on-white woodcut initials. Title page from another contemporary edition, repaired at fore edge, very slight age yellowing, faint damp stain to upper inner corner of a couple of quires, one or two finger-marks. A very good copy in C17th French crimson morocco gilt, simple scrolled gilt-rolled border and corner fleurons on a central blind-ruled panel with an unusual square and diamond patterned-roll, to form a double frame mitred design, spine gilt in compartments, black morocco lettering piece, a.e.g. C19th armorial bookplate of the Earl of Macclesfield on front pastedown, Shirburn castle blindstamp to first few leaves, two manuscript classmarks to eps at rear.

Second, improved Colines edition, derived from the Aldine by Aldus the elder and Jer. Avancio. Each beginning with biographical extracts from the Florentine Petro Crinito’s guide to the Latin poets, the work is divided into three sections, respectively comprising Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius.

The first comprises the complete works of Catullus, (c.84-54 BC), 117 poems ranging in scope from the famous two-lined ‘odi et amo’ to the vigorous obscenities of poem 16, when Catullus wrathfully proclaims: “Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo, Aureli pathice et cinaede Furi”. The second presents four books which are attributed to Tibullus (c. 54-19 BC), (probably only the first two are genuine), including elegies to his first love Delia, his patron Messala, the god Priapus, and to his last love, the courtesan ‘Nemesis’. Book three is attributable by internal evidence to the otherwise obscure Lygdamus, while book four, thought to have been completed only in the C16th, begins with a discourse on Messala’s achievements, followed by poems telling of the love of his sister Sulpicia and Cerinthus. The section concludes with a passage about the death of Tibullus, drawn from Ovid.

Section three presents the four books of Propertius (c.50-14BC); the first is a passionate love elegy to ‘Cynthia’, a unique work that documents the affair as it progresses, and which gained Propertius immediate fame as an innovative poet. Further poems to Cynthia with more general musings on love follow, while the third book, marking the end of the affair, diversifies into avarice, death and new friends. Book four explains the origin of various Roman rites and landmarks, and discusses the great sea battle of Actium.

BM STC Fr. 96. Adams C 1142. IA 134.459. Ren. Colines p.226. Schreiber 114.

L854

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CHAUCER, Geoffrey

IMPROVED SECOND EDITION

The Workes of our Ancient and Learned Poet.

London, Adam Islip, 1602.

£8,500

Folio. ff. (xxiv) 376 (xiv). Black letter, some Roman and Italic, double-column. Woodcut initials (some large, foliated), ornaments and head-and tail-pieces throughout. Full page engraved portrait of Chaucer, within armorial genealogical border; title within fine woodcut border, depicting architectual features, grape-vines, allegorical figures (Law and Justice) and putti (McKerrow and Ferguson 232). Large woodcut arms to second t-p. Woodcut illustration of knight with lance, in front of a castle, to Fol. 1. Errata leaf at end. Occasional very minor spot or mark, faint waterstain to lower corner of later gatherings, title-page slightly shaved at foot, repairs or paper flaws to a few blank margins. ‘Edward Holland, Camerton 1874’ on fly. Armorial bookplates of ‘Caleb Scholefield-Mann’ and ‘Lancelot Holland’ to front pastedown. A very good, clean copy in early C19 calf, contrasting niger and tan panels and borders, edges with fillets and dentelles gilt, by T. Aitken (stamp to fly), rebacked, spine gilt in panels, red morocco label, all edges red.

A handsome copy of the second edition of Thomas Speght’s (d. 1621) complete Workes of Chaucer, significantly enlarged and revised from the first edition of 1598. “It is the earliest in which thorough punctuation was attempted, and in many other ways it is a distinct improvement upon Speght’s first edition” (Pforzheimer). Little is known of Speght, other than that he was a schoolmaster. The work is dedicated to Sir Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury (1563 – 1612). An introductory letter by the minor English dramatist Francis Beaumont (1584 – 1616) elegantly defends Chaucer’s eminent literary position, as well as explaining some of the aspects of his work which an early C17 audience might find difficult or distasteful. The principal objections are that “many of his words are become (as it were) vinewed & hoarie with overlong lying; and next, that some of his speeches are somwhat too broad & plaine”. In any case, Beaumont continues, Chaucer is positively genteel in comparison with highly-esteemed Classical Latin poets, such as Catullus and Tibullus, who “in uncleane wantonnnesse beyond measure passe them all”.

As well as texts of Chaucer’s extant works, such as his early translation of The Romaunt of the Rose, his shorter poetical compositions, the more prosaic Treatise on the Astrolabe, and his unfinished masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, this edition contains a wealth of supplementary material, including a biographical essay and a glossary (‘The old and obscure words in Chaucer explaned’). The glossary provides explanations for words which have fallen into disuse, or changed their meanings, with etymological notes on their derivation from Arabic, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Dutch or Anglo-Saxon. ‘Crone’, for example, is glossed as ‘an olde prating woman’ and a ‘costrell’ is a ‘wine pot’. Further glossaries of Latin and French terms follow (‘Cor meum eructavit’ – ‘My heart hath belched out’), along with notes on the Classical and contemporary authors cited by Chaucer (‘Augustine, that famous Doctor and Bishop, wrote more bookes than ever did any in the Church of the Latines’).

STC 5080; Lowndes II, 425; Pforzheimer 178; not in Grolier.

L626

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ARIOSTO, Ludovico


Orlando furioso, tutto ricorretto, et di nuoue figure adornato. Alquale di nuouo sono aggiunte le annotationi di Girolamo Ruscelli, la vita dell’autore, descritta dal signor Giouambattista Pigna.

Venice, appresso Vicenzo Valgrisi, nella bottega d’Erasmo, 1556.

£2,750

FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. 2 parts in one vol. pp. (xxiv), 556, (cxx). Quires T and V inverted. Italic letter. Text in double column. Woodcut architectural title border containing a portrait of Ariosto, angels cherubs etc., and Valgisi’s serpent device, imprint in cartouche in the lower border. “The portrait is a reverse copy of the Giolito medallion portrait introduced in 1542. The model for these laureate portraits is the profile by Titian.” Mortimer. Second title (Ruscelli’s notes) with Valgrisi’s serpent device, repeated on verso of l4, forty six woodcuts within woodcut borders as full page illustrations and an “Argomento” within grotesque woodcut border at the beginning of each canto, fine large historiated initials. First title border fractionally trimmed in lower margin, light age yellowing, the odd mostly marginal ink splash or thumb mark, minor occasional waterstain in upper margins, very occasional minor dust mark in places. A good, crisp, copy with mostly good dark impressions of the woodcuts, in early vellum over boards, rebacked to match with part of original spine laid down, corners and edges worn, a little soiled. a.e.r.

First Valgrisi edition of one of the most important and influential of the illustrated editions of Ariosto of the C16th, and first with the scholarly notes and explanations of Ruscelli; the illustrations were copied and reprinted in many editions throughout the C16th.“Valgrisi’s blocks are the first full page illustrations for Ariosto. He went one step further than Giolito as he had done in his 1552 Boccaccio in an attempt to compete with the Giolito editions. Valgrisi also placed his blocks in the instructive tradition of the Marcolini Dante. The illustration is mentioned on the title page and at the beginning of Ruscelli’s 1556 dedication to Alphonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. Ruscelli expalins to the reader the application of the rules of perspective to the multiple scenes in these cuts. The upper part of the block often becomes a map, offering, as Philip Hofer notes, .. a tour of the canto by hippogryph. Valgrisi’ artist (probably not Dosso Dossi; see Hofer p. 32) often varied from Giolito’s in his choice of the principal scene for illustration and relegated the Giolitos’s subjects to his background. … Valgrisi’s blocks are printed within borders with figures and grotesques. He was able to use the same blocks without borders in an edition of 1556 for the popular market. There are two different border designs for the illustrations and two smaller cherub borders for the “Argumento” to each Canto.”. Mortimer It. vol 1, 29 (1562 edition only, referring to this edition).

These woodblocks were reused in many, many subsequent editions by Valgrisi and his heirs, however the blocks in this first edition were immediately reworked for later editions “small areas of shaded ground were cut away from each block” (Mortimer) making this first edition the only one with the woodcuts as originally intended. They became very used in later reprints and are nothing like as clear and fresh as in this first impression. The great Italian poet Lodovico Ariosto (1474-1533) was in diplomatic and military service before retiring to Ferrara, where he was director of the Este theatre. He was the author of odes, Latin poems, satires, sonnets, and comedies. He first published this work in 1516, which was revised in two further editions the last of which was in 1532. Orlando Furioso became one of the most influential works in Western literature and heavily influenced Spenser’s ‘The Fairie Queene’, which in turn was probably a source for one of the plots in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (Hero/Claudio/Don John). The work was also an influence on Lope de Vega in Spain and Jean de la Fontaine in France. A good copy, uncommon in the first edition, of this beautifully illustrated work.

BM STC It. C16th p 40 Brunet I, 433. Adams A-1668. Mortimer It. vol 1, 29 (1562 edition only, referring to this edition) Gamba 56.

L1333

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OPPIAN

THE CLASSICS’ KNOWLEDGE OF FISH

Alieuticon, sive De Piscibus … Plinii Naturalis Historiae Libri Duo … P. Iovii De Piscibus.

Argentorati [Strasbourg], Jacob Cammerlander, 1534.

£1,850

FIRST EDITION thus. Small 4to. ff. (iv) 152. Roman letter, some marginalia in Greek. Printer’s woodcut device on last (winged and blindfolded Fortune with no feet on a small sphere, holding a shield bearing a shoe and five stars), woodcut initials. Light age-yellowing, one gathering oxidised, occasional light foxing, a few lines crossed out in Giovio’s treatise, a couple of later manuscript annotations, first and last gathering loose, stubs from a splendid Gothic manuscript commentary of the Venerable Bede. A handsome copy in contemporary limp vellum, remains of ties.

Rare first collective edition comprising Laurentius Lippius’ 1478 translation of Oppian’s poem on fishes, together with Pliny’s two books on the same subject (IX and XXXII) from his Natural History, and with Giovio’s treatise on Roman fishes, all edited for the first time by the physician and philosopher Iohannes Caesarius (1460 – 1551). The book opens with a two-page alphabetical list of the fishes mentioned, followed by a short biography of Oppian, dedicated by Lippius to Lorenzo De’ Medici.

Oppian’s ‘Alieuticon’ is a long poem on fishing (c. 3,500 lines), divided into five books dealing with, i.a., mating, breeding, fighting, hooks and nets, etc. Each book has a short introduction by Lippius, who also wrote the twelve pages of ‘Disticha’ (i.e. couplets on various subjects, mostly animals and plants) coming after the ‘Alieuticon.’ Next follow Pliny’s two chapters, the first describing all sorts of aquatic creatures, including Tritons and Nereids, whales and dolphins, salmons, eels, crabs, shells, starfishes etc., the second concentrating on their pharmaceutical use.

Giovio lists and variously describes the fishes known to the Romans, such as sturgeon (the ones in the river Tiber being particularly delicate), grey mullet (to be eaten with oregano to make it more digestible), bream, red mullet (delicious with orange juice), turbot (to be cooked with little salt, leeks and dill), sole, eel, trout, pike, octopus, seafood, and many more. All the descriptions are packed with information and quotations from the classics. Little is known about Oppian, who flourished during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (AD 161 – 180), wrote a poem on hunting (as well as the above-mentioned on fishing), and died at the early age of thirty.

BM STC Ger. C16th p. 662. Adams O202. Graesse V p. 29. Durling 3400. This edition not in Brunet, Dibdin, Schwerdt or Oberlé. Not in Bibliotheca Osleriana, Heirs of Hippocrates, Morton, Wellcome, Bitting or Vicaire.

SNL62

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ONGARO, Antonio

NATURAL SIMPLICITY IN ITALIAN VERSE

L’ Alceo. Favola pescatoria …. Fatta recitare in Ferrara dall’Ill. mo S. Enzo Bentivogli mentre la seconda volta era Principe dell’Accademia degl’Intrepidi. Con gl’Intramezzi del Sig. Cavalier Batista Guarini.

Ferrara, Vitt. Baldini, 1614.

£1,250

FIRST EDITION thus. 4to., ff. 8, pp. 9-40, ff. 41-48, pp. 49-306, (ii). Roman and Italic letter. Title within architectural border with putti and heroic figures at sides, arms of the dedicatee at center, floriated woodcut initials, borders and head and tail pieces, typographical and woodcut ornaments. Feint C18 library stamp on title and second leaf of the ‘Libraria Colonna,’ one of Italy’s greatest families, on pastedown. Light occasional marginal spotting, a very good copy, crisp and clean, in dark blue paper over boards c. 1800, spine gilt in bands, surface tear from upper compartment, all edges yellow.

Excellent edition of Ongaro’s pastoral, ‘L’Alceo,’ with the first edition of Guarini’s intermezzi, effectively the great poet’s last work, with explanatory essays by Arsiccio on the intermezzi and the production of the work in Ferrara in 1613. Little is known about Ongaro, who died very young, shortly after the first publication of this, his only major work. He was in the service of the Farnese at Ferrara where he would have seen the first production of Tasso’s ‘L’Aminta’ in 1572, and which had such an influence on him. Tasso’s success inspired him to write the present work, though instead of using shepherds as the pastoral subject, he chose fishermen.

The work was well received, and although criticised for its use of coarse fishermen’s language, the beauty of its verse was recognised. It was however so closely based on ‘L’Aminta’ that malicious tongues called it the “Aminta bagnato” (the wet Aminta). It was widely published well into the eighteenth century. “If any of our pastoral writers deserve to be compared with Tasso, it was this Ongaro, in my humble opinion, always abating the merit of invention, which nobody can dispute with Tasso.” Baretti, ‘The Italian Library.’

This edition is valuable for its publication of Guarini’s intermezzo and the explanatory essays by Arsiccio, giving valuable insight into the production of plays and musical intermezzo at the turn of the sixteenth century. The producer of the play and the instigator of its publication in this edition, Enzo Bentivogli, describes having produced the work in honor of the arrival of a dignitary in Ferrara. The dignitary did not come, so the work was never performed except at one public rehearsal, which so impressed Bentivogli with its production and the beauty of the musical interludes that he decided that it must be recorded for posterity. He managed to produce the work, at great expense, in 1616.

A most interesting edition, with excellent provenance: from the library of the great and celebrated Italian Family of Colonna, which played an such important role in medieval and renaissance Italy. Their libraries were dispersed throughout the C19th.

BM STC It. page 457. Fontanini 1 p. 484. Gamba 1541, (later edition).

L1061

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NOSTREDAME, Jean

THE POETS OF PROVENCE BY NOSTRADAMUS’ BROTHER

Le Vite delli piu celebri et antichi primi poeti provenzali.

Lyon, Alesandro Marsilii, 1575.

£1,750

FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo., pp. 254 (xviii). Italic letter. Woodcut initials and ornaments. A little, mostly marginal, foxing, including to title page. A very good copy in 19th C calf-backed paper boards, spine gilt, head of spine and one corner a little bumped. 20th C ex-libris inside upper cover.

First edition in Italian. The original French version was published in the same year, and was translated into Italian for this edition by Giovanni Giudici, with many additions and corrections. The second Italian edition was not published until 1722.

Nostredame, or Notredame, was the younger brother of the celebrated astrologer Nostradamus, and a ‘procureur’ to the Parlement of Aix. He was very early drawn to poetry and wrote a large number of songs. He was also a great connoisseur of Provencal poetry and amassed a large collection of books on the subject, from which the present text was compiled.

Nostredame gives a short biography, typically a few pages long, of 76 early Provencal poets, with selected examples of their work. The Troubadours had most influence in Italy, and Nostredame mentions a number of those to whom Dante referred in the ‘Divine Comedy’ – Bertran de Born, Arnaut Daniel, Folquet de Marseille, and Sordello. The work starts with the 12th century poets Jaufre Rudel and Marcabru, and goes on to the golden age of the Troubadours, with such figures as Bernart de Ventadorn and Raimbaut d’Orange, making the work a ‘who’s who of Troubadours,’ writers whose often ephemeral careers are depicted by Nostredame in both the earliest and pre-eminent biographical source.

BM STC Fr., p. 327; Adams N-348; Baudrier II, p. 163; Brunet IV, p. 109; Graesse IV. P. 691; Not in Cantamessa.

L605

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CONTILE, Luca

Le rime di Messer Luca Contile divise in tre parti con discorsi, et argomenti di M. Francesco Patritio, et M. Antonio Borghesi. Con le sei canzoni dette Le sei sorelle di Marte.

Venice, Appresso F. Sansovino, et compagni, 1560.

£1,250

FIRST EDITION 8vo. ff. (iv), 108. Italic letter, some Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on title, historiated woodcut initials, grotesque headpieces, typographical ornaments. Title and verso of last leaf fractionally dusty, small wormtrail to ten leaves just touching a few letters. A good, clean copy in seventeenth century mottled calf, spine with raised bands, gilt in compartments, gilt fleurons at centers, joints and spine somewhat worn. a.e.r.

First edition of these love poems in three parts, in the style of Petrarch, by the renowned playwright, poet, historian, diplomat and polygraph, Luca Contile, with commentary to the first part by Franciscus Patricius and to the second and third by Antonio Borghesi, followed by the second printing of his poem ‘Le sei sorelle di Marte’. Contile was from an Pavian aristocratic family and studied at Siena and Bologna. He was in the service of Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio in Rome from 1527 to 1542, and took an active part in the Roman ‘Accademia della Virtù’ founded by Tolomei with Annibale Caro, Marc Antonio Flaminio and Francesco Molza. He later served Ferrante Gonzaga, governor of Milan, on whose behalf he undertook diplomatic missions in Naples and Poland. From 1552 to 1558 he was employed by the archbishop of Trento, Christoforo Madruzzo, then moved to Venice, where he entered the service of the General Sforza Pallavicini. He was received into the ‘Accademia Veneziana’ and wrote these neo-platonic love poems during his stay in Venice.

Francesco Patrizi (or Frane Petri?) was a Croatian philosopher and scientist and fellow member of the Venetian ‘Accademia’ renowned as a defender of Platonism and an opponent of Aristotelism. His commentary is highly important; he outlines the foundations of his concepts of beauty and love with reflections on Platonic and Neo-Platonic doctrines, the myth of Eros, Ficino’s understanding of love and beauty, and earthly and celestial love, and he defines the phenomenon of love according to its types. Patrizi also analyzes love as a natural, biological phenomenon, and examines its physiology and psychology.

A good copy of this rare work, elegantly printed by Sansovino who typifies the figures who moved in the editorial circles of the period in Venice. He was an author of poetry and prose writings on literature, history and rhetoric, as well as a translator and editor; Sansovino not only compiled, translated, and annotated texts for Venetian printers, but opened his own printing house, publishing around thirty editions of good quality, between 1560-62 and in 1568.

BM STC It. C16 p. 196. Gamba 1333. Fontanini I p. 498. Not in Cicogna or Gay.

L1049

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AUSONIUS, Decius Magnus


Opera.

Venice, In Aedibus Aldi et Andreae Soceri, November 1517.

£3,500

FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. ff. 107 [i]. Italic letter. Aldine device on t-p and last. Very faint occasional waterstains, sm. marginal piece missing from f. 18 (no loss). A very good, crisp copy vellum over bds., C1600.

First and only Aldine edition of Ausonius’ work, edited by Girolamo Avanzi, member of the Aldine Academy. In his dedication to Cardinal Marco Cornaro, Avanzi praises the activity of Torresani. Tutor to Gratian, son of the emperor Valentinian I, Ausonius (c.AD 310-c.393) was successively appointed prefect of several foreign provinces and finally consul in 379. He ‘wrote a great deal of verse in a variety of metres, showing great technical ability. There are over a hundred epigrams, some of which are in Greek. He seems to have written on any theme that presented itself, such as the names of the days and months, or the properties of the number three. He particularly delighted in verse catalogues: the professors of Burdigala [i.e. Bordeaux, his native town], the famous cities of the world, the Twelve Caesars, the Seven Sages. […] His more important and interesting poems are the ‘Ephemeris’ (‘a day’s events’), a description of a normal day in his life, his waking, talking with his servants, and so on; and the ‘Mosella’, a long hexameter poem describing in considerable detail the beauties of the river Moselle and the life that goes on around it.’ [Oxford Companion to Classical Literature], in particular the area’s wines. All are included in this lovely pocket Aldine.

BM STC It. p. 64. Renouard 80:7. Dibdin I p. 345 ‘Copies of this Aldine edition […] are esteemed by the curious’. Adams A 2278. UCLA 137.

L186

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MARTIAL

A UNIVERSAL PORTRAIT OF ROMAN FOIBLES IN VERSE

Epigrammata.

Venice, Aldus et Andreae Soceri, December 1517.

£2,250

8vo. ff. 190 (ii). Italic letter, anchor and dolphin device on title and verso of last, capital spaces with guide letters, C19 armorial bookplate of the Earl of Macclesfield on pastedown, Shirburn Castle blind stamp to head of first two leaves. A very good copy in mid-seventeenth century English calf, covers bordered with a double gilt fillet, spine double gilt ruled in compartments with fleur de lys at corners and central fleurons, title gilt in one compartment, raised bands, all edges speckled red.

Second Aldine edition, a reprint of Aldus’ edition of 1501, with the letter from Pliny the Younger to Cornelius Priscus on verso of title as its only prefatory matter. Martial, certainly a Spaniard and probably a Basque, spent his working life in Rome carefully observing his fellow men and recording them for us in these exquisite vignettes. The Epigrams (Martial’s most important work), are short poems, each expressing pointedly and concisely a single idea, and are generally in the form of a satire.

Martial describes with the most realistic detail the vices of his age. The fortune hunters, gluttons, drunkards, debauchers, hypocrites of various kinds and stingy patrons come to life in his verses, along with the occasional plea for a gift or a loan, thanks given to a faithful friend or honest critic, or a simple hello or farewell. Many offer vivid glimpses of the contemporary Roman scene, the hot sausage vendor on his round, or the tiresome guest who arrives too late for breakfast and too early for lunch.

Beneath the humour, there is the serious intention to expose the frailties of humanity, albeit with more amusement than indignation. Martial himself pleaded that his epigrams were far more serious than most other authors’ tragedies and he was probably right. Perhaps because of allegations of obscenity – but Martial did not invent, he described what he saw – the Epigrammata was relatively neglected in the first century of printing. A very good copy from the extraordinary library of the Earls of Macclesfield. Early editions of Martial are now scarce.

BM. STC. It. p.420. Renouard 81:11. Adams M 694. Brunet III 1490. Censimento 16 CNCE 37562; UCLA 161.

L862

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APOLLONIUS, Rhodius


Interpretatio antiqua, ac perutilis in Apollonij rhodij Argonautica.

Paris, Jacques Bogard for the widow of Conrad Neobar, 1541.

£1,250

8vo. 152 unnumbered leaves, α-τ8. Greek letter. Small woodcut printer’s device on title and verso of last. Capital spaces with guide letters, Chatsworth Library bookplate with shelf mark on pastedown. Light age browning, minor water-staining in places, title and verso of last a little dusty, the odd minor mark or spot, fly almost loose. A good copy, in excellent 18th century tan morocco, covers bordered with triple gilt rule, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, richly gilt in compartments with central gilt fleurons, red morocco label gilt, inner dentelles gilt.

Rare and beautifully printed edition of the Greek text of the Argonautica, printed separately, but simultaneously with a latin translation of the text, also by the widow of Conrad Neobar, finely bound for the library at Chatsworth. Conrad Neobar was appointed royal printer of Greek in 1539 but died barely a year later. He commissioned a new Greek type for the newly appointed Typographia Regia which Garamont is thought to have helped create. He was replaced in his role by Robert Estienne. Apollonius Rhodius was a Greek epic poet and scholar of the Library of Alexandria who flourished in the C3rd BC. He was the author of this celebrated epic describing the journey of the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece, including Jason’s love for and eventual betrayal of Medea. The key episodes of the myth were sourced from older poets such as Hesiod and Pindar. The Argonautica differs in some respects from traditional or Homeric Greek epic, though Apollonius certainly used Homer as a model.

It is shorter than Homer’s epics, with four books, less than a third the length of Homer’s work. Apollonius’ epic also differs from the more traditional in its weaker, more human protagonist Jason and in its many discursions into local custom, the origins of myths, and other popular subjects of Hellenistic poetry. Apollonius also chooses the less shocking versions of some myths, having Medea, for example, merely watch the murder of her brother Apsyrtus instead of murdering him herself. The gods are relatively distant and inactive, following the Hellenistic trend to allegorize and rationalize religion. “The language is that of the conventional epic. Apollonius seems to have carefully studied Homeric glosses, and gives many examples of isolated uses, but his choice of words is by no means limited to Homer. He freely avails himself of Alexandrian words and late uses of Homeric words.

The “Argonautica” was translated by Varro Atacinus, copied by Ovid and Virgil, and minutely studied by Valerius Flaccus in his poem of the same name. Some of his finest passages have been appropriated and improved upon by Virgil by the divine right of superior genius. The subject of love had been treated in the romantic spirit before the time of Apollonius in writings that have perished, for instance, in those of Antimachus of Colophon, but the “Argonautica” is perhaps the first poem still extant in which the expression of this spirit is developed with elaboration. The Medea of Apollonius is the direct precursor of the Dido of Virgil, and it is the pathos and passion of the fourth book of the “Aeneid” that keep alive many a passage of Apollonius.” R.C. Seaton. A finely bound copy from the Duke of Devonshire’s great library at Chatsworth.

BM STC Fr. C16th. p. 20. Brunet I 348 “Édition assez rare et excellente”.

L1519

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