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First issue of one of the first and most important books printed by Aldus Manutius,
with first editions of Greek texts by Theocritus, Hesiod and others

THEOCRITUS, HESIOD, and others.
[Indication of contents in Greek followed by Latin:] Haec insunt in hoc libro. Theocriti Eclogae triginta. Genus Theocriti & De inventione bucolicorum. Catonis Romani sententiae paraeneticae Distichi. Sententiae septem sapientum. De invidia. Theognidis megarensis siculi sententiae Elegiacae. Sententiae monostichi per capita ex variis poetis. Aurea carmina Pythagorae. Phocylidae Poema admonitorium. Carmina Sibyllae erythraeae De Christo Jesu domino n[ost]ro. Differentia vocis. Hesiodi Theogonia. Eiusdem Scutum Herculis. Eiusdem Georgicon libri duo.
Venice, Aldus Manutius, February "1495" [=1496]. Folio. With 8 fine woodcut headpieces (2 by the famous Poliphilus master) plus 29 repeats, and 23 woodcut outline interlaced initials (3 series: 3-line, 5-line and 7-line) plus 16 repeats. Modern red morocco, gold- and blind-blocked.
€ 39,500
Rare first issue of the first and only edition of a collection of Greek works, many of the individual works appearing here in their first editions: one of the first books produced by the famous printer-publisher Aldus Manutius, published less than a year after his first book. In fact Aldus printed only one complete book before the present edition though he also issued the first parts of two others (all in Greek), and published Bembo's Latin De Aetna in the same month.
The first editions in the present collection include 12 of the Ecloques of Theocritus, Hesiod's Theogonia (or De generatione deorum) and selections from the Greek gnomic poets. It is the most interesting of all Aldine Greek editions, containing a wide variety of linguistic forms and packed with mythological or moralizing passages, and as such highly interesting for the history of education and of humanism in general and the beginning of the study of Greek language and literature in particular. There are two issues of the present edition, and the present first issue is the rarer.
With armorial bookplate on the last leaf, below the colophon. In very good condition and with large margins, with the first 2 and last 2 leaves somewhat foxed, a few leaves with small marginal worm holes along the foot edge or very faint marginal water stains, none approaching the text. One of the most important books, and nearly the first, printed by Aldus Manutius, in the rare first issue.
Essling 888; Hoffmann III, 473-474; IDL 4302; IGI 9497; Renouard, p. 1495, no. 3 ("éd. très rare"); Sander 7235; UCLA 7.
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Related Subjects:

Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Early Printing, 15th & 16th Century
History, law & philosophy  >  Archaeology & Classical Antiquity
Literature & linguistics  >  Greek & Roman Classics