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Historie of Twelve Caesars, Emperours of Rome - SUETONIUS HOLLAND Philemon - 1606. 
1606 - SUETONIUS. The Historie of Twelve Caesars, Emperors of Rome: Written in Latine by C. Suetonius Tranquillus, and newly translated into English by Philemon Holland. London: Matthew Lownes, 1606. Small folio in sixes (measures 8 by 11 inches), contemporary full limp vellum, ink manuscript title to spine, yapp edges, vellum ties. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $16,000.First edition in English of Suetonius' dramatic biographies of the Caesars, the important Holland translation. An excellent copy in contemporary vellum binding."De Vita Caesarum, from Julius Caesar to Domitian, is largely responsible for that vivid picture of Roman society and its leaders, morally and politically decadent, that dominated historical thought until modified in modern times by the discovery of nonliterary evidence. The biographies are organized by topics: the emperor's family background, career before accession, public actions, private life, appearance, personality and death". The earlier lives down to Nero, especially those of Julius Caesar and Octavius Caesar, are much the fullest, perhaps because as an antiquarian Suetonius was drawn to the documentary byways of an earlier age". [it is] exciting reading" (Britannica). "Classical 'lives' became prototypes for later writings about individuals. A rival for Plutarch was Suetonius (flourished A.D. 112-121), whose Lives of the Caesars overflowed with anecdotes of lust, violence, and idiosyncrasy" (Boorstin, The Creators, 586). Holland was considered the "translator general in his age". while the plague raged at Coventry [where Holland lived] in 1605-06, Holland translated Suetonius' Historie of Twelve Caesars" (DNB). The work was Robert Graves' primary inspiration for his novel I, Claudius (1934). With woodcut initials and elaborate woodcut chapter headpieces incorporating medallion portraits. Without first and final blanks. STC 23423, with Holland's name on the letterpress title page. Brueggemann, 703. Moss II:636. Harris, 145. Palmer, 100. Early owner signature on title page.Text quite clean, one tie partial. An extraordinary copy in original vellum. [Attributes: First Edition]
[Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
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