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Aurelii Prudentii Clementis, Viri Consularis, rerum divinarum, religionis Christianae, iuris item civilis & militaris peritia excellentis, opera.
Lyon (Lugduni), Apud Ioan. Tornaesium et Guil. Gazeium, 1553. 8vo. 519,(1 blank) p. Contemporary pigskin over wooden boards. 13.5 cm Prudentius hat sich in der lyrischen, in der epischen und in der didaktischen Poesie versucht und allenthalben Grosses geleistet (Bardenhewer) (Ref: Cartier, 'Bibliographie des éditions des De Tournes' no. 258; Graesse 5,467; Ebert 18063) (Details: Contemporary pigskin over wooden boards. Back with 3 raised bands. Boards decorated with a row of blind-tooled rolls, comprising floral motives and 10 portraits in medallions; there are 2 kind of portraits, of 'Iusticia' and of 'Lucrecia'; Iusticia holds what looks like a disk before her face, and Lucrecia stabs herself in the breast with a dagger. If this disk, which is as big as her face, is a mirror, the cutter of the stamp made a mistake, for the usual attributes of Justitia are the sword, scales or blindfold. If this disk represents however a kind of blindfold, to cover her face, he chose an attribute we could not find in any work on iconography. A mirror is rather an attribute of Prudentia. The central panel is adorned with floral motives. On the title the round printer's mark of 'De Tournes': a double ring formed by two vipers, a male and female; the female crushes the head of the male; in the middle a shield with the motto: 'Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris'. (Cartier p. 1,38/39, type Vip. o. Woodcut initials) (Condition: Binding scuffed and soiled, corners bumped. Front hinge cracking, but strong. 3 owner's inscriptions on the title, one of them erased with ink. The vipers of the printer's mark are coloured pale green) (Note: The Roman poet Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, born 348/49, died after 405 A.D., and of Spanish origin, was besides a man of letters also an industrious public servant. He was a fervent Christian, who had not cut himself off from the culture of the ancient world. 'He regarded the pagan literature and art not as things to be rejected but as part of the inheritance into which Christian Rome enters'. ('Prudentius', ed. H.J. Thomson, Cambr. Mass., 2000, vol. 1 p. IX, (Loeb Classical Library)) 'It is as a poet in whom is embodied a reconciliation between the new faith and the old culture, and in whom Christian thought claims rank in the world of letters, that Prudentius is historically important'. (Op. cit. p. X) He 'was a pioneer in the creation of a Christian literature, and has the credit of originating new types of Christian poetry, the literary hymn, the moral allegory, and what has been called the Christian ballad'. (Op. cit. XII) His hymns are odes in which pagan mythology is replaced by stories from the Bible. By the great English scholar Richard Bentley he was described as 'Christianorum Maro et Flaccus'. All we know about him comes from Prudentius himself. For an edition of his work, published in 404 or 405 he wrote a preface of 45 lines of poetry, in which he informs the reader about his carreer and motives to write poetry. Prudentius was much read in the Middle Ages. His influence is also visible in medieval art. More than 300 manuscripts with his work survive. § The 'editio princeps' of Prudentius dates from 1495. This Lyonese edition of 1553 is based on the edition of Basel 1527, edited by the German humanist and classical scholar Johannes Sichardus, 1499-1552. In Basel he lectured from 1525 till 1527 on Cicero, Livius and other Roman classics. In the preface to the Prudentius edition, dated 1527 (and which is repeated in the edition of 1553) Sichardus complains about earlier editions of Prudentius which had suffered from mutilated manuscripts and amateur 'sciolo nescio quo' scholars. He has however managed to restore Prudentius in his original splendour (Pristinio autem nitori restituimus). He did so, not relying solely on his genius, which is a tricky, sometimes even unsound way to emendate (genus emendandi satis lubricum, ne dicam interim pestilens), but with the help of an old manuscript (ex codicibus vetustioribus) which was lend to him by one Vuerinherus Vuoflinus (Wernerus Woflinus?). This manuscript is now held in Bern, 'Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. 264', place of origin: Bodensee (Reichenau/St. Gallen/Konstanz), and written ca. 900. (See for this manuscript, description and history: Near the end of this edition of 1553 we find: 'In Aurelii Prudentii Clementis V.C. Psychomachiam, scholia per Ioannem Sichardum' (10 p.). De Tournes added from another source after this section of scholia: 'Erasmus Roterodamus castissimae puellae Margaretae Roperae s.d.' dated 1523, and the 'Commentarius in hymnum Prudentii, de natalis puero Iesu, per Erasmum Rotertodamum', together 57 p.) (Provenance: Weissensee provenance On the title: 'Erdmann Wilhelm Ferber, Gosecka. Thur.' We found a New Year's message of him, dated 1757, 'Licht in Finsterniss beym Wechsel des Jahres'. He is described on the title as Diakonus, 'und ausserord. Colleg. der Landschule zu Pforta'. In the 'Personal-Codex des Weissensee'r Kreises', Weissensee 1868, p. 1, it is recorded that M(agister?) Erdmann Wilhelm Ferber was 'Pfarrer' and 'Superintendent' in Weissensee, from 1771 till 1799. Goseck lies in Thüringen between Leipzig and Jena. § Below the printer's mark the name of probably the next owner: 'Ern. Andr. Christp. Callenberg'. Ernst Andreas Christoph Callenberg was Rector of the 'Stadtschule' at Weissensee from 1784 till 1822. ('Personal-Codex des Weissensee'r Kreises', Weissensee 1868, p. 6) In the 'Wittenbergsches Wochenblatt zum Aufnehmen der Naturkunde und des ökonomische Gewerbes auf das Jahr 1778, 6 Stück, Freytags, den 13 Februar 1778', on page 48, under the heading 'Gelehrte Nachrichten, Von der Wittenbergschen Universität und Stadt', he is mentioned a member of 'Predigercollegium' of the 'Schloss- und Universitätskirche, with the addition 'aus Thüringen'. In 1775 he signed a 'Album Amicorum' with 'Kallenberg'. There he reveals the place of his birth, 'Gebeser', nowadays Gebesee, a small city north of Erfurt. § On the front pastedown in pencil: '15 sept. 1965', written by the Flemish linguist Walter Couvreur, 1914-1996, who was an Orientalist, and professor of Indoeuropean linguistics at the University of Gent. It indicates the date of aquisition. The place of acquisition he wrote on the flyleaf at the end: 'Leipzig, Zentralantiquariat') (Collation: A - 2I-8, 2K-4) (Photographs on request)
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