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Punica. Cum commentariis Petri Marsi.
Venice, Bonetus Locatellus for Octavianus Scotus, May 18, 1492. 31 x 20 cm. Flexible vellum, probably from the 17th century. 156 leaves. Watermark cross, snake and oxhead. With introductory letter by Marsus to Virginio Orsini and a Life of Silius Italicus. Text with commentary on each page. With several nice larger woodcut initials and a large woodcut printers mark 'OSM' at the end. 2nd Venetian edition. All edges gilt. With double (old) spine inscription. A bit soiled and worn, title in ballpoint on upper cover. Some text pages browned. Two old inscriptions in brown ink on the first two unprinted leaves, one crossed out, the other reads: 'Vi sono monete di Smirne, che ricordano questo poeto consolare'.l Punica, the largest epic poem that survived from Roman antiquity, was written in dactylic hexameters by poet and politician Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus (about 28-103 AD). In seventeen Books containing more than twelve thousand verse the Second Punic War is painted, from the moment Hannibal Barcas laid siege to Saguntum in 219 BC to the victory of Scipio the Younger at Zama (near Carthage, 202 BC). The epos contains many classical heroic accounts of large battles in Spain, Italy and Carthago, but also praise for Silius' contemporary employers, the emperors Vespasian and Domitian. Silius admired Cicero and Vergil so much that he acquired Cicero's property at Tusculum and set Vergil's birthday above his own. The inscription on the inside upper cover points to a coin occasioned by Silius when he was proconsul in Asia (minted in 77-79) honoring Titus and Domitian as caesars. Petrus Marsus (Pietro Marso, 1442-1512) was a student and close friend of Pomponius Laetus, who also wrote a commentary on Silius Italicus. A masterwork of austere Venetian book art, printed in firm text blocks from an attractive antiqua, awash in a sea of commentary in a harmonic smaller type. Plain title page stating only 'Syllius Italicus. Cum com-/ mentariis Petri Marsi'. Goff S-508. BSB S-386. == Inkunabel, Venedig, 1492.
      [Bookseller: Antiquariaat Fokas Holthuis]
Last Found On: 2017-10-24           Check availability:    


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