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Silii Italici De bello Punico secundo XVII libri nuper diligentissime castigati.
(Venice), Aldus, (1523) (Colophon at the end: 'Venetiis in aedibus Aldi, et Andreae Asculani soceri, mense Iulio, 1523') 8vo. 210,(2 colophon & printer's mark) leaves. Calf 16 cm (Ref: EDIT16 37706; Renouard p. 98, 1523,6; Schweiger 2,954; Dibdin 2,405; Brunet 5,383; Graesse 6/1,404; Ebert 21225; USTC 56366; Neue Pauly, Suppl. 2 p. 549) (Details: Back with four raised bands. Aldus' woodcut printer's mark on the title, and on the verso of the last leaf. Printed completely in italics) (Condition: Binding scuffed. Joint cracked, but strong. Corners bumped. Bookplate on front pastedown, and a name on the front flyleaf. Old name and small note on the title. 2 1/2 cm of the blank upper margin of the title has been cut off, and replaced by a strip of paper. A few old underlinings in ink in the beginning) (Note: The Roman civil servant and poet Silius Italicus was born ca. 26 A.D. in Italica in Spain. He died ca.101 from self-starvation in his country-house near Naples, because he suffered from an incurable illness. Plinius Minor tells about him, that he 'inedia finisse vitam, causa mortis valetudo. Erat ille natus insanabilis clavus (...).' (Pliny Ep. 3,7,1) In retirement Silius Italicus wrote his Punica, a historical epic in 17 books and more than 12.000 verses, which recount the events of the Second Punic War (218-201 BC). His main source was Livy. The epic begins 'with Hannibal's oath and, except from digressions on Regulus and Anna, proceed in regular order of events to Scipio's triumph after Zama'. In this battle, fought in 202 B.C., Hannibal was finally defeated. His contemporary Pliny Minor found that Silius Italicus showed more diligence than talent in his poetry. 'Scribebat carmina maiore cura quam ingenio'. (Pliny, Ep. 3,7,5) 'His poetry owes most to the Aeneid of Vergil, but adaptations occur from Lucan's Pharsalia and the other epics. (...) His learning, displayed in endless epithets and catalogues, is tiresome; he has too many rhetorical speeches; his language is not really poetic, and accounts of battles are confused and gruesome; but the versification is not monotonous; his similes are clear and lifelike; and short passages show good narrative skill or straightforward description'. (OCD 2nd ed. p. 989) H.J. Rose is less positive, he calls Silius Italicus the most tedious writer of the whole Silver Age of Latin literature. (H.J. Rose, 'A handbook of Latin literature', Londen 1967, p. 391) § This Aldus edition of Silius Italicus was edited by Franciscus Asulanus, but it is in fact a reissue of Philip Junta's edition of 1515, Florence, which was edited 'summa cura' by Ambrosius Nicander. This 1515 edition was soon considered to be rather incorrect. The merit of this Aldus edition of 1523 is however that it prints for the first time 84 verses which were lacking, as Asulanus tells us in the preface, in book 8: 'Itaque multa mutavimus, nonnulla restituimus, & in principio octavi libri quattuor & octuaginta versus, qui in aliis omnibus desiderabantur, inseruimus'. (Leaf a2 recto) ) These lacking verses in book 8 (in modern editions verses 144 to 224) had recently been discovered in France. The Dutch scholar Nicolaas Heinsius and others doubted the genuineness of these verses, but they still figure in modern editions of Silius Italicus. The authenticity is still debated. An informative recent survey of this controversy can be found in the online version of the dissertation of James Stuart McIntyre, 'Written into the landscape, Latin epic and the landmarks of literary reception', Saint Adrews 2008. It is McIntyre's opinion that the style of the lines is credibly Silian) (Provenance: On the title in old ink: 'Rges Andrs', or 'Rqes Andrs'. Above both names was placed a line with 2 small cross stripes. If these stripes are contraction signs, the name might be 'Rodrigues Andres', or 'Rodriques Andres'. However, the name 'Andrs' also exists. The same (?) hand wrote at the bottom of the title: 'de Silio Martialis l. VII p. 99. Perpetui numquam moritura volumina Sili'. This refers to the first verse of epigram 63 of book 7 of Martials epigrams: 'You who read the undying works of immortal Silius,' (Loeb translation of A. Ker) § On the front pastedown an armorial bookplate: 'Chirk Castle, R.E. Myddleton'. The plate is signed by the artist 'W.P.B. 1914'. Chirk Castle was built in 1295 as part of a of King Edward I's chain of fortresses across the north of Wales. The castle was bought by Thomas Myddelton in 1595 for £5,000. The Myddelton family resided there until 2004. (See for this huge castle Wikipedia) The bookplate was made by the graphic artist William Phillips Barrett, 1861-1938. § On the front flyleaf the name 'L. Håkanson'. Lennart Håkanson, 1939-1987, was professor of Latin at the university of Uppsala. He published 'Silius Italicus: kritische und exegetische Bemerkungen', Lund 1976) (Collation: a-z8, A-C8, D4) (Photographs on request)
      [Bookseller: Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta]
Last Found On: 2018-01-07           Check availability:      Biblio    

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