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APOPHTHEGMATVM LIBRI OCTO
Per Hier. Frobenivm et Nic. Episcopivm, Basileae 1538 - 178 x 114 mm (7 x 4 1/2"). 8 p.l., 864 pp., [28] leaves. Pleasing contemporary blindstamped Lyonnaise calf over wooden boards, expertly rebacked to style, covers framed with thick and thin rules and a decorative roll including a tulip, a sunburst, and a Janus face, raised bands, remnants of brass clasps, ENDLEAVES FROM A 12th CENTURY MANUSCRIPT (once serving as pastedowns, now raised up). Printer's device on title and last page. Early ink inscriptions on title; signature of Jacobus Lorfeus[?] on last page. VD 16 E 2038. For the binding: Gid, "Reliures Francaises," I, 365 and II, plate 45, CHf9. Light rubbing to extremities, vague stains and scratches to boards, isolated rust spots and marginal smudges, other trivial imperfections, but a very pleasing copy, the text clean, crisp, and bright, and the carefully restored binding scarcely worn and generally well preserved. First published in 1531, Erasmus' "Apophthegms" culls wise adages from Greek and Roman sages and statesmen, all given in Latin. He begins with a lengthy series of laconic sayings of the Spartans, followed by Greek philosophers, with the Cynic Diogenes (suitably for the taste of the author of "In Praise of Folly") taking up more space than Socrates. Among statesmen, Pericles, Alexander, Cicero, Pompey, and Julius Caesar all find a place, as well as Cato the Elder, Tiberius, and even a handful of Persian kings. The quotes are introduced with historical settings, and Erasmus' performance certainly illustrates the breadth of his learning. According to Gid, our binding was produced by a Lyon atelier. The distinctive roll used to stamp the binding appears identical to that used on the covers of a 1522 printing of Trapezuntius' "Rhetoricum Libri" published, like our Erasmus, in Basel. Gid locates similarly decorated bindings in the municipal libraries of Lyon, Saint-Dié, and Troyes, and in the Arsenal and Sainte-Geneviève libraries in Paris. The pastedowns here are from the second half of the 12th century, perhaps ca. 1160-80, and are probably French; the text is from a Breviary, containing parts of the offices for Good Friday and Holy Saturday. These endleaves and related features of the physical structure of our volume make it a very good tool for the visual exposition of 16th century binding technology: because the manuscript fragments have lifted, the wooden boards in front and back are now exposed, and we can see the horizontal channels (each about 20 mm. long) containing the ends of the rawhide cords upon which the book's signatures have been sewn. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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