(Basileae: apud Ioannem Hervagium, 1559). 333 x 216 mm. (13 1/8 x 8 1/2"). 8 p.l., 3096 columns [misnumbered; actually 2192 columns, or 1096 pp.], [6] leaves.

Contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over substantial bevelled wooden boards, covers with concentric frames formed by thick and thin rules and three decorative rolls, one featuring sheaves of grain, one with medallions and foliage, and one with four portraits (the Madonna and Child, David, Isaiah, and Paul), the latter signed with the initials "MB" and dated 1553; raised bands, ink titling on spine, lower third of spine painted red with library shelf location in black, remnants of two clasps. With printer's device on title page and in colophon, and with historiated woodcut initial. Front pastedown with ink inscription "Approbatus ['Approved by censor'] / 1578"; title page and introduction with printer's name and editor's name scratched out in ink, presumably by the censor (the obliterated words helpfully written in by a subsequent user); title page with ink ownership inscription of the Jesuit College in Innsbruck, dated 1563. Not in Adams or Schweiger. For the binding: Haebler I, 60. ◆Thin eight-inch crack to the middle of front joint, general rubbing and a few scratches to boards and extremities (wood exposed at corners), leaves a shade less than bright, with occasional minor tears, browning, stains, or foxing, but still an excellent copy, the text generally quite clean and fresh, and the pleasing contemporary binding with no fatal defect.

First published in 1535 under the title "Observationes in Ciceronem" and appearing in its present form in 1548, this massive work of erudition doesn't function like a modern thesaurus to find alternatives to pedestrian words or to help avoid repetition, but rather as a dictionary of words used by Cicero in his works. "Iuba," for example, might stump some scholars, but Nizzoli is standing by to tell us (in Latin, of course) that "iuba" is the hair that hangs from the necks of horses. Then, after the definition (as in the case of all the other words), Nizzoli quotes phrases from different works of Cicero in which "iuba" appears. To create such a work required an extraordinary effort, and the title page tells us that the augmenting of it by a fourth part was itself a Herculean labor. Like his beloved Cicero, Mario Nizzoli (1498-1566) was a humanist philosopher, and went so far as to denounce Saint Thomas Aquinas and other scholastics for their "monstrous ideas and barbarous [and of course un-Ciceronian] language." The names of our printer Johan Herwagen and our editor, the Italian Protestant theologian Celio Secondo Curio (1503-69), have been blacked out by the censor, perhaps a Jesuit displeased with their Protestant affiliations. Haebler suggests that our binder, "M.B.," is from Wittenberg, although he hesitates to identify him as the Wittenberger Matthias Bethinichen.

Price: $2,500.00