(Lyon: Jean de Tournes, 1554). 171 x 108 mm. (6 3/4 x 4 1/4"). 340,  pp. Two (continuously paginated) parts in one volume. Translated from the Latin by Damiano Maraffi. First Edition with these Illustrations; First Edition in Italian.
Late 18th or early 19th century citron crushed morocco, cover with twining floral border, flat spine divided into panels by pentaglyph and metope rolls, these panels with gilt sunburst centerpiece, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With ornate frame on title page, portrait of the translator, and 44 often dramatic woodcuts by Bernard Salomon ("Le Petit Bernard"). Cartier 281; Mortimer 388. ◆Spine uniformly darkened, covers with variation in color, title page a little soiled and with small repaired tears (a2 similarly repaired), leaves with overall faint browning, other trivial imperfections, but the text fresh and clean, and the binding showing almost no wear.
This is a rare and important edition of the fourth century writer Julius Obsequens (as well as two related works); it comprises intriguing accounts of 132 unnatural events and creatures recorded between 249 and 12 B.C., including storms, meteors, earthquakes, conflagrations, and various kinds of monsters, all intended to show miraculous manifestations of divine power and to be solemn warnings of coming events. Obsequens first appeared in an Aldine edition of 1508; then, in a 1552 Oporinus edition, the text was expanded by Conrad Lycosthenes, who had fashioned a substitute for the lost portion of Obsequens, based on Livy, Dionysus of Halicarnassus, Eutropius, and Orosius. De Tournes first issued the work (in Latin) in 1553, and the present Italian translation is his first edition with illustrations, which, of course, represent the volumes' chief appeal. Artist Bernard Salomon (fl. 1540-61) was de Tournes' chief designer, and his highly praised biblical woodcuts (among other productions), influenced several artists of the period. The second work here, by Polydore Vergil, is a refutation of the "science" of divination, first printed in Basel in 1531. A third work here (by Camerarius and not mentioned on the title page), is a dialogue mostly about comets and what their appearance signifies; it was published originally in 1532. The text here is set in a very appealing italic font, and Cartier praises our little book as a "très jolie volume imprimé en italiques." (ST12274b)