[OPERA]. [bound with] ALCIONIO, PIETRO. LEGATUS DE EXSILIO.

(Venice: Aldus, 1534; 1522). 206 x 133 mm. (8 1/8 x 5 1/4"). 12 p.l., 260 leaves; [70] leaves (including blank e7 and e8). Two separately published works in one volume. Only Aldine Edition of the first work; FIRST PRINTING of the second work.

Pleasing late 17th or early 18th century English polished calf, "D 6" written in ink on upper cover, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments (one featuring a bishop's coat of arms with the motto "Veritas Vincit" ["Truth conquers"], the others with floral lozenge centerpiece and volute cornerpieces), tan morocco label, red sprinkled edges (very expert repair to small portion of the top of spine). Printer's anchor and dolphin device on title and last page of each work. First work: Renouard, pp. 112-13; Ahmanson-Murphy 239; Dibdin, p. 450. Second work: Renouard, p. 95; Ahmanson-Murphy 187. A couple of small abrasions to boards, minor wear to joints, but the binding entirely solid, the leather lustrous, and the volume showing little use externally. Four leaves with short, faint dampstain to tail margin, second work with very light soiling to title and last page, other trivial imperfections, but AN ESPECIALLY FINE COPY, the text exceptionally clean, fresh, bright, and smooth.

This is a remarkably well-preserved copy of a volume containing the most accurate available edition of a classic history of Rome and a Renaissance dialogue so Ciceronian in style that the author was suspected of copying it from the great orator. The first work here, the "Annals" of Tacitus (ca. 55 - ca. 117), is the famous account of the history of Imperial Rome, describing the deeds and misdeeds of the Julio-Claudian dynasty from 14-68 A.D. It was the outstanding work of the great Roman historian, a star of the Silver Age of Latin literature known for his concise prose and penetrating psychological insights into politics. This, the only Aldine edition, is a reprint of Froben's 1533 edition compiled by Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547) from the Beroaldus edition of 1515, with (as Dibdin noted) "many errors of that editor . . . corrected." Dibdin and Renouard both observe that our edition is much sought after and fetches a far higher price than the Froben version. It includes three other works: (1) a short piece on the Germanic peoples, an ethnologically important work that favorably contrasts their crude virility with the corruption of Rome; (2) a biography of Agricola, governor of Britain under Domitian (and Tacitus' father-in-law), considered one of the outstanding biographies of ancient literature and a very valuable record of part of the early history of the British Isles; and (3) a concluding dialogue on oratory, contrasting unfavorably the speeches given in Tacitus' own day under the watchful eyes of an emperor with the great harangues of Cicero's late Republican era. Bound in the present volume with the Aldine Tacitus and appearing in print here for the first time, "Legatus" is a dialogue in praise of exile by Venetian humanist Pietro Alcionio (ca. 1487-1527), professor of Greek at Florence and later installed by Clement VII in the chair at Rome. The accusation that he had plagiarized Cicero was not finally refuted until the 18th century, and it left a lasting stain on Alcionio's reputation. An important editor of Aristotle, Alcionio had worked as a proofreader and translator for printer Aldus Manutius, and the man who denounced him was Aldus' son, Paulus Manutius, a Cicero scholar with an intense personal dislike for Alcionio. Both of these editions are uncommonly seen, and one could scarcely hope to find a copy of either of these works in brighter, fresher condition than what is seen here.
(ST12444)