(Rome: Eucharius Silber, 1494; Bologna: Bazalerius de Bazaleriis, 1493). 225 x 155 mm. (8 3/4 x 6").  leaves, single column, 40 lines in roman type;  leaves, single column, 38 lines in roman type. Two separately published works bound in one volume. The first work edited by Johannes Sulpitius Verulanus; Herodianus translated into Latin by Angelus Politianus. FIRST EDITION of the first work.
Excellent contemporary calf-backed wooden boards, contemporary ink titling on upper board, leather on boards tooled with vine of rosettes, raised bands, original brass and leather clasps. In a new cloth clamshell box. First work with decorative woodcut initials throughout and several typographical diagrams of troop formations in the text. Front pastedown with book label of Kenneth Rapoport; title page of first work with two heraldic shields drawn in red ink by an early hand, final page with outline drawing of one of the eschutcheons. Goff S-344; BMC IV, 116; Goff H-87; BMC VI, 834. Half-inch chip from head of spine, small chip from tail, light dampstain to leather, other minor external imperfections, but the original binding quite solid and generally very pleasing. Minor worming to pastedowns, to margins of first three leaves, and to last two leaves (affecting a half dozen words in all), four gatherings with unobtrusive small brown stains at gutter, titles faintly dusty, other trivial imperfections, but A VERY FINE, EXTREMELY FRESH COPY, the contents quite clean and crisp, with deep impressions of the type.
Offered in an unrestored contemporary binding of considerable appeal, this is the first printing of a famous collection of works on the Roman military system and methods, usually listed under "Vegetius," the 4th century imperial bureaucrat whose "De re Militari" is the chief treatise in the group. The text also includes the "Strategemata" of Sextus Julius Frontinus (30-104 A.D.), Roman magistrate and governor of Britain from 74-78; "De Instruendis," a work on tactics by Aelianus (2nd century A.D. Greek); the "De Vocabulis rei Militaris" of Julius Modestus, a Roman grammarian in the time of Augustus; and "De Optimo Imperatore," the Latin translation of "Strategikos," a comprehensive guide to being a good general by the Greek Platonic philosopher Onosander (1st century A.D.). This collection was bound by the original owner of our volume with the third edition of a Roman history by the Greek historian Herodian of Antioch (ca. 170-240). Written about events during the author's own lifetime, this colorful history in eight books covers the period from the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 to the beginning of the reign of Gordianus III in 238. The author apparently used Thucydides to some extent as a model, both in the outline of the work and in its style, which Photius compliments as being "clear, vigorous, and agreeable." Our edition comprises the first printing of the graceful and fluent Latin translation of the text done by the preeminent 15th century Italian classicist and poet Angelo Poliziano (1454-94). Roman printer Eucharius Silber was a clerk from Würzburg who set up his press in the sunnier clime of Italy in 1480, and continued printing there until his death in 1509, when he was succeeded by his son Marcellus. He surpassed his most immediate rival and fellow émigré Stephan Planck in both quality and quantity of work, producing around 200 incunabula, some of them running to editions as large as 1,500 copies. He specialized in large octavo copies of Latin classics, typified by the present item. Bazalerius de Bazaleriis began printing in Bologna in 1480, moved briefly to Reggio (1488-89), came back to Bologna and printed there until 1495, and finally removed permanently to Reggio. The Herodianus is one of a number of works he reprinted, apparently by agreement, after the editions of Plato de Benedictis. (ST12535)
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PJP Catalog: NY21BF.048