(Helmaestadi [Helmstedt]: Georg-Wolfgangi Hammii, 1686). 198 x 152 mm. (7 3/4 x 6"). 36 p.l., 328,  pp.Edited and with extensive commentary by Hermann Conring. A New Edition.
CONTEMPORARY BLIND-STAMPED PIGSKIN WITH THE ARMS OF THE ARCHBISHOP-ELECTOR OF MAINZ, covers with drawer-handle border, central mandorla with the prince-bishop's coat of arms imposed over a crossed sword and bishop's crozier on upper cover; that on lower cover with his monogram, arms of Ingelheim, Sturmfeder, and two other dioceses in corners, raised bands, ink titling to spine. Front pastedown with 18th century engraved armorial bookplates of a church dignitary. VD17 1: 002017. Light soiling to binding, about a dozen quires somewhat browned (due to paper quality), intermittent mild foxing or offsetting in text bed, but a very good copy, generally clean and fresh internally, in an especially clean and well-preserved binding with stamps in high relief.
This is the first combined edition of German polymath Hermann Conring's Latin translation of "The Prince" and his critical commentary on the text, in a binding made for Anselm Franz von Ingelheim (1634-95), prince-bishop of Mainz and an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. In this classic that has forever linked his name to successful, if amoral, manipulation, Machiavelli (1469-1527) eschews imagining the ideal state--that had been done before--and instead offers a practical recipe for success for the would-be ruler of a Renaissance principality. The prince must talk of religion, loyalty, and generosity, but be prepared to betray his allies before they turn on him, and balance the budget rather than lavish presents on favorites. Drawing on examples of success and failure both from antiquity and his contemporaries, Machiavelli praises that notorious miser Ferdinand of Aragon, and has great admiration for the ruthless Cesare Borgia. The final pages show Machiavelli's deeper purpose, as he appeals to the Medici family, which had acquired control of both Florence and Rome with the election of a Medici pope, to unite Italy and drive out the Spanish and French invaders. A true Renaissance man considered the father of German legal history, Conring (1606-81) from 1632 held professorships at Helmstedt University in natural philosophy and rhetoric, medicine, and political science. He translated "The Prince" into Latin from the original Italian in 1660, and in 1661 published his "Animadversiones," an argument against Machiavelli's reliance on a monarch as the sole source of stability or instability in the government. The German official for whom this copy was bound likely found it very helpful in navigating the political turmoil of his day, as Louis XIV of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I contested for dominance in Europe. In terms of content, condition of the attractive binding, and provenance, this is an especially appealing volume. (ST14855)
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PJP Catalog: BOS19BF.046