(Florentiae [Florence]: Typis Mannianis, 1741). 260 x 175 mm. (10 1/8 x 6 7/8"). 2 p.l., xxxv, , 459 pp. With the half title. FIRST EDITION.
RICHLY GILT CONTEMPORARY SLATE BLUE MOROCCO with wide filigree frames formed by multiple decorative rolls, floral centerpiece composed of small tools, raised bands, gilt compartments with fleuron centerpiece surrounded by small tools, curling cornerpieces, one compartment with date "1743," another with gilt titling, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers. Engraved title, medallion portrait on printed title, historiated engraved headpiece and initial, engraved typographic specimen in the text, decorative tailpiece. Printed in red and black. Front pastedown with book label of Gulielmi [William] O'Brien and library label of Milltown Park Jesuit Library; title page with the library's ink stamp. Forbes Collection, p. 9; Updike I, 171; Dibdin II, 551; Schweiger II, 1174; Brunet V, 1291; Graesse VII, 341. Tiny chip to head of front joint, extremities a little rubbed, the boards with variable fading, but the once-splendid binding solid and still glittering with gilt. Isolated minor marginal smudges or stains, but A VERY FINE COPY INTERNALLY, clean, crisp, and quite bright, with deep impressions of the type.
This is Joseph Manni's intriguing attempt to give an exact textual and a convincing paleographical replication of the most important and complete ancient manuscript of Virgil, the famous "Codex Mediceus" in the Laurentian Library in Florence. As such, it is the first typographic facsimile of any manuscript, and qualifies as an important event in the history of printing. The manuscript is written in rustic capitals, which are imitated with some success in this typographic facsimile by a specially fabricated font of type; marginal and interlinear corrections are also included. The "Codex Mediceus" is of particular importance because it is complete except for the first part of the "Eclogues" (which are supplied here from another source) and because it is one of the few more or less precisely dated Latin literary manuscripts: a note in it says it was reviewed or corrected by Tucius Rufius Apronianus Asterius, who was one of the consuls in 494. This book is seldom found, as here, in an appealing contemporaneous binding. (ST15175)