A New 18th Century Italian Translation of Terence, with More than 220 Original Engravings


(Urbino: Hieronymi Mainardi, 1736). 397 x 265 mm. (15 1/2 x 10 1/2"). XXIV, 324 pp. Translated by Niccolò Forteguerri. First Edition of the First Italian Verse Translation.

Modern quarter calf over boards that are covered with printed leaves from an earlier edition of Terence. Title page with the engraved arms of August III of Poland and Saxony and WITH A SERIES OF NEW ENGRAVINGS done directly from the drawings in Vatican MS 3868, and not copied from other illustrations: SIX FULL-PAGE AND 152 HALF-PAGE ENGRAVINGS by Giovanni Battista Sintes, AND 74 LARGE ORNAMENTAL TAILPIECES by Francesco Faraone Aquila after Pier Leone Ghezzi, with six others by Domenico Muratori. Italian text printed in parallel columns with the Latin. Foot of title page with perforated library stamp of Amherst College.
Gamba 2165 ("magnifica edizione"); Brunet V, 723 ("belle édition"). ◆Minor foxing to first and last two leaves, mild offsetting from engravings, otherwise very fine, with only trivial imperfections--the text clean and fresh, with excellent impressions of the engravings, and in a new, pleasant binding.

Although its title page is entirely in Latin, this is a very appealing copy of a new Italian translation of Terence praised by bibliographers for its beauty. The second century B.C. playwright Terence is believed to have been a native of North Africa who was enslaved during the Punic Wars and then brought to Rome, where he was given his freedom and joined the cultivated circle of Scipio the Younger. His six extant plays, the ancestors of drawing room and modern situation comedies, feature crusty fathers, rebellious sons, and smart-aleck slaves whose machinations solve the playwright's intricate complications of plot. The plays were popular throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and still retain their appeal. The present version of the comedies is a translation into Italian by Niccolò Forteguerri (1674-1735), whose own verse was noted for its satiric wit. The copious copper-engraved illustrations by Sintes (ca. 1680 - ca. 1760) that depict the plays' characters and Roman theatrical masks were drawn directly from the illuminations in the ninth century Vatican Terence manuscript, also known as Codex Vaticanus Latinus 3868, which art historians believe was modelled on a third century work. The elaborate tailpieces after Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674-1755) add a touch of Rococo elegance to these antiquarian images. This edition is not terribly rare, but copies this fresh and bright internally are hard to find.

Price: $1,500.00