([London]: Printed by Order of the Trustees of the British Museum, by Richard Taylor, 1851). 392 x 290 mm. (15 x 11 1/4"). xix, , 129,  pp.Edited by William Cureton. FIRST EDITION.
Original grained cloth, flat spine with gilt titling. Five plates (one printed on both sides) showing manuscript pages. Front flyleaf with signature of "W. Eames" (see below). Lowndes II, 1098; Brunet III, 281; Graesse III, 331. ◆Spine a bit worn, soiled, and scratched, but the binding still quite solid, and an excellent copy internally, very clean and printed within vast margins.
Edited by the distinguished Orientalist William Cureton (1808-64), this is an historical account and a typographic reproduction of Homeric portions of a palimpsest that was discovered by Cureton at a monastery in the Nitrian Desert of Egypt and purchased by the British Museum in 1847. Produced in the late 8th or early 9th century, probably in Baghdad, the palimpsest shows a Syriac text (entitled "Treatise against Grammaticus," by Severus Patriarch of Antioch), written over a somewhat earlier text in Greek, which upon close inspection reveals itself to be segments of books 12-24 of the "Iliad." The ownership signature here of "W. Eames" is very probably that of Wilberforce Eames (1855-1937), the famous librarian (he was a major figure at the New York Public Library), bibliographer (he compiled a significant portion of Sabin's "Dictionary" of Americana), and bibliophile, whose diverse interests included a great love of ancient languages and civilizations. Always an avid collector, he was forced to dispose of a substantial part of his holdings (at sales held at Anderson Galleries between 1905 and 1915), when his Brooklyn residence began to give way under the weight of some 20,000 books. (ST17496-047)