(Basileae [Basel]: Johannes Herwagen, 1535). 305 x 208 mm. (12 x 8"). , 334,  pp.Edited by Joachim Camerarius.
IN A CONVINCING 19TH-CENTURY REPLICA BINDING OF OLIVE BROWN MOROCCO, INTRICATELY GILT IN THE FANFARE STYLE and with the arms of Henry IV, covers with interlacing strapwork forming geometric compartments filled with gilt foliage and flowers, this enclosed by a frame of gilt rules and decorative floral roll, large oval at center within a wreath of flowers with arms of Henry IV on a background semé with gilt dots, flat spine framed by gilt floral roll and semé with fleurs-de-lys, all edges gilt and gauffered at corners. Title page and final page with printer's devices, decorative woodcut initials, eight in-text diagrams, and one woodcut map. Adams M-64; Dibdin II, 220; VD16 ZV 20513; USTC 674641. Joints somewhat rubbed (but the binding rock solid, and the wear adding to the authentically antique feel of the volume), minor traces of use elsewhere, very occasional foxing, a handful of trivial stains, other insignificant imperfections, but a fine copy, the text clean and fresh, the binding bright with its elaborate gilt.
Dibdin says that the two major works of Macrobius, first printed by Nicholas Jenson in 1472, are made "intrinsically valuable" here by the editing of Joachim Camerarius, and our copy was made especially attractive by the 19th century artisan who created a very convincing retrospective binding in the fanfare style popular in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Macrobius (fl. 400) was a chief source of Platonism in early Medieval Europe. His commentary on Cicero's "Somnium" (which occupies the first part of this volume), and his most important work, the "Saturnalia" (in the form of a discussion among celebrants at the holiday Saturnalia, in the second part of the book) contain a variety of curious historical, mythological, critical, and grammatical disquisitions, and they give us a valuable picture of knowledge of the time in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and geography. The second work also has particular value because it quotes a variety of earlier authors, some of whom are no longer accessible in extant works of their own. Dibdin praises the work of Camerarius (1500-74), the erudite German Classicist, for increasing the accuracy of this printing. The world map on page 78, first printed in a 1482 edition, has evolved considerably from the five-zone maps that appeared in Medieval manuscripts of Macrobius. Those depicted the five climate zones of Earth, with three habitable regions of temperate or tropical climes between extreme cold zones above and below. Our map shows a small Europe, and a very large Africa and Asia in the "Alveus Oceani," with a "Frigida" land mass attached to Africa below the tropic of Capricorn. This attempt to show a more geographically accurate representation of the known world may be attributed to the voyages then being undertaken by European explorers. Our binding's fanfare style of decoration was popular in France in the second half of the 16th century. Its main features, in Glaister's words, "are interlacing ribbons" that form "compartments of various shapes, with emphasis given to a central compartment. This interlacing ribbon is bounded by a double line on one side and a single one on the other." Ornaments made with small hand tools "fill all the compartments except the central one and almost completely cover the sides." The fanfare style is perhaps most frequently associated with the work of Nicolas and Clovis Eve, court binders and booksellers to successive kings of France from about 1578 to 1634. It is generally believed that the term "fanfare" actually took its name from an early 17th century music book (the title of which begins with the word "fanfare") acquired by the bibliophile Charles Nodier in 1829. The book was bound for Nodier by the famous Parisian binder Joseph Thouvenin, using an appropriately retrospective design in imitation of the Eves' style, which from that point forward came to be known as "fanfare." Our binding is unsigned, but was likely executed by a French atelier. Thouvenin, Gruel, and other Parisian binders of the 19th and early 20th centuries used the fanfare style, especially when rebinding 16th and 17th century books. The quality of execution and fidelity to the period design clearly reflect the work of a binder with outstanding skill. (ST17952)
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PJP Catalog: 81.148