DIVINARVM INSTITVTIONVM LIBRI SEPTEM. [and] TERTULLIANUS, QUINTUS SEPTIMUS FLORENS. LIBER APOLOGETICVS [ADVERSVS GENTES] CUM INDICE

(Venice: In Aedibvs Haeredvm Aldi, et Andreae Soceri, 1535). 165 x 98 mm. (6 1/2 x 3 7/8"). 16 p.l., 328, [12] leaves (last two blank); 47, [45] leaves. Edited by Onorato Fascitello. Second Aldine Edition.

ELEGANT 18TH CENTURY RED STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, GILT, BY BOZERIAN JEUNE (stamp-signed at foot of spine), covers framed by mirrored-tulip roll, daisies at corners, smooth spine in compartments with branches of ivy radiating from a central anular dot, all on the signature Bozerian mille-point background, turn-ins with Greek key roll, marbled endpapers, vellum flyleaf at front and back, all edges gilt. Woodcut Aldine device on title page and verso of last leaf. Four leaves with traces of old ink annotations. Ahmanson-Murphy 243; Renouard 113:2; Kallendorf 254; Adams L-22; Brunet III, 736. Spine perhaps slightly darkened (though difficult to tell because of the abundance of gilt hiding most of the leather), a hint of rubbing to extremities, perhaps pressed (though apparently not washed) at time of binding, but all of these just trivial imperfections; A VERY FINE COPY--clean, bright, and fresh, in an especially attractive binding that shows very little use.

Beautifully bound by one of the great French binders of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this is a lovely copy of the Aldine edition of Lactantius and Tertullian, two of the ablest defenders of the faith in the early centuries of Christianity. Lactantius (ca. 260-340), a teacher of rhetoric with an elegant flow of words (whence perhaps his name, "Milky," derives), was converted late in life to Christianity. His "Divine Institutions" presents the new religion as the most logical of creeds, drawing on the arguments of Stoic philosophy and aimed at an audience of educated pagans. The work was written during the Great Persecution, but references added by Lactantius to Constantine indicate that he lived to see the legalization of Christianity. Our volume also contains several shorter works by (or said to be by) Lactantius: "De Ira Dei," on the anger of God, a refutation of Epicureanism; "De Opificio Dei," on the handiwork of God, concentrating on the marvels of the human body and soul; and a poem, "Phoenix," describing the mythical bird, a work falsely attributed to our theologian. Lactantius was much admired in the Renaissance for his style, and he was one of the earliest authors to be printed, first appearing in an edition issued by Sweynheym and Pannartz in 1465. Our Aldine edition also includes the "Apology" of Tertullian (b. 150), the North African lawyer turned Christian defender, one of the earliest explanations of Christian belief and practice, containing valuable information on the simple ceremonies and organization of the primitive church. The Aldine press first published an edition of Lactantius and Tertullian in 1515, but Renouard says that our second edition is much improved because the text here has been revised by the editor Fascitelli after examining several manuscripts in the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. François Bozerian, generally called Bozerian jeune, was active in Paris from just after the turn of the century until 1818, and for much of that time, he worked with his elder brother Jean-Claude (1762-1840). The Bozerian workshops produced many fine bindings for clients that included the emperor Napoleon I, as well as leading bibliophiles of the day.
(ST18237)

Price: $4,800.00