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Fine Books, Western Manuscripts & Works on Paper

Wednesday 25th January 2017: 1:00pm GMT

Zenobius

Lot 4

Zenobius. Epitome proverbiorum Tarrhaei et Didymi [graece], Florence, [possibly Bartolomeo de' Libri for] Filippo Giunta, [after 23 September] 1497.

 

Hammer Price: £15,000

Full Lot Details

Zenobius. Epitome proverbiorum Tarrhaei et Didymi [graece], collation: [π]4, α-θ8 (lacking blanks π1 and θ lacking, as in many recorded copies, quires δ and ζ and three bifolia in quires α and β misbound), 66 of [68] leaves, text in single column, 26-29 lines, type: 3:114G (dedicatory epistle on fols. [π]2r-[π]3r, Latin colophon on fol. θ7v), 4:121Gk (text), blank spaces for capitals, overall a fine copy, carefully washed and pressed, upper and lower corners of fol. [π]2 restored and renewed, likewise upper corners of fol. π3, β4, β5, without loss, outer blank margins of fols. β4 and β5 somewhat frayed, upper blank margins of fol. θ7 restored, on verso a few letters of Latin colophon faded, bibliographical notes on recto of rear marbled flyleaf, early 19th-century grained crimson morocco, probably executed by the London binder C. Smith, covers framed within double gilt fillet, spine with five small raised bands, slightly discoloured, title and imprint in gilt in second and third compartments, comb-marbled endpapers, cover edges decοrated with narrow frieze, inner dentelles, green silk bookmark, gilt edges, red morocco-backed cloth box, Chancery 4to, 209 x 136mm., Florence, [possibly Bartolomeo de' Libri for] Filippo Giunta, [after 23 Sptember], 1497.

The very rare editio princeps of this collection of proverbs assembled, primarily from the previous epitomes by Lucillus of Tarrha and Didymus, by the sophist Zenobios, who lived in Rome during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It is the first book produced by the Florentine printing house of Filippo Giunta, the co-founder of the well-known family publishing dynasty. The Giuntas, active in Florence as well as in Venice, became the most important publishers in Greek after Aldus Manutius. Zenobius' Epitome proverbiorum was possibly printed for Giunta by Bartolomeo de' Libri. In effect, the book was printed with the identical Greek type, originally designed by Demetrios Damilas for the Milanese printer Dionysius Paravisinus, used by Bartolomeo in the Florentine Homer of 1488.

The text was edited by the renowned humanist Benedetto Riccardini, called the Philologus, who appended a prefatory epistle to the Florentine canon Giorgio Dati. BMC assigns the printing of the book to Riccardini, but the humanist, corrector at Giunta's shop until 1507, was actually the editor of the text.

The copy here has a very distinguished provenance. Over the centuries it came into the possession of two of the greatest Greek book collectors: Richard Heber and later Beriah Botfield, who included a Latin translation of Riccardini's epistle in his Prefaces to the First Editions of the Greek and Roman Classics and of the Sacred Scriptures (London 1861, pp. 213-214).

Provenance: Richard Heber (1773-1833; small stamp 'Bibliotheca Heberiana' on recto of front flyleaf; see his sale, Sotheby, April 10, 1834, I, lot 7405, "Zenobii Epitome proverbiorum [...] First edition, extremely rare, the first book printed by P. de Junta, red morocco"); Beriah Botfield (1807-1863); H.P. Kraus, The Greek Book, New York 1997, no. 43.

Literature: HC 16283; GW M52087; BMC V 690; IGI 10440; Goff Z-24; Flodr, Zenobius, 1; Renouard XXXIII.1; Giunta Annali 1; Proctor, Printing of Greek, pp. 69-70.

Condition Report

Full Lot Details

Zenobius. Epitome proverbiorum Tarrhaei et Didymi [graece], collation: [π]4, α-θ8 (lacking blanks π1 and θ lacking, as in many recorded copies, quires δ and ζ and three bifolia in quires α and β misbound), 66 of [68] leaves, text in single column, 26-29 lines, type: 3:114G (dedicatory epistle on fols. [π]2r-[π]3r, Latin colophon on fol. θ7v), 4:121Gk (text), blank spaces for capitals, overall a fine copy, carefully washed and pressed, upper and lower corners of fol. [π]2 restored and renewed, likewise upper corners of fol. π3, β4, β5, without loss, outer blank margins of fols. β4 and β5 somewhat frayed, upper blank margins of fol. θ7 restored, on verso a few letters of Latin colophon faded, bibliographical notes on recto of rear marbled flyleaf, early 19th-century grained crimson morocco, probably executed by the London binder C. Smith, covers framed within double gilt fillet, spine with five small raised bands, slightly discoloured, title and imprint in gilt in second and third compartments, comb-marbled endpapers, cover edges decοrated with narrow frieze, inner dentelles, green silk bookmark, gilt edges, red morocco-backed cloth box, Chancery 4to, 209 x 136mm., Florence, [possibly Bartolomeo de' Libri for] Filippo Giunta, [after 23 Sptember], 1497.

The very rare editio princeps of this collection of proverbs assembled, primarily from the previous epitomes by Lucillus of Tarrha and Didymus, by the sophist Zenobios, who lived in Rome during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It is the first book produced by the Florentine printing house of Filippo Giunta, the co-founder of the well-known family publishing dynasty. The Giuntas, active in Florence as well as in Venice, became the most important publishers in Greek after Aldus Manutius. Zenobius' Epitome proverbiorum was possibly printed for Giunta by Bartolomeo de' Libri. In effect, the book was printed with the identical Greek type, originally designed by Demetrios Damilas for the Milanese printer Dionysius Paravisinus, used by Bartolomeo in the Florentine Homer of 1488.

The text was edited by the renowned humanist Benedetto Riccardini, called the Philologus, who appended a prefatory epistle to the Florentine canon Giorgio Dati. BMC assigns the printing of the book to Riccardini, but the humanist, corrector at Giunta's shop until 1507, was actually the editor of the text.

The copy here has a very distinguished provenance. Over the centuries it came into the possession of two of the greatest Greek book collectors: Richard Heber and later Beriah Botfield, who included a Latin translation of Riccardini's epistle in his Prefaces to the First Editions of the Greek and Roman Classics and of the Sacred Scriptures (London 1861, pp. 213-214).

Provenance: Richard Heber (1773-1833; small stamp 'Bibliotheca Heberiana' on recto of front flyleaf; see his sale, Sotheby, April 10, 1834, I, lot 7405, "Zenobii Epitome proverbiorum [...] First edition, extremely rare, the first book printed by P. de Junta, red morocco"); Beriah Botfield (1807-1863); H.P. Kraus, The Greek Book, New York 1997, no. 43.

Literature: HC 16283; GW M52087; BMC V 690; IGI 10440; Goff Z-24; Flodr, Zenobius, 1; Renouard XXXIII.1; Giunta Annali 1; Proctor, Printing of Greek, pp. 69-70.

Condition Report