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Lot 0261

VALERIUS FLACCUS, Gaius. Valerii Flacci Argonautica. Io. Baptistae Pij carmen ex quarto Argonauticon Apollonij. Orphei Argonautica innominato interprete. [at colophon:] Venetiis in aedibus Aldi et Andreae Asulani Soceri mense Maio 1523. [Venice: Heirs of Aldo Manuzio and Andrea Torresani].

8vo, 18th century calf (spine renewed) with gilt borders on both covers, marbled edges, ff. 148.
Aldine anchor and dolphin device on the title page and last leaf. Text in Latin, Italic type.

First and only Aldine edition of the popular saga on Jason and the Argonauts at their quest for the Golden Fleece: referring to this Aldine edition, Dibdin says thar «fine copies are obtained with some difficulty, and at no small price».

This edition also includes the Argonautica falsely attributed to the legendary singer Orpheus, a fascinating "autobiographical" view of the search for the Golden Fleece through the eyes of one of Jason's fellow Argonauts. The translator's name is not given, but apparently this rendition in Latin had been done by Crinitus.

Valerius Flaccus (died 88 AD) lived during the reign of the emperor Vespasian and dedicated this work to him, to glorify Vespasian's conquest of Britain. His only extant work is this unfinished heroic poem in eight books on the Argonautic expedition, quite similar in most respects to the famous "Argonauticon"by Apollonius of Rhodes. In some passages it remains very close to the Greek original, but Flaccus also adds entirely new episodes. He was completely unknown throughout the Middle Ages, until Poggio Bracciolini discovered a partial manuscript of the Argonautica in the monastery of St. Gall in 1416 and was first published in 1474.

Provenance: 1. Signature Io. Arcerij Theodoreti at title-page. Giovanni Arcerio «Theodoreti» (son of Theodorus»), was an Italian humanist and translator. 2. A 19th century signature Ormerod 1837 at first fly-leaf.

References: Renouard 97:3; Dibdin II, 515; Dibdin, Introduction to the Knowledge of Rare and Valuable Editions of the Greek and Latin Classics, 1804: «Fine copies are obtained with some difficulty, and at no small price». Adams V-77; Schweiger II, 1099; Graesse VII, 241; Brunet V, 1045. Ahmanson-Murphy, 192. CNCE 37708.


Minor traces of use, but a very good copy.

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[Argonauts, Aldine] Valerius Flaccus, 1523

Estimate €1,200 - €1,500
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