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    Letters of a Great Roman Rhetorician

    [Incunabula]. Marcus Tulius Cicero and Cornelius Nepos. [Epistolae ad Brutum, ad Quintum fratem, ad Atticum]. Hoc in volumine haec continentur Epistola ad Augustinum Mapheum per Bartholmeum salicetu(m) Bononiensem: & Ludovicu(m) Regiu(m) Coreliensem... Venice: [Phillipus Pincius], 1499. Folio. 310 x 212 mm. a-q8, r4. 132 leaves. Eight leaves have been added (four front, four rear) which have contemporary index in red and brown inks (seven of the pages are used); old institution number stamped at end with library mark removed, a few old stains. Two white on black decorated initials. Type 16:108R; Greek type 80 Gkb. Contemporary oak boards with leather backing, rubbing and restorations to spine, lacks clasps (front cover has leather remains), wormholes in covers; medieval vellum manuscript used as binder's pastedowns with central text and commentary; dampstain to upper inner margin at front and outer margin in rear; wormhole in text (some letters affected); ink burn hole in one of the added leaves at front; contemporary marginal annotations throughout. Very good overall. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    "The letters of Cicero are of a varied character. They range from the most informal communications with members of his family to serious and elaborate compositions which are practically treatises in epistolary form. A very large proportion of them were obviously written out of the mood of the moment, with no thought of the possibility of publication; and in these the style is comparatively relaxed and colloquial. Others, addressed to public characters, are practically of the same nature as his speeches, discussions of political questions intended to influence public opinion...
    In the case of both of these two main groups the interest is twofold: personal and historical, though it is naturally in the private letters that we find most light thrown on the character of the writer. In spite of the spontaneity of these epistles there exists a great difference of opinion among scholars as to the personality revealed by them, and both in the extent of the divergence of view and in the heat of the controversy we are reminded of modern discussions of the characters of men such as Gladstone or Roosevelt. It has been fairly said that there is on the whole more chance of justice to Cicero from the man of the world who understands how the stress and change of politics lead a statesman into apparently inconsistent utterances than from the professional scholar who subjects these utterances to the severest logical scrutiny, without the illumination of practical experience." [Evelyn Shuckburg, Letters of Cicero, 1909].

    Cornelius Nepos (c. 100-24 BC) was a Roman biographer. Supposedly he was born at Hostilia, a village in Cisalpine Gaul not far from Verona. His Gallic origin is attested by Ausonius, and Pliny the Elder calls him Padi accola ('a dweller on the River Po, Natural History III.22). He was a friend of Catullus, who dedicates his poems to him (I.3), Cicero and Titus Pomponius Atticus. Eusebius places him in the fourth year of the reign of Augustus, which is supposed to be when he began to attract critical acclaim by his writing.

    Pomponius Laetus, "Humanist, born in Calabria in 1425; died at Rome in 1497. He was a bastard of the House of the Sanseverino of Naples, Princes of Salerno, but owing to his great admiration for antiquity and the Roman Republic he would not recognize them as connections. When very young he went to Rome and became a pupil of Valla. His brilliant capacities won him admiration and success. He wished to live the life of the ancients. His vineyard on the Quirinal was cultivated in accordance with the precepts of Varro and of Columella, and he was himself regarded as a second Cato." [CE]

    Basically a reprint of Pincius' c1495 edition with the addition of a note to readers by Julius Pomponius Laetus. 

    Goff C503. Hain/Copinger 5217*. Pell 3628. IBE 1594.  IGI 2805. IBP 1522. Saj--SoltŽsz 992. GŸnt(L) 3561. Walsh 2470. Sheppard 4409. Bodleian C286.  Proctor 5322.  BMC V 499.  GW 6862. BSB C324.050. ISTC ic00503000. Schweiger I,164. Classics. Philosophy. Incunable. Incunabula. Rhetoric. Epistles.

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    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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