DescriptionXenophon. Della vita di Cyro re de Persi tradotto in lingua toscana da Jacopo di messer Poggio fiorentino nuovamente impresso. [Venice: Impresso...per Gregorio de Gregori, 11 March 1524]. Second edition of the Italian translation of Xenophon's Cyropaedia ("The Education of Cyrus") by Jacopo Poggio Bracciolini (1441-1478), first published in Florence in 1521 by the Heirs of Filippo Giunti, and followed by a third edition published in Toscolano in 1527 by Alexandro de Paganini. Small octavo (5.875 x 3.875 inches; 151 x 97 mm.). 156 leaves. Signature collation: a-t8 u4. Italic type. 29 lines. Capital spaces with guide letters. Imprint from colophon on leaf u4r (fol. 156r). Preface by the editor, Giovanni Gaddi (1493-1542). Early dark brown calf, rebacked and with corners renewed. Covers decoratively panelled in gilt and blind; spine with two raised bands; edges stained black; sprinkled endpapers. Binding rubbed and worn, with a few small wormtracks and holes; hinges cracked between flyleaves, and separating between gatherings t and u (fols. 152 and 153); pieces of decorative paper affixed to endleaves at top and bottom of hinges. Some foxing, soiling, and browning, the foxing heavy in a few places; a few leaves with faint marginal dampstains; small paper flaw in the outer margin of a2 (fol. 2); small ink spot on c8v and d1r (fols. 24 verso and 25 recto), concealing a few letters in one line on each page; mostly marginal ink splatter on several leaves; a few additional ink spots and ink markings; vertical creasing from the top edge of i6 and i7 (fols. 70 and 71), entering text and affecting a couple of letters; vertical crease from lower edge in the outer margin of k2 (fol. 74); several leaves dog-eared; a few leaves with tiny holes in the upper margin; tiny adhesion in lower margin of n8v (fol. 104 verso). A very good copy. From the library of noted Arthurian scholar and collector Nathan Comfort Starr (1896-1981), with his book label on the front pastedown ("Ex libris Nathan Comfort Starr"). Ink ownership inscription of "S. Francioni," dated 1817, on front flyleaf.
Adams X34; Edit 16 54118; USTC 863992. Ebert 24136; Graesse VI/2, p. 493; and Hoffmann III, p. 808 (describing the 1521 and 1527 editions). See also David Marsh, "Xenophon," in Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum: Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries VII (1992), edited by Virginia Brown, Paul Oskar Kristeller, and F. Edward Cranz, pp. 75-196).
The Cyropaedia, or "Education of Cyrus", is a "narrative by Xenophon [ca. 428-ca.354 BC], in eight books, of the career of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia [559-529 BC], in which characters and historical facts are modified to suit the author's didactic purpose. Writing roughly at the same time as Plato, who in the Republic argues for his conception of the education of an ideal ruler, Xenophon sets out his own in the Cyropaedia, a work which strongly resembles a historical novel with a moral purpose. Cyrus himself is an idealized character, the perfect statesman, ruler, and general, drawn partly from the character of the younger Cyrus [424-405 BC] who was known to Xenophon and appears in his Anabasis" (The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature).
"Of greatest appeal to Renaissance readers was the idealized biography of Cyrus the Great...Poggius Florentinus (Poggio Bracciolini) [1380-1459] was the first humanist to undertake a complete translation (ca. 1446), but he claimed to follow Cicero's example in making a paraphrase rather than a strictly literal translation: his Latin version reduces Xenophon's eight books to six. Poggius' translation enjoyed fairly wide circulation-some thirty manuscripts survive-but it was never printed, and a more faithful version by Philelphus (1467) became standard in printed editions until 1561. Nevertheless, Poggius' text provided the basis for Italian translations by his son Jacopo Bracciolini (ca. 1476) and Matteo Maria Boiardo (ca. 1470) and for a French translation by Vosque de Lucène (1470)" (David Marsh, "Xenophon," p. 81).
"In classical antiquity, the Cyropaedia was considered the masterpiece of a very widely respected and studied author. Polybius, Cicero, Tacitus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Quintilian, Aulus Gellius and Longinus 'ranked him among the best philosophers and historians'. Classical authors believed that Xenophon composed it in response to the Republic of Plato, or vice versa...The Cyropaedia was rediscovered in Western Europe during the late medieval period as a practical treatise on political virtue and social organization. It became an important influence upon the late medieval and Renaissance genre known as 'mirrors of princes', which attempted to give examples of behavior in order to educate young future rulers...The work continued to be widely read and respected in the early modern period and during the Enlightenment. Machiavelli's The Prince [first published in 1532], which represented a turning point towards modern political thinking, uses the mirror genre as a model, is particularly heavily influenced by the Cyropaedia, and represented a more sophisticated reading of Xenophon, apparently more critical of the idealistic approach on the surface of Xenophon's depiction, while also reading Xenophon to be giving other more important messages about Cyrus's use of deceit, and the danger of such men to republics. Christopher Nadon [in his Xenophon's Prince: Republic and Empire in the Cyropaedia (2001)] describes Machiavelli as 'Xenophon's best-known and most devoted reader'...Among early modern writers after Machiavelli, Montaigne, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Bacon, Jonathan Swift, Bolingbroke, Shaftesbury, Edward Gibbon, and Benjamin Franklin 'all concurred with the classical view' of Xenophon's merits as a philosopher and historian. John Milton called his works divine, and the equal of Plato. Edmund Spenser in his preface to The Faerie Queene said that 'Xenophon [is] preferred before Plato'" (Wikipedia).
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