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    Volume I of the 1478 Jenson Edition of Plutarch's Parallel Lives of the Greeks and Romans

    Plutarch. Vitae parallelae illustrium virorum. [Translated from the Greek into Latin]. [Venice: Nicolaus Jenson, 2 January 1478]. Third edition, the first printed by Jenson, of Plutarch's Parallel Lives of the Greeks and Romans (preceded only by the editio princeps printed in Rome by Ulrich Han in 1470-1471, and the Strassburg edition printed by the "R-Printer" (Adolph Rusch) after 1471; the edition printed in Rome by Sweynheym and Pannartz in 1473 (Hain 13126) is a bibliographical ghost). Volume I (of II) only. Large folio (14.75 x 9.875 inches; 375 x 250 mm.). [232 (of 234)] leaves (collation: a10 (-a1) b12 (-b7) c-m10 n8 o-x10 y-z8 &8). Complete with the register leaf &8 (blank on the verso) at the end, but lacking the initial blank leaf a1 and blank leaf b7. Roman letter, 50 lines. Four- to twelve-line capital spaces, most with printed guide letters (a seven- to twelve-line capital space at the beginning of each biography). This copy is unrubricated, although a few initials have been supplied in ink in an early hand. Headlines and foliation have been supplied on the recto of each leaf in an early hand, sometimes offsetting onto the verso of the preceding leaf.

    Nineteenth-century half sheep over marbled boards. Spine with raised bands, edges sprinkled red. Endpapers possibly renewed. The binding is somewhat worn, with the boards exposed in places; the front joint is just holding. There is considerable dampstaining throughout, with a few resultant holes (in the lower margin of leaves p10, q1, and q2); a few leaves with additional staining (heaviest on leaves s8v and s9r, t10v and u1r, and y6v and y7r); some mostly marginal worming (heaviest in the first two gatherings), with occasional loss of text; occasional very light foxing. The first two gatherings have been strengthened in the upper blank margin, leaves a2-a5, a10, and b1-b6 on the verso, leaves a6-a9 and b8-b12 on the recto. Paper flaw in the outer margin of leaf h10 (small piece torn away); a few tiny marginal tears. Occasional early ink marginalia. Early ink annotations on the blank verso of the register leaf listing the "Comparatione." Penciled note on the front free endpaper: "this would complete / the second copy in / the B. M."

    "During Plutarch's lifetime eleven Roman emperors came and went. The vicissitudes of the great must have suggested his peculiar moralistic method of comparing similar lives, a method which gave this work a scope greater than that of a mere collection of biographical facts...In each pair of biographies-Theseus and Romulus, Alexander and Caesar-a Greek warrior, statesman, orator or legislator is set beside a famous Roman with the same characteristics, and conclusions are drawn both as regards the differences between the men and their countries, and about the moral lessons to be derived from their careers. The 'Lives' are works of great learning and research, and Plutarch is careful to quote his authorities, whose number indicates a formidable amount of reading...Early translated, by Amyot into French and by North into English, the influence of Plutarch's method has been constantly manifest in the biographies of the modern great and in the authors who have been inspired by it. Shakespeare relied almost exclusively on Plutarch for the historical background of ancient Rome" (Printing and the Mind of Man 48, citing the 1517 Giunta edition).

    Volume I contains the following thirty "Parallel Lives": Theseus and Romulus, both translated by Lapus de Castellione (i.e., Lapus Florentinus); Lycurgus and Numa Pompilius, both translated by Franciscus Philelphus, although attributed to Lapus de Castellione; Solon and Publicola, both translated by Lapus de Castellione; Alcibiades, translated by Donatus Acciaiuolus, and Coriolanus, translated by Guarinus Veronensis; Themistocles, translated by Lapus de Castellione, and Camillus, translated by Antonius Pacinus (i.e., Antonius Tudertinus), although attributed to Lapus de Castellione; Pericles, translated by Lapus de Castellione, and Fabius Maximus, translated by Antonius Pacinus or Lapus de Castellione (attributed to Antonius Pacinus); Pelopidas, translated by Antonius Pacinus, and Marcellus, translated by Guarinus Veronensis, although attributed to Antonius Pacinus; Hannibal and Scipio Africanus, both by Donatus Acciaiuolus, although the authorship is attributed to Plutarch and the translation to Acciaiuolus; Philopoemen and Quintus Flamminius, both translated by Guarinus Veronensis;
    Aristides, translated by Franciscus Barbarus, although attributed to Leonardus Brunus Aretinus, and Cato the Censor, translated by Franciscus Barbarus; Timoleon, translated by Antonius Pacinus, and Aemilius Paullus, translated by Leonardus Brunus Aretinus; Agis and Cleomones, translated by Alamannus Rinutinus, although attributed to Antonius Pacinus, and the Gracchi, translated by Leonardus Brunus Aretinus; Lysander and Sulla, both translated by Guarinus Veronensis; Pyrrhus, translated by Leonardus Brunus Aretinus, and Marius, translated by Antonius Pacinus; and Eumenes, translated by Guarinus Veronensis, and Sertorius, translated by Leonardus Brunus Aretinus.

    BMC V, page 178. Bodleian Inc. P-392. Ebert 17466. Flodr, page 250. Goff P-832. GW M34480. Hain-Copinger *13127. ISTC ip00832000. Harvard/Walsh 1588. Polain 3212. Proctor 4113.


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