Description

    A Humanist History of Rome

    Pomponius Laetus [Leto] and Marcantonio Sabellico. Romanae Historiae Compendium. Venice: Benardinus Venetus da Vitalibus, 1499, April 23. First edition. Small quarto. [a]- p4; 60 folios. Large decorated initials. Full eighteenth-century blind-tooled sheep with corner and central stamps, blue gilt morocco lettering label on spine, vellum paste-downs (front pastedown has come off the board, but is still present). Binding a bit bowed, with some worming to spine; title in old hand on fore-edge, some scattered wormholes (not affecting text), inner margin of [a]1 strengthened; marginal repair to a2, some minor stains, early marginalia. Still, a good copy.
    Goff L24. HC 9830*. Pell Ms 7000 (6953). CIBN P-561. Arnoult 950. Neveu 498. Parguez 644. Zehnacker 1397. Polain(B) 2429. IGI 7987. IBP 3345. Sajó-Soltész 2025. IBE 3427. Coll(U) 1251. Madsen 3350. Voull(B) 4473. Günt(L) 3842. Mittler-Kind 877. Walsh 2618. Oates 2151. Bod-inc L-019. Sheppard 4592, 4593. BMC V 549. BSB-Ink P-683. ISTC il00024000. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    More Information:

    Laetus [Leto], Pomponius & Marcantonio Sabellico . Romanae Historiae Compendium. Venice: Benardinus Venetus da Vitalibus, 1499, April 23. 4to. 154 x 102 mm. [a]-p4 60ff. 18th c. blind-tooled sheep with corner and central stamps, a bit bowed, with some worming to spine, spine banded, title on leather label; title in old hand on fore-edge, vellum paste-downs; some scattered wormholes (not affecting text);inner margin of [a]1 strengthened; marginal repair to a2;minor stains, early marginalia. Large decorated initials. First Edition. "Pomponius Laetus. Humanist, b. in Calabria in 1425; d. at Rome in 1497. He was a bastard of the House of the Sanseverino of Naples, Princes of Salerno... 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. On holidays he went fishing or caught birds in his lime-twigs; sometimes he would simply spend the day in the open air, refreshing himself at a spring or by the banks of the Tiber. One of the most important and first known complete manuscripts of Plautus, that of Cardinal Orsini (now Vaticanus 3870), had been brought to Rome in the year 1428 or 1429. It was suggested that the plays it contained should be performed in the palaces of the prelates. Laetus became stage director of the performances. Finally, he and a few kindred souls, Platina, the future librarian of the Vatican, Sabellicus, afterwards prefect of the Library of San Marco of Venice, founded a semi-pagan academy. Its members assumed Latin names and celebrated every year the festival of the Palilia - anniversary of the foundation of Rome. They also met to commemorate a deceased member. A prelate celebrated Mass. Laetus delivered the eulogy. Latin recitations followed and a banquet closed every meeting. At other times, the members gave Latin farces much like the Atellanae. But Paul II, a pope who did not favour the Humanists, occupied the Chair of Peter. Laetus was looked upon as a scorner of Christianity and conspirator. Venice delivered him into the hands of the pope. Confined in the Castle of Sant' Angelo in 1468, he with Platina and others was tortured. However, he defended himself and reminded them that he had maintained the immortality of the soul, a belief often discussed by the Humanists. On the accession of Sixtus IV (1471) Laetus was released and the academy was allowed to continue its meetings. He lectured in the Roman University. He was often seen at daybreak, descending, with lantern in hand, from his home on the Esquiline, on his way to his lectures where many eager hearers awaited him. He was a very conscientious professor, especially learned in Roman antiquities but exclusively a Latinist. He had declined to study Greek for fear of spoiling his Latin style. He went so far as to read the most classical authors only and disdained the Bible and the Fathers.A prelate celebrated Mass. Laetus delivered the eulogy. Latin recitations followed and a banquet closed every meeting. At other times, the members gave Latin farces much like the Atellanae. But Paul II, a pope who did not favour the Humanists, occupied the Chair of Peter. Laetus was looked upon as a scorner of Christianity and conspirator. Venice delivered him into the hands of the pope. Confined in the Castle of Sant' Angelo in 1468, he with Platina and others was tortured. However, he defended himself and reminded them that he had maintained the immortality of the soul, a belief often discussed by the Humanists. On the accession of Sixtus IV (1471) Laetus was released and the academy allowed to continue its meetings. He lectured in the Roman University. He was often seen at daybreak, descending, with lantern in hand, from his home on the Esquiline, on his way to his lectures where many eager hearers awaited him. He was a very conscientious professor, especially learned in Roman antiquities but exclusively a Latinist. He had declined to study Greek for fear of spoiling his Latin style. He went so far as to read the most classical authors only and disdained the Bible and the Fathers...In the last period of his life, Pomponius Laetus wrote short antiquarian treatises ("De magistratibus, sacerdotiis et legibus Romanorum"; "De romanae urbis antiquitate"; "Compendium historiae romanae ab interitu Gordiani usque ad Justinum III")."[CE]

    Sebellico (1436?-1506) historian and humanist. "Sebellico had ability and versatility in Latin and produced works that would appeal to a Latin literate circle, to humanists, to publishers in the expanding commercial world of print, and to those Venetian patricians... and to their successors... Sebellico was interested in biography; the best known example was the life of his master Pomponio Leto, which appeared as an introduction to Leto's Romanae histyoriae compendium which Sabellico got published in 1499." [Ruth Chavasse, The studia humanitatis and the making of a humanist career... in Renaissance Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1.]

    Goff L24 ; HC 9830* ; Pell Ms 7000 (6953) ; CIBN P-561 ; Arnoult 950 ; Neveu 498 ; Parguez 644 ; Zehnacker 1397 ; Polain(B) 2429 ; IGI 7987 ; IBP 3345 ; Saj--SoltŽsz 2025 ; IBE 3427 ; Coll(U) 1251 ; Madsen 3350 ; LQkkšs(Cat BPU) 266 ; Voull(B) 4473 ; GŸnt(L) 3842 ; Mittler-Kind 877 ; Walsh 2618 ; Oates 2151 ; Bod-inc L-019 ; Sheppard 4592, 4593 ; Pr 5532 ; BMC V 549 ; BSB-Ink P-683. ISTC il00024000.



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