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    "An Encylcopedia of All the Knowledge
    of the Ancient World"

    [Pliny]. Caius Plinius Secundus. [Paulus Manutius and Sigismund Galenius, editors]. Naturalis Historiae Libri Trigintaseptem... [bound with] Index in C. Plinii Secundi Naturalem historiam, ad exemplum Ioan Camertis. Venice: Paulus Manutius (Aldus), 1558-1559. First edition thus. Two parts in one folio. A6, B8, a-z8. [2]A-R6, S4, 3a-38, 3c6; [3] A-[2] L6. [28], 1-976 numbered columns [= 488 pages], [36], [132] pages. Aldine devices on both title pages, decorated initials. Eighteenth century Italian paper boards lightly soiled, holograph title on spine with a small piece of paper tape and a pencil "X", damp and mold stain to inner margin of beginning causing holes in title page with some text loss, inner margin of title page supported, pages over-opened at A6 and B1, dampstains, scattered foxing, worm track in lower margin at rear a few letters affected, last blank leaf laid-down, sewing loosened in gathering S, wide margins, overall a very good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    "The Natural History of Pliny is more than a natural history: it is an encyclopedia of all the knowledge of the ancient world.... He was a compiler rather than an original thinker, and the importance of this book depends more on his exhaustive reading (he quotes over four hundred authorities, Greek and Latin) than on his original work. All the spare time allowed him by a busy administrative career was devoted to reading; he began long before daybreak, his nephew the younger Pliny recorded, and grudged every minute not spent in study; no book was so bad, he used to say, as not to contain something of value. When he died the Natural History (the sole extant work out of one hundred and two volumes from his pen) was still incomplete. It comprises thirty-seven books dealing with mathematics and physics, geography and astronomy, medicine and zoology, anthropology and physiology, philosophy and history, agriculture and mineralogy, the arts and letters. He is scrupulous in his acknowledgment of his sources ('you must', he wrote, 'with honest humility, declare those from whom you have profited'), and the whole of the first book is devoted to the tables of contents and authorities which bear witness to his method. The Historiae soon became a standard book of reference: abstracts and abridgments appeared by the third century. Bede owned a copy, Alcuin sent the early books to Charlemagne, and Dicuil, the Irish geographer, quotes him in the ninth century. It was the basis of Isidore's Etymologiae and such medieval encyclopedias as the Speculum Majus of Vincent of Beauvais and the Catholicon of Balbus. One of the earliest books to be printed at Venice, the center from which so much of classical literature was first dispensed, it was later translated into English by Philemon Holland in 1601, and twice reprinted (a notable achievement for so vast a text). More recently, scholars as various as Humboldt and Grimm have praised and acknowledged their debt to it. Over and over again it will be found that the source of some ancient piece of knowledge is Pliny."  -Printing and the Mind of Man.       

    EDIT 16 cnce 28055. Ahmanson/Murphy IIIb, 467. Adams P1575. Renouard 177:2. Schweiger II, 788.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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