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    The First English Language Translation of St. Augustine's Citie of God

    Saint Augustine. Of the Citie of God. With the Learned Comments of Jo. Lod. Vives. Englished by J. H. [London]: Printed by George Eld, 1610. First edition in English of Saint Augustine's De civitate Dei (first published in Subiaco in 1467). Approximately 11 x 7.25 inches. Folio in sixes. [18], 921, [1, blank], [8, index and errata] pages. Bound with the blank leaves at front and rear. Large woodcut printer's device on title (McKerrow 375a). Decorative woodcut head-pieces and decorative and historiated woodcut initials, including three twelve-line historiated initials. Translated by John Healey. Bound in contemporary full brown calf, covers double-ruled in gilt, gilt floral cornerpieces, spine double-ruled in gilt, original silk ties. Binding worn and soiled, with some gouges in binding, some later repairs to rear board, later title written on spine in white and red (mostly worn off), silk ties torn a bit short so they aren't usable (one silk tie on front board is entirely missing), first two and last two blank leaves creased and torn with some loss, title-page creased at lower corner, upper corner of inner margin of pages [1] up to 384 mildly bumped, some ink markings and notations throughout, text dampstained at lower corner (and occasionally at fore-edge). Previous owner's neat ink signature at top of title-page. Still, a very good copy of this rare and important work.

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    "Aurelius Augustinus, Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, was one of the four great Fathers of the Latin Church. In his Confessions he described the influence of God's action on the individual. In 'The City of God' theology is shown in relation to the history of mankind and God's action in the world is explained...The first five books deal with the polytheism of Rome, the second five with Greek philosophy, particularly Platonism and Neo-Platonism...and the last twelve books with the history of time and eternity as set out in the Bible. History is conceived as the struggle between two communities-the Civitas coelestis of those inspired by the love of God, leading to contempt of self, and the Civitas terrena or diaboli of those living according to man, which may lead to contempt of God" (Printing and the Mind of Man). John Healey (d. 1610) "was ill, according to a statement of his friend and printer, Thomas Thorpe, in 1609, and was dead in the following year...The dedication [on A3] by Thorpe to William, earl of Pembroke, speaks of Healey as dead, and apologises for consequent imperfections in the translation. A second edition, revised, was issued in 1620, with a new dedication by William Crashaw (the father of the poet) to Pembroke and his brother Philip. Healey followed the elaborate edition of Vives, translating his commentary, and turning into English verse the numerous quotations by St. Augustine and by Vives from Greek and Latin poets. It was the only English translation of the 'City of God' till the appearance in 1871 and following years of a translation of all Augustine's works under the editorship of Dr. Marcus Dods" (D.N.B.).

    McAlpin Collection I, p. 232. Pforzheimer 19. STC 916. See Printing and the Mind of Man 3 (describing the 1467 Subiaco edition).

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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