Commentarii linguae Graecae ...

[Paris], Josse Badius, September 1529.

Folio, pp. [lx], 967, [3], wanting final blank leaf; printed in Roman and Greek letter, title-page printed in red and black, Badius’s ‘Prelum Ascensianum’ printing-press device (Renouard no. 3) and architectural border (Renouard no. 2) on title-page, engraved initial to p. [1]; small worm track to blank tail margin of first quire (old repair to title verso) turning into pinhole thereafter, short tear to blank head margin of 1, small loss to blank fore-edge margin of K1, light ink stain to p. 17, some spotting to head of p. 515, a few other occasional light marks and stains, otherwise a very good, clean and crisp copy; modern full brown calf, blind-tooled frame and foliate and floral stamps to covers, spine in compartments with gilt lettering-piece; small early ownership inscriptions to title, a few marginal annotations and occasional underlining.


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A nice copy of the first edition of Budé’s seminal study of the Greek language, dedicated to Francis I, and superbly printed by Josse Badius.

‘Budé [1467-1540] was the most influential of the French humanistic scholars of the sixteenth century. He made his mark with a treatise on ancient coins and measures, which was a major authority for years to come, and he corresponded with most of the learned men of his time, amongst them Erasmus, who had the highest opinion of his talents, and Thomas More. He was held in the highest esteem by Francis I, who did so much to further the cause of humanism in France ... The ‘Commentaries on the Greek Language’ were a collection of lexigraphical, philological and historical notes, which formed the basis of the study of the Greek language in France. A monument of the new learning, it was several times reprinted, and gave Budé the reputation which is now commemorated in the modern series of parallel texts of Greek, Latin and Byzantine authors which bears his name’ (PMM). Budé was appointed royal librarian by Francis I, building a library which formed the nucleus of the Bibliothèque Nationale. He was also instrumental in the foundation of the Collège de France, which after 1530 became a centre for higher studies in France and reawakened interest in classical languages and literature.

Adams B3093; BM STC French Books, p. 85; PMM 60; Renouard, Badius II, 239 (and see I, 45, 53 and 95).

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