Cornelii Nepotis vitae excellentium imperatorum, editio nova emendatior.

Amsterdam, J. Wetstein, 1745.

16mo, pp. 159, [9 (index)]; title engraved; a very good copy; bound in contemporary French olive morocco, borders filleted in gilt, spine gilt in compartments and lettered directly in gilt, edges gilt, with attractive brocade endpapers and 2 ribbon place-markers, sewn on 4 sunken cords; corners a little worn, small chip to headcap, nonetheless an attractive copy.


US $151€147

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An uncommon pocket edition of Cornelius Nepos’s Lives, attractively bound with striking gilt endpapers. The only surviving work by the first-century BC biographer Cornelius Nepos, the Vitae excellentium imperatorum once formed part of a broader De viris illustribus. The Lives include Themistocles, Pausanias, and Hannibal; the most interesting character portrayal is that of Alcibiades, while the last two biographies are the most accomplished, describing the elder Cato and Atticus, with whom Nepos was intimate.

The splendid endpapers, gilt to a semis of six-pointed stars and dots, are likely to be by Johann Michael Munck or Joseph Friedrich Leopold of Augsburg. Brocade papers such as this would be exported from Germany to the rest of Europe (and to France and England in particular) via the Netherlands, hence the name ‘Dutch gilt paper’.

STCN 186185898; for the endpapers see Kopylov 123, 124, & 126, and Haemmerle 140, 140a, & 250.

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