4to in 8s, ff. , CCLXXXII; title within woodcut border, woodcut portrait of Dio Cassius to *4v, 22 oblong woodcut scenes at the opening of each book; very slight marginal worming to first few quires, occasional light staining; very good in remains of near contemporary calf, covers decorated in gilt and blind to a panel design, upper cover lettered in gilt ‘Dione Historico’; rebacked and recornered, endpapers renewed, some rubbing to extremities and light abrasions to covers; occasional marginal annotations in two seventeenth/eighteenth-century hands, initials ‘G.P.B’ stamped in ink to title.
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Dione historico delle guerre et fatti de Romani. Tradotto di Greco in lingua vulgare per M. Nicolo Leoniceno. Con le sue figure a ogni libro, opera nuovamente venuta in luce, ne piu in lingua alcuna stampata ...
First edition of Dio’s Roman History in any language, translated into Italian from the original Greek by Niccolò Leoniceno and preceding the Greek editio princeps, printed by Robert Estienne in 1548, by some fifteen years.
Born and raised at Nicaea in Bithynia, Dio (c. 164–235) served as a senator and consul in Rome, composing his famous Roman History in eighty books over the course of two decades, beginning with the landing of Aeneas in Italy and ending with his own retirement in 229. About a third of the work has come down to us intact, with books 36-54, covering the years 69-10 BC, surviving complete.
This Italian rendering of books 37 to 58 was undertaken by the eminent Italian physician and humanist Niccolò Leoniceno (1428–1524), being completed by 1488 but remaining unpublished until this Zoppino edition. The text, encompassing the lives and deeds of Julius Caesar, Pompey, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, is handsomely illustrated with oblong woodcuts at the opening of each book, variously signed ‘m.f.’ and ‘m.p.f.’ These include numerous depictions of Caesar, fighting the Gauls and sailing to Britain for example, as well as of Brutus on his deathbed and the emperor Augustus.
This copy contains some interesting marginalia by two early readers. Notes to books 50 and 51 in a neat seventeenth-century hand show a particular interest in the story of Antony, Cleopatra, and Caesar, while those in an elegant eighteenth-century script record the names of various consuls and refer to other writers, including Tacitus and Flavius Josephus.
Adams D511; EDIT16 CNCE 17205; Essling II, p. 660; Sander 2436.
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