ESSEX AS CATILINE

An Historicall Collection of the continuall Factions, Tumults, and Massacres of the Romans and Italians during the space of one hundred and twentie Yeares next before the peaceable Empire of Augustus Cæsar. Selected and derived out of the best Writers and Reporters of these Accidents, and reduced into the Forme of one entire Historie, handled in three Bookes. Beginning where the historie of T. Livius doth end, and ending where Cornelius Tacitus doth begin.

London, Printed for William Ponsonby. 1601.

4to, pp. [16], ‘20’ [i.e. 209], [7], with the initial and medial blanks *1 and A4 (often wanting); early inscription to title-page sometime obscured, title-page slightly toned; withal, a fine crisp copy in contemporary limp vellum, spine lettered in manuscript, original ties (lower tie partly lacking); contemporary annotation to a rear endpaper concerning ‘the divers and disagring [sic] opinions of histographers'.

£5250

Approximately:
US $6817€6242

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An Historicall Collection of the continuall Factions, Tumults, and Massacres of the Romans and Italians during the space of one hundred and twentie Yeares next before the peaceable Empire of Augustus Cæsar. Selected and derived out of the best Writers and Reporters of these Accidents, and reduced into the Forme of one entire Historie, handled in three Bookes. Beginning where the historie of T. Livius doth end, and ending where Cornelius Tacitus doth begin.

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First edition. Fulbecke’s Historicall Collection ‘was a narrative history of the last years of the Roman republic and it is significant as one of the very few attempts by a Renaissance Englishman to write such a work … An interesting attempt to weave together such often-contradictory sources as Sallust, Dio Cassius, and Lucius Florus, the work features an extended consideration of the rebellion of the turbulent nobleman Catiline’ (ODNB).

This section was undoubtedly included as a reference to the Earl of Essex, for whom contemporary comparisons to Catiline are practically a cliché. Although ‘Fourteene yeares are now runne out sithence I fully ended and dispatched this historicall labour’, it was only published in 1601 ‘immediately after Essex’s trial and execution … [and was] dedicated to his inveterate enemy and avid proponent of peace, Thomas Sackville, first Baron Buckhurst’ (Oxford Handbook of the Age of Shakespeare). Fulbecke took some liberties with his source here, Sallust, to overstretch the similarities between Essex and Catiline.

At around the time he originally wrote the Collection, Fulbecke was a student at the Inns of Court, and along with a number of his contemporaries, including Francis Bacon, wrote a masque, The Misfortunes of Arthur, which was performed before Elizabeth I at Greenwich in 1588; Fulbecke contributed two speeches and the conclusion. It is plausible that Fulbecke and Shakespeare were acquainted through the Inns of Court plays, in which both were involved, and there is some evidence that Shakespeare may have read Fulbecke’s books, or have been familiar with their content.

STC 11412. Some copies (eg. Folger and Corpus Christi Oxford) have a Latin version of the dedication on *3, and *4 excised. The work was reissued in 1608 with cancel title-page and most or all of the preliminaries removed (presumably because of Sackville’s death in April).

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