Epigrammatum Ioan Oweni Cambro-Britanni Oxoniensis.  Editio postrema, correctissima, & posthumis quibusdam adaucta. 

Breslau, Esaias Fellgiebel, 1658. 

[bound with:]

[MIRROR OF PRINCES.]  Fürsten-Schatz oder unterschiedliche unvorgreiffliche politische Bedencken …  [S.l.], 1665

Two works in one vol., 12mo, pp. Owen: [3], 221, [3 (blank)], with copper-engraved title and frontispiece portrait (signed ‘I.B.P. fe:’); musical notation to p. 22; Fürstenschatz: pp. [2], 209, [3 (blank)]; lightly toned, small wormtrack to later leaves (touching a few characters without affecting legibility); very good copies in contemporary vellum over boards; somewhat rubbed and dust-stained.


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Scarce Breslau-printed edition of John Owen’s popular Latin epigrams, bound with the first edition of a rare German work providing guidance to princely and noble houses as well as military officials.

Welsh epigrammatist John Owen (c. 1564–1622) received his Bachelor of Civil Law from New College Oxford in 1590 and was a Fellow from 1584 to ’91.  ‘Owen’s epigrams are clearly Protestant in sympathy and include several direct attacks upon Roman Catholic practice; as a result, Owen’s work was placed on the Index librorum prohibitorum [1654], a point which probably only enhanced his popularity in Protestant countries […]  His avoidance of both of obscenity (excepting a handful of poems) and of strongly topical, local, or polemical subjects no doubt contributed to his popularity, rendering his epigrams both readable throughout Europe and also highly teachable’ (Moul, A Literary History of Latin & English Poetry (2022), pp. 286-7). 

Our copy seems to have been used by students over several centuries, bearing the ownership inscription (among many) of the then-fifteen-year-old Baron Carl Georg von Riedesel zu Eisenbach (1746–1819), as well as a rather unflattering juvenile drawing of one ‘Monsieur Riemann’.  It is here bound with a mirror-of-princes of unknown authorship, offering advice particularly on contentious questions of religious difference (should rulers marry outside their religion? or force their subjects to convert?). 

1.  Ink ownership inscription ‘Balthasaris …’ to title, dated 1666; neatly cancelled in ink by:

2.  ‘Conradus Funcke’, likely the pastor of the same name active in Wethen, Hesse, from 1659 to 1697. 

3.  Near-contemporary ink notes to title, front pastedown, front flyleaf, and Fürstenschatz p. 111, with underlining and marking (to approx. 25 pp.). 

4.  Ink ownership inscriptions to front free endpaper of Baron Carl Georg von Riedesel zu Eisenbach (1746–1819), dated 31 November 1761 and 18 January 1762, both in Wetzlar, with black wax seal with the arms of Riedesel zu Eisenbach to front pastedown, and extensive manuscript notes on Owen to front flyleaf. 

5.  Juvenile eighteenth-century pencil drawing of a man smoking a pipe, labelled ‘Monsieur Riemann’ in black ink, to rear pastedown. 

6.  Nineteenth-century booklabel of the pastor Christian Müller, to front free endpaper verso. 

OCLC finds a single copy of the 1665 Fürstenschatz outside Germany, at Syracuse University.  No copies recorded on Library Hub.  A similarly scarce second edition was printed in Frankfurt the following year. 

Epigrammatum: USTC 2654841; VD17 15:745822D.  Fürstenschatz: VD17 23:674466S. 

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