Liber ad Gallione[m] de remediis fortuitorum. 

[Leipzig, Jacobus Thanner, 1517]. 

8vo, ff. [10]; with historiated white-on-black woodcut border to title; some staining to the outer margin of the first three leaves leading to some paper loss in f. [2] limited to the margin and repaired, a few inconsequential spots; a very good copy in modern cloth-backed boards; copiously annotated with interlinear notes and marginalia, including two extensive notes on title and on verso of last leaf, all in the same contemporary hand.


US $5664€5248

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An extensively annotated copy of a very rare early sixteenth-century edition of this successful tract of moral philosophy.  Whilst its entire manuscript tradition was unanimous in attributing this work to Seneca, and eminent scholars with a profoundly intimate knowledge of Senecan philosophy and style, such as Petrarch and Erasmus, endorsed this attribution, the authorship became disputed in the late Renaissance.  Today it is generally considered a genuine Senecan work, or a collection of his maxims.  Stoicism as a disregard for life’s passing goods and as a remedy against fears, particularly the fear of death, is the message condensed in these pithy, memorable sentences and succinct explanations. 

The contemporary annotator’s attention for the name and birthplace of the author indicates that he believed this manual to be by Seneca.  Taking advantage of the copy’s large line spacing and generous margins, designed to allow annotation and wider study, our reader has covered every page with dense interlinear and marginal notes.  Amongst the fears to which the annotator devotes most space are that of death whilst travelling, death in youth, lack of burial; perhaps more unusually, fear of exile is explored more keenly than the fear of poverty or loss of riches; fear of blindness and fear of losing one’s wife elicit more comments than the fear of losing one’s children, or friends.  The marginalia amplify the reflection through quotations from or reference to other authors, including ancient medical writings, Juvenal, Horace, Virgil, and the wider Senecan corpus. 

The manuscript complement as a whole offers an insight into the broader set of references marshalled in early sixteenth-century understanding of Stoical, classical moral philosophy, as opposed to explicitly Christian maxims, here generally absent. 

USTC finds only three copies of this edition, all in Germany, to which VD16 and OCLC add one further each, both also in Germany.  We can find no copies recorded in the UK or US

Schweiger II, 921; VD16 S-5800. 

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