Our Continental department specialises in incunabula, Greek and Latin classics, early vernacular imprints, and notable texts from the Renaissance, the Reformation and the early modern era, with a specific section devoted to medieval manuscripts, fragments and illuminations.
We regularly issue lists and catalogues, offering a wide variety of literary, historical and philosophical books printed in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Low Countries, Eastern Europe and Russia. Woodcuts, early engravings, notable bindings, notable marginalia, rare manuscript or printed survivals, and books with a remarkable provenance are among our keenest interests, and feature regularly in our stock.
(Colophon:) Venice, Aldus, May 1502.
A handsome copy of the first edition of the Greek text of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, printed by the great Aldus Manutius, with an interesting provenance.
[CICERO, Marcus Tullius.]
Commentarii Philippicarum Marci Ciceronis cum annotationibus Georgii Trapezuntii Philippi Beroaldi et...
Paris. Thomas Caseus for Jean Petit, .
Rare edition, attractively printed and with occasional contemporary annotations, of Cicero’s Philippics, comprising Cicero’s text along with the commentaries of the Cretan humanist George of Trebizond (1396–1486), the Bolognese rhetorician Filippo Beroaldo (1453–1505), and the Perugia...
LACTANTIUS, L. Coelius, and Onorato FASCITELLI (editor).
[Opera:] Divinarum institutionum lib. VII, De ira Dei liber...
Lyons, Jean de Tournes and Guillaume Gazeau, 1548.
First edition of Lactantius’ works to be printed by de Tournes and Gazeau, in an attractive contemporary French morocco binding, from the library of André Morellet, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, and translator of Beccaria and Jefferson.
RAMUS, Petrus. (Commentator) - VIRGILIUS MARO, Publius.
Georgica, P. Rami professoris regii praelectionibus illustrata, ad Carolum...
Second editions of Ramus' extensive commentaries on Virgil's two poems on country life, which he wrote in order to react against the dry doctrines of several French schools who based their teaching of nature on Aristotle's physics. He wanted to keep in contact with the concrete realities of nature and...
De rerum natura libri sex.
Paris, Hiérosme de Marnef and Guillaume Cavellat, 1567.
Rare pocket edition of Lucretius, a reissue of de Marnef and Cavellat’s similarly rare 1564 edition, with the same collation. The great poem is preceded by Petrus Crinitus’s brief biography of the author.
DIOGENES LAERTIUS, [and Henri ESTIENNE (editor)].
Περι βίων, δογμάτων και αποφθεγμων...
[Geneva,] Henri Estienne, 1570.
First Estienne edition of The Lives of the Philosophers, a very important edition in the original Greek, ‘in which appear for the first time many passages discovered in manuscripts by Estienne’. ‘The volume also contains thirty-six pages of important textual annotations by Henri Estienne,...
[KRAG, Niels, editor.]
NICOLAUS, of Damascus. Ex Nicolai Damasceni universali historia seu de moribus gentium libris excepta Iohannis...
[?Heidelberg], Pierre de Saint-André, 1593.
First edition thus. Comprises observations on the customs of different peoples (Iberians, Celts, Phrygians, Assyrians, Spartans and so on) from the Augustan historian Nicolaus of Damascus’ Universal history, only fragments of which have come down to us (in this case via Stobaeus). The text is printed...
Pompe funebri di tutte le nationi del mondo, raccolte dale storie sagre et profane.
Verona, Francesco Rossi, 1639.
First edition of Perucci’s extensively illustrated account of funeral practices, inscribed by a Scottish antiquary and documented book collector. A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and later the Royal Society, Walter Bowman (1699–1782) travelled extensively over the course of five decades...
APULEIUS (Julien FLEURY, editor).
Lucii Apuleii Madaurensis Platonici philosophi opera interpretatione et notis illustravit...
Paris, Frederic Leonard, 1688.
First Delphin edition of the works of Apuleius, ‘une des meillures éditions qui soient dans la collection des Ad usum’ according to Brunet, comprising the Metamorphoses, his popularisations of Platonic philosophy, and excerpts from his lectures known as the Florida. The Delphin classics were a landmark...
BARTOLI, Pietro Santi.
Admiranda Romanarum antiquitatum ac veteris sculpturae vestigia anaglyphico opere elaborata ex marmoreis...
Rome, sumptibus ac typis edita a Joanne Jacobo de Rubeis, restituit auxit Dominicus de Rubeis, 1693.
Revised edition (first c. 1685, with 81 plates) of this stunning record of ancient Roman sculpture by the engraver and painter Pietro Santi Bartoli (1615–1700), pupil of Poussin, antiquary to Christina, Queen of Sweden, and ‘indefatigable engraver of Roman monuments’ (Grove Art Online),...
M. Ualerii Martialis epigrammata. Opera, et industria Andreae Frusij, Soc. Iesu Theologi.
Cuneo, typis Ioannis Baptistae Benentini, 1705.
Scarce pocket edition of Martial’s Epigrams as edited by the notable French Jesuit André des Freux (c. 1515–1556), published in the city of Cuneo in Piedmont.
De vita excellentium imperatorum. Interpretatione et notis illustravit Nicolaus Courtin ... in usum serenissimi...
Paris, Frères Barbou, 1726.
An attractive later Delphin edition (first 1675) of the surviving biographies of the first-century BC Roman writer Cornelius Nepos. Part of an original series of ‘Lives of famous men’ (De viris illustribus), the surviving biographical sketches, mostly of generals, include Themistocles and Hannibal....
Achilles. An Opera. As it is perform’d at the Theatre-Royal in Covent Garden ... with the Musick prefix’d to each Song.
London: Printed for J. Watts ... 1733.
First edition of Gay’s last ballad opera; he was arranging for its production at the time of his death. The work is a farcical burlesque of classical myth, in which Achilles, dressed as a woman, is admitted to the court of Lycomedes, who falls in love with him while he in turn is trying to woo...
JUVENAL and PERSIUS.
D. Junii Juvenalis et A. Persii Flacci satyrae, omni obscoenitate expurgatae a R. P. Josepho Jouvencio, ad...
Rennes, apud Josephum Vatar, collegii Societatis Jesu typographum, 1735.
Scarce pocket-sized edition of the satires of Juvenal and Persius, edited by Joseph de Jouvancy, with all obscenities removed to render the text suitable for Jesuit collegians.
A Description of the East, and some other Countries.
London: W. Bowyer for the Author, [‘and sold by J. and P. Knapton, W. Innys, W. Meadows, G. Hawkins, S. Birt, T. Longman, C. Hitch, R. Dodsley,...
First edition, demy folio issue. The traveller and cleric Pococke (1704-1765), was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and graduated BA in 1725, BCL in 1731, and DCL in 1733. His family’s ecclesiastical connexions and his facility at navigating the complexities of clerical patronage enabled...
MABLY, Gabriel Bonnot, Abbé de.
Observations on the Romans. Written originally in French …
London: Printed for R. Griffiths … 1751.
First English edition of this Roman history (first published in the same year in Geneva as Observations sur les Romains). Mably studies episodes from the pre-imperial era (the seven kings, Gracchi and Punic wars), before skimming the vast majority of imperial dynastic rule to finish with a chapter...
To tou Epiktetou encheiridion. Ex editione Joannis Upton accurate expressum.
Glasgow, Foulis, 1751.
The first miniature Foulis edition of Epictetus in Greek, and the first Foulis Epictetus in Greek only; it had been preceded by a larger format, duodecimo (1748) edition in Greek and Latin. A 1765 reissue was, according to ESTC, reset.
PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista.
De Romanorum magnificentia et architectura. Della magnificenza ed architettura de’ Romani.
First edition, a handsome copy, bound without the portrait of Clement XIII to whom the work was dedicated, of Piranesi’s magnificent defence of Roman architecture, intended to counter the claims of Laugier, Le Roy and Winckelmann for Greece’s architectural superiority. The splendid plates...
The History of the legal polity of the Roman State; and of the rise, progress, and extent of the Roman laws.
London, Strahan and Cadell, 1781.
Sole edition of a legal history conceived along the lines of Gibbon’s history, an account that was meant to furnish leaders of the emerging British Empire with a helpful knowledge of the past from the perspective of the evolution of legal systems.
HOMER, and Alexander POPE (translator).
The Iliad of Homer. Translated from the Greek by Alexander Pope, Esq. Philadelphia,...
McCulloch, P. Stuart, 1795.
First American edition of Pope’s rendering of the Iliad. Pope began his reinterpretation of Homer’s epic poem when in his early twenties. Following several years of ‘great pain and apprehensions’, as Pope drafted his text on the backs of letters sent to him and his mother (now preserved...