Continental

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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.

 
  1. CATULLUS, TIBULLUS, PROPERTIUS.

    Carmina.

    [Milan, Philippus de Lavagnia] for Johannes de Colonia and Johannes Manthen [in Venice], 1475.

    A handsome copy of the second edition of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius, a close reprint of the edition by Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. Statius’s Silvae also formed part of the edition, but it is not present here; the parts are sometimes found separately, as ISTC notes, and almost half...

    £40000

  2. LACTANTIUS.

    Opera.

    [Venice], Vindelinus de Spira, 1472.

    A fine product of the first Venetian press, established in 1469 by Johannes de Spira and continued by his brother Vindelinus from 1470 until 1473. This was the fifth impression of the works of Lactantius, the hugely successful North-African early Christian writer.

    £30000

  3. MELA, Pomponius.

    Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis.

    [Venice, printer of Pomponius Mela, 1477].

    Second edition, very rare. This is the variant issue without date or place of printing, and is one of only five books known to have produced by the anonymous printer who has been named after the present edition. Mela’s description of the world, also known under the title Chorographia,...

    £25000

  4. GIBBON, Edward.

    The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire.

    London, printed for W. Strahan & T. Cadell, 1776–88.

    First editions of all six volumes of Gibbon’s ‘masterpiece of historical penetration and literary style’ (PMM). The first volume here is of the second variant (of two), with the errata corrected as far as p. 183 and X4 and a4 so signed.

    £14000

  5. BRATHWAITE, Richard.

    Natures Embassie: or, the Wilde-mans Measures: danced naked by twelve Satyres, with sundry others continued...

    [London,] Printed for Richard Whittaker. 1621.

    First edition of a substantial collection of satires, elegies and eclogues. The structure is somewhat chaotic, as is common with Braithwaite, and different sections are dedicated variously to Thomas Huett, Lady Philadelphia Wharton (daughter of Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth), and Thomas Ogle.

    £13500

  6. DASSIER, Jean and Jacques-Antoine.

    ‘An Explanation of Dassier’s Medals being a Representation of a Series of Events...

    London, c. 1795-1800.

    An exceptionally fine illustrated manuscript, with drawings after the series of sixty medals of Roman history from Romulus to the Age of Augustus produced by Jean Dassier and his son in 1740-1743. The drawings are executed with considerable finesse, adding detailed elements not clearly visible...

    £8500

  7. POCOCKE, Richard.

    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...

    £8000

  8. OVIDIUS Naso, Publius, and Pedro Sánchez de VIANA (transl. and ed.).

    Las transformaciones. [issued with:]...

    Valladolid, Diego Fernández de Córdoba, 1589.

    First edition, a copy of notable provenance, of perhaps the most successful early Spanish translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, by Pedro Sánchez de Viana (1545–1616), published along with his substantial commentary. In the age of Cervantes (another master of literary transformations), Ovid...

    £8000

  9. MARLIANI, Bartolomeo.

    Urbis Romae topographia.

    Rome, Valerio & Luigi Dorico, September 1544.

    First illustrated edition (third overall), showing the archaeology and antiquities of Rome as known in the sixteenth century. First published in octavo by Antonio Blado in 1534 and reprinted at Lyons by Sébastien Gryphe later the same year, Marliani’s topography of Rome remained the foremost...

    £5500

  10. FULBECKE, William.

    An Historicall Collection of the continuall Factions, Tumults, and Massacres of the Romans and Italians during...

    London, Printed for William Ponsonby. 1601.

    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...

    £5250

  11. PLUTARCH [and Jodocus BADIUS Ascensius (editor)].

    Vitae … novissime … longe diligentius repositae, majoreque...

    Venice, Melchiorre Sessa [the elder] & Pietro Ravani, 26 November 1516.

    First substantially illustrated edition of Plutarch’s Lives, with signs of early reading. First published in this popular translation in Paris in 1514 by French scholar-printer Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462–1535) in collaboration with Jean Petit, the text is here accompanied by seventy-eight...

    £4250

  12. JUSTINUS, Marcus Junianius, and Lucius FLORUS. 

    [Epitome historiarum:] Justini historici clarissimi in Trogi Pompei historias...

    [Venice, Bartolomeo Zani, 3 February 1503.] 

    A thoroughly annotated copy of a greatly influential compendium of Trogus’s monumental forty-four-book Historia of the world from Babylon to the Augustan era. 

    £3800

  13. DIO CASSIUS.

    Dione historico delle guerre et fatti de Romani. Tradotto di Greco in lingua vulgare per M. Nicolo Leoniceno. Con...

    Venice, Niccolò Zoppino, March 1533.

    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.

    £2750

  14. PLUTARCH.

    ...

    [(Colophon:)] Venice, Nicolao di Aristotile detto Zoppino, March]1525.

    An attractive illustrated edition of twenty-seven of Plutarch’s lives, extensively annotated by a Papal tax-collector, in a striking contemporary binding.

    £2750

  15. MERCURIALE, Girolamo.

    De arte gymnastica libri sex, in quibus exercitationum omnium vetustarum genera, loca, modi, facultates,...

    Venice, [Lucantonio II] Giunta, 1587.

    Third edition of ‘the first illustrated book on gymnastics’ (Morton). A physician occupying senior posts in the medical faculties of Padua, Bologna, Rome, and Pisa, Girolamo Mercuriale (1530–1606) draws heavily on accounts of ancient exercise to argue for its medical benefits, being the...

    £2750

  16. GIRALDI, Lilio Gregorio. 

    De Deis gentium varia et multiplex historia, in qua simul de eorum imaginibus et cognominibus agitur,...

    Basel, Oporinus, 1548. 

    First edition of the most important mythography to be published after Boccaccio’s Genealogiae deorum gentilium and before Conti’s Mythologiae, with extensive marginalia in the first part. 

    £2500

  17. RAMUS, Petrus. (Commentator) - VIRGILIUS MARO, Publius.

    Georgica, P. Rami professoris regii praelectionibus illustrata, ad Carolum...

    Paris, 1564.

    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...

    £2000

  18. CELSUS, ‘Aurelius’ [Aulus] Cornelius.

    Aurelii Cornelii Celsi de re medica libri octo. Accessere in primum eiusdem, Hieremiae...

    Leiden, ex officina Plantiniana, apud Franciscum Raphelengium, 1592.

    Important Plantin edition of the De medicina of the first-century Roman encyclopaedist Celsus, accompanied with humanist commentary, this copy with annotations and with the ownership inscription of Charles Seron, doctor to Louis XIV.

    £1750

  19. BEVER, Thomas.

    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.

    £1500

  20. TERENCE Afer, Publius. 

    Comoediae sex, tum ex Donati commentariis … diligentius quam unquam antehac emendatae; Aelii Donati...

    Paris, Robert Estienne, 1529. 

    First folio edition of Terence’s comedies by Robert Estienne.  The printer had already produced a small, octavo edition of Terence’s works in 1526.  Confident in its success, and through access to an excellent and ancient manuscript of the fourth-century commentary by Aelius Donatus, ‘in...

    £1500