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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
BASIL, Saint, and Janus CORNARIUS (editor).
[Opera, Greek] Απαντα τα του θειου …...
Basel, Hieronymus Froben and Nicolaus Episcopius, 1551.
Editio princeps of St. Basil’s complete works in the original Greek. In 1532 Froben had published, under the editorship of Erasmus, an edition containing the De Spiritu Sancto, the Hexaemeron, the Homilies on the Psalms, twenty-nine further homilies, and some letters....
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...
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.
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.
MARTIAL, Marcus Valerius.
Epigram. [epigrammatum] libri magna diligentia nuperrime castigati, adiectis doctissimis commentariis...
Lyons, [(colophon:) Jean Moylin for] Romain Morin, 4 April 1522.
A handsome early Lyons edition of Martial’s epigrams, with the commentaries of Calderino, Merula, and Poliziano, and illustrated with sixteen attractive woodcuts by Guillaume le Roy. Le Roy’s blocks, previously used to illustrated a 1510 Lyons Ovid, are copied from the unattributed woodcuts...
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,...
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...
[Opera] Homeri quae extant omnia: Ilias, Odyssea, Batrachomyomachia, Hymni, Poematia aliquot, cum latina versione omnium...
Basel, [colophon: ‘ex officina Hervagiana’] Eusebius Episcopius, 1583.
First edition of Jean de Sponde’s Homer, his chief work of classical scholarship. A protestant humanist and poet from the Basque country, Sponde is best known today for his striking collection of lyric verse, the Sonnets d’amour and Sonnets de la mort published posthumously circa...
[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...
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.
Quinti Horatii Flacci Opera cum novo commentario ad modum Joannis Bond.
Paris, Didot, 1855.
The deluxe issue of Didot’s Horace, a fine early photographically-illustrated work, complete with all the photographic plates, headpieces and maps, and printed on fine paper.
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...
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...
‘Abregé de l’histoire ancienne avec des reflexions philosophiques & politiques par Mr. Laffrey.’
A charming manuscript summary of ancient history, compiled for a young female member of the Bellew family, and once in the library of the eminent Scottish Jacobite Andrew Lumisden (1720–1801).
A Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris, Themistocles, Socrates, Euripides, and Others; and the Fables of Aesop.
London, Printed by J. Leake, for Peter Buck … 1697.
First edition, the separate issue, of what is arguably the greatest and most familiar exposure of a literary forgery, demolishing the attribution of celebrated ‘ancient’ texts on linguistic and historical grounds.