Cornelius Nepos. De vita Catonis. senioris [.] Sextus. Aurelius de vitis caesarum [.] Benevenutis. Imolensis. De [i.e. Libellus augustalis, all ed. L. Abstemius.]

NEPOS Cornelius (1504))


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8vo (150 x 90mm.) ff. [68]. Modern calf, spine with morocco label. 

(Fano: G. Soncino, 25 February, 


Attractive and uncommon little volume of three historical texts, all brief and apposite: the short life of Cato by Cornelius Nepos, an abbreviated version of Aurelius Victor (Augustus to Theodosius), and the Liber augustalis of the 14th-century writer Benvenuto [Rambaldi] da Imola, best known for his commentary on Dante. The collection is intended to provide a practical illustration of history necessary for a man of action; it is, appropriately, addressed by editor Lorenzo Bevilacqua (Laurentius Abstemius) to Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, to whose father, Federico, Bevilacqua acted as librarian. Federico had conquered Fano, where this was printed, and restored it to the papacy in 1463. 

Printer Girolamo Soncino (italianized form of Gershom ben Mosheh Soncino), was part of a family of Jewish printers who took their surname from the town of Soncino, where they settled. Printing from there starting in 1488, Girolamo was active in various places in Le Marche and Romagna in Italy - including Fano, where he was the first printer - before moving to Thessaloniki and then Constantinople, where he died in 1534. This volume was produced in the second period of his output; up to 1500, the works passing through Soncino's press were exclusively in Hebrew, with those printed thereafter in other languages. With a number of the latter also edited by Abstemius, as here, these little books were all the products of a small circle of humanists, and must have been intended largely for local distribution.

Provenance: 1. 'Jo. Francisci Angelis' inscribed on the title page in ?seventeenth century hand. 2. Book label of Kenneth Rapoport, collector of Aldine and early imprints. 

CNCE 13341. Not in BMSTC. Not in Adams.

Stock Code: 47938

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