LIVES OF THE FAMOUS PHILOSOPHERS.] ? ... Diogenis Laertij De vitis, decretis, & responsis celebrium philosophorum Libri decem, nunc primum excusi

Price: 19,500.00 USD

(Basel: Hieronymus Froben e Nikolaus Episcopius, 1533), EXTREMELY RARE FIRST PRINTING OF THE EDITIO PRINCEPS OF THIS REMARKABLY IMPORTANT BOOK AND A COPY WHICH IS OF THE VERY FINEST STATE AND CONDITION. The editio princeps of Diogenes Laertius' Lives of the Famous Philosophers, is the most important source of our knowledge in the history of Greek philosophy, from Thales to Pyrrho. The text was known only in the Latin translation by Ambrogio Traversari (1386-1439), which made its first appearance in print in Rome around 1472 and which was widely reprinted during the fourteenth and the first decades of the sixteenth century. This is the first printing of the book in its original language. The edition is dedicated by the typographers Froben and Episcopius to the scholars, and in their epistle they declare their publishing plan: to print at least a work per year able to combine usefulness and pleasure. The text follows a manuscript provided by the professor of Greek and Hebrew at the University of Wittenberg Matthaeus Goldhahn (1480-1553), called Aurigallus, probably a copy of the codex Raudnitzianus Lobkowicensis vi.F.c.38, at the time preserved in Komotau (Bohemie), in the house of the politician Bohuslav Lobkowitz von Hassenstein (c. 1460-1510), and presently in the Library Národní Knihovna of Prague. The Editio Princeps, the first printing of the work in the original Greek. Greek and roman type. Woodcut printer's device of Johann Froben by Hans Holbein der Jünger [The Younger] on the title-page and on fol. CC4v (Heitz-Bernoulli 50). Woodcut decorated headpieces, decorated and animated initials on black ground, from different alphabets designed by Holbein; on fol. a1r 8-line initial, showing Heraclitus and Democritus, from the capital Latin alphabet of May 1520 drawn by Holbein and by Jacob Faber (cfr. Hollstein's German, xivB, n. 119). 4to (210x146 mm). Collation: 1, 2, 3, 4, a-z4, A-Z4, aa-zz4, AA-CC4 (fols. 1v, CC4r blank). [8], 573, [3] pp. , In a very rarely encountered contemporary binding of Dutch blind-tooled leather over wooden boards. The covers are framed by two borders of blind tooled fillets, a floral tool at each corner; the central panel is divided into diamond designs with rosettes on the upper cover and fleur-de-lys on the rear. Turn-ins and cords fixed at the inner boards. Antique spine and clasps renewed at a somewhat later date and accomplished with the greatest skill. The guard leaves are composed of two bifolia from a 14th-century manuscript breviary. [8], 573, [3] pp. A beautiful and fine broad-margined copy in a wonderful contemporary binding, faint waterstaining to the inner corner of the first quires, a minor repair to the gutter of the first leaves, two tiny wormholes in the last three quires. Provenance: John Alfred Spranger (1889-1968; book-plate on front pastedown and stamp on title-page).

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