Publication: Basileae [Basel]: Froben. Cum Imp. Maiestatis Privilegio ad annos v., 1544.
Description: Editio Princeps. Folio, pp. [xii], 967, [i]. Title-page in red and black with woodcut printer's device (repeated on MM6, the final page), a few woodcut initials and a few spaces for initals with only guide letters printed, woodcut headpieces. A small number of underlinings and marginal annotations in an old hand, mostly towards the front. Title-page a little grubby at fore-edge, occasional old marginal repairs, a little faint dampstaining to margins near the rear. Contemporary German blind-tooled panelled calf over bevel-edged wooden boards, with as-yet unidentified armorial tools to centre, raised bands to spine. Sympathetically rebacked, some chips and surface loss to corners, clasps lost, upper hinge separated a little but entirely sound. Some pencilled bibliographical notes to front paste-down, together with a small but colourful recent bookplate with the initials L A. To rfep recto, 'Editio Princeps' noted in a 19th-century hand. Also at the rear, small armorial bookplate of the Dominican Monastery of Woodchester (est.1851) tipped in.
The first printing of the original Greek text of the works of Josephus, which remained the standard text for over three hundred years. A Latin translation had been printed and reprinted beginning in the incunable period. This Greek text was edited by Arnoldus Arlenius (1510-1582) together with Froben's in-house scholar Sigismund Gelen, working from a manuscript discovered by Arlenius in his cataloguing of the library of the Spanish ambassador to Venice, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1503-1575). Froben set the text in the same fine Greek type he had used for the 1516 Erasmus edition of the New Testament.
Bibliography: Adams J352; Dibdin II 130; STC German 463; VD16 J955
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