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Author: Ammianus Marcellinus: (Gronovius, Jacobus, ed.:)

Title: Rerum gestarum qui de XXXI supersunt, libri XVIII. Ope MSS. codicum emendati ab Frederico Lindenbrogio & Henrico Hadrianoque Valesiis cum eorundem integris observationibus & annotationibus, item excerpta vetera de gestis Constantini & regum Italiae. Omnia nunc recognita ab Jacobo Gronovio, qui suas q

Publication: Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden]: apud Petrum. Van der Aa, 1693.

Description: Folio in 4s, pp. [xlviii], 514, [xiv] + 18 plates (of which 3 are folding) including portrait frontispiece, plus 2 engraved illustrations: a large depiction of Nicaea to unpaginated leaf 2*4 verso, and a small numismatic head-piece to p.1. Bound without the binder's instructions sometimes found at rear. Title-page in red and black with engraved vignette, woodcut initials and some head- and tail-pieces. Occasional very light foxing, a few tiny scorch-holes, repaired closed tear to folding plate opposite p.125 with no loss. Contemporary Cambridge-style panelled calf with late 19th-century reback in pebble grained leather, raised bands and gilt title to spine, endpapers replaced. Joints a bit rubbed and just starting to weaken, edges worn, corners beginning to fray, a few small scuffs and scrapes, slightly toned endpapers split at hinges but boards still entirely firm. A very good copy. Two MS inscriptions to preliminary blank: Richard Pooler of Holmesdale (lightly crossed through); R. Travers Herford, 'Stand (Oxford), June 1905'. Pooler's inscription repeated on title-page, together with a short code: 'P.T.Pi. H-S-E.' The second inscription is likely that of Richard Travers Herford (18601950), the Unitarian minister and scholar of rabbinical literature. In 1886 his first published studies in Talmudics appeared in an article in The Christian Reformer entitled 'The Jerusalem Talmud'. Herford was noted as one of the first Christian scholars of the Pharisees to take a neutral view between Talmud and New Testament, and continued to work towards breaking down the prejudices of the laity. He was in London from 1914 to 1925 living and working at Dr. Williams' Library at 14 Gordon Square, where a blue plaque in his honour can still be found.

The work of the 4th-century AD Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus survives very imperfectly, with the first 18 books lost completely and only one extant significant (though corrupt) manuscript source for the remainder. Early editors Accursius and Gelen had access to an alternate manuscript tradition, now lost, which provided the text of the final books. Ammianus had detached and secular views on the rise of Christianity, and was later a favoured author of Gibbon for his 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'. Here he effectively provides a continuation of the History of Tactius, covering the period 353-378. Jacobus Gronovius' (1645-1716) 1693 (first) edition is noted both for its erudition and for being particularly well illustrated. A rich culture of historical and literary cross-referencing to other classical texts is revealed in the deep footnotes, which Gronovius partially inherited from Henri de Valois, and his early seventeenth century predecessor, Friedrich Lindenbrog. He also adds Chifflet's life of Ammianus. Gronovius was a professor of Greek at Pisa and Leyden; he engaged in a series of bitter public disputes with Richard Bentley of Cambridge. An esteemed variorum edition, 'admirable' and 'highly spoken of by Ernesti and Harwood, and well known in the republic of literature [...] The vignettes are very neat.' (Dibdin). Moss quotes Harwood's opinion that Gronovius' edition is, 'very deservedly esteemed among the best edited books in Holland. The text is published with great accuracy; the notes of Gronovius are very valuable; and it is adorned with elegant figures.' The figures include: a portrait of Gronovius by van Zylvelt (frontispiece); 6 plates of Roman coins; 7 medallion portraits of Roman emperors plus a portrait of Procopius; a large folding plate with views of the Obeliscus Ramessaeus; 2 further folding plates, 1 depicting the Battle of Strasbourg and 1 the Siege of Amida, both by Romeyn de Hooghe. A 4to. version with different pagination appeared alongside this folio edition. An entry on COPAC calls for 19 plates, but we wonder whether this includes the large illustration of Nicaea on unpaginated leaf 2*4 verso, as our count of 18 matches the copy at Trinity College, Cambridge found on COPAC, as well as the digitised the copy from Lyon Public Library and other copies listed for sale.

Bibliography: Dibdin I, 257; Moss I, 39; Schweiger II, 3

Reference Number: [52290]

Price: £600


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