“CLEOPATRA DISPOSED OF ALL THINGS AT HER PLEASURE…”: APPIAN’S HISTORY OF ROME, 1679 ENGLISH TRANSLATION
APPIAN OF ALEXANDRIA. History of Appian of Alexandria in Two Parts… The First Consisting of the Punick, Syrian, Parthian, Mithridatick, Illyrian, Spanish & Hannibalick Wars, The Second Containing Five Books of the Civil Wars of Rome, Made English by J. D. [John Davies]. London: John Amery, 1679. Two parts in one volume. Folio, contemporary full dark brown mottled calf neatly rebacked, raised bands, burgundy morocco spine label. $2250.
First edition of John Davies’ esteemed English translation of one of the classic works on ancient Rome. A crisp, clean copy in contemporary calf.
Appian of Alexandria, Greek historian of the conquests by Rome from the republican period into the 2nd century AD, held public office in Alexandria, where he witnessed the Jewish insurrection in 116 AD. After gaining Roman citizenship he went to Rome, practiced as a lawyer, and at an advanced age became a procurator. Appian wrote in Greek this Romaica, or history of Rome, in 24 books, arranged ethnographically according to the peoples (and their rulers) conquered by the Romans. The books that survive in complete form deal with Spain, Carthage, Illyria, Syria, Hannibal, Mithradates, and the Roman civil wars from the Gracchi onward. Appian preserved much information of value by his transmission of earlier sources. His first book on the civil wars, dealing with the period from Tiberius Gracchus (tribune 133 BC) to Sulla (d. 78 BC), is a major historical source (Britannica). First translated into English in 1578. Title page in red and black. Wing A3579. Brueggemann, 340. Lowndes, 58. Original owner signature, dated 1679, on front pastedown and title page.
A handsome and desirable copy, fine in contemporary calf.