“TO WARS HIS LEGIONS HE EXHORTS, AND CALLS FROM FAR HIS OLD COHORTS…”: 1614 FIRST ENGLISH EDITION OF LUCAN’S HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WARS BETWEEN CAESAR AND POMPEY
LUCANUS, Marcus Annaeus. Lucan's Pharsalia: Containing the Civill Warres betweene Caesar and Pompey. London: T. Thorpe, 1614. Quarto, late 19th-century three-quarter red morocco, raised bands, marbled boards. $12,000.
First edition in English of Lucan’s epic history of the civil wars between Caesar and Pompey.
A nephew of Seneca, the poet Lucan's participation in the Pisan conspiracy and subsequent discovery by Nero compelled him to commit suicide at age 26. Pharsalia, his only surviving work, which chronicles the civil wars between Caesar and Pompey, was left imperfect, possibly because of Lucan's young death, with a tenth and final book whose "narrative breaks off abruptly in the middle of the Alexandrian War" (Peck, 968). Translator Arthur Gorges "belonged to that brilliant band of English nobles who combined active service with the finest literary acquirements… Most of his poems remain in manuscript, but a few have been published. They are worth rescuing from oblivion. In 1614 he translated Lucan's Pharsalia, an achievement commemorated in his epitaph" (DNB). STC 16885a. Brueggemann, 664. Harris, 94. Lowndes, 1408. Faint ink owner signature on title page of Hannibal Gamon, a 17th-century Puritan clergyman. Gamon was nominated a chaplain to John Robartes, 1st Earl of Radnor and Viscount Bodmin, who he helped compile a religion and philosophy library later held at Lanhydrock. Gamon was a collector in his own right and his collection also ended up in the library at Lanhydrock. Early ink shelf notation. Tiny ink notation.
Closed tear to H3, just touching a few lines, marginal tear to X6, a few other minor closed tears and holes not affecting generally clean text, binding attractive and in fine condition. Scarce.