"READING AND DISCOURSE ARE REQUISITE TO MAKE A PERFECT SOLDIER": EDMONDES' ILLUSTRATED OBSERVATIONS UPON CAESAR'S COMMENTARIES, 1609, WITH FOLDING PLATES, HANDSOMELY BOUND
EDMONDS, Clement. Observations Upon Caesars Commentaries. [London: Math. Lownes, 1609]. Small folio (7-1/2 by 11 inches), 18th-century full blind-stamped paneled brown calf, raised bands, modern red morocco spine labels, waste binding endpapers. $4800.
First complete edition, first issue, of Edmondes' Observations—which includes English translations of Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars and the Civil Wars along with Edmondes' detailed critical observations—embellished with engraved title page, frontispiece, and 11 engraved folding plates, handsomely bound in full calf.
"This excellent and well-known exposition of Caesar was always popular" (Cockle 71). "Edmondes [also spelled Edmunds] had a high reputation for learning and as a writer on military art" (DNB). The text is divided into short chapters with critical and explanatory notes to each. Appearing at the end of the text is Edmondes' treatise "The Maner of Our Moderne Training, or Tacticke Practise," which first appeared in the 1604 continuation of the Gallic Wars, and which according to Cockle was excluded from all 1609 editions. "In everything except portability, ["Moderne Training"] is the earliest example in English of anything approaching our Drill Book" (Cockle 72). Pollard and Redgrave note: "Although at first copies are relatively straightforward, by the end of 1604 they begin to display variations… While it is feasible to note a sequence in the printing of sections, it is impossible to say with certainty what combinations of them should be considered 'issues' or what one should expect to find bound with the purposely ambiguous engraved title pages. Indeed, most copies as they survive today seem better to represent concatenations assembled by individual owners through the years." The 1600 first edition covered the first five books of Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars only; the 1604 Continuation added Books VI-VII of the Gallic Wars as well as Edmondes' observations on those books. The Commentaries (and Observations) on the Civil Wars were added in 1609. First issue, without imprint added to the engraved title page. This complete edition contains the entire three Commentaries on the Civil Wars, the entire Gallic Wars (Books I-VII), and Edmondes' treatise on "Moderne Training." STC 7490. Cockle 71. Armorial bookplates and title page owner signature of Washington Sewallis Shirley, 9th Earl Ferrers, the distinguished 19th-century book collector and nobleman. Bookplate.
A few very tiny holes and spots of soiling to generally lovely interior, light wear to binding, cloth ties no longer present. An exceptional near-fine copy, handsomely bound.