"LIVY GAVE ROME HER EPIC": 1600 FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF LIVY'S HISTORY OF ROME, MAGNIFICENT IN CONTEMPORARY PANELED CALF GILT BOARDS
LIVY. The Romane Historie Written by T. Livius of Padua. Also, the Breviaries of L. Florus: with a Chronologie to the whole Historie: and the Topographie of Rome in old time. London: Adam Islip, 1600. Thick folio (9-1/2 by 13 inches), contemporary full paneled brown calf boards, sympathetically rebacked, raised bands, later plain endpapers. $23,500.
First edition in English of Livy's monumental history of Rome, translated by Philemon Holland, in exceptionally lovely contemporary calf boards.
Titus Livius commenced his great history between 27 and 25 B.C., completing it only shortly before his death in A.D. 17. His genius lay in lively storytelling rather than critical history; his aim was to rekindle his fellow Romans' patriotic spirit by recounting their ancestors' heroic deeds. "Livy's heroes were to revive again and again—in 18th-century Virginia and in Revolutionary Paris. There are still statues in the public parks of the founders of the American and French Republics clad in the togas or the armor of Cincinnatus or Horatius… Livy, not Virgil, gave Rome her epic" (Rexroth, 92-93). "This was the first of that stately array of folio translations of the classics which issued from the pens of Philemon Holland, the 'translator generall in his age" (Pforzheimer 495). "Holland's knowledge of Greek and Latin was accurate and profound, and his renderings are made in a vivid, familiar and somewhat ornamented English" (Drabble, 469). The section on the "Topographie of Rome in old time" is translated from the work of J. Bartholomew Marlian. With woodcut-engraved title, initials, head- and tailpieces, woodcut portrait of Livy, and a woodcut-engraved portrait of Queen Elizabeth, to whom this edition is dedicated, on verso of title. Occasional mispagination as issued without loss of text; without initial blank. STC 16613. Brueggemann, 634. Harris, 94. Lowndes, 1374. Early dealer description tipped to front pastedown.
Text fresh and clean, extremities of beautiful contemporary calf-gilt boards expertly restored.