"THE LAST ROMAN HISTORIAN OF ANY IMPORTANCE": FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF MARCELLINUS' ROMAN HISTORIE, 1609
(MARCELLINUS) HOLLAND, Philemon, translator. The Roman Historie, Containing such Acts and Occurents as Passed under Constantius, Iulianus, Iovianus, Valentinianus, and Valens, Emperours. London: Adam Islip, 1609. Small folio (7-3/4 by 11-1/2 inches), modern full paneled brown calf, raised bands, red morocco spine label. $7000.
First English translation, by Philemon Holland, of this important source for the lives of the later Roman emperors, in handsome full calf binding.
Ammianus Marcellinus, the "last Roman historian of any importance," first began his history of the emperors circa A.D. 390. As a younger man, Marcellinus fought under Julian against the Alemanni and Persians, and his work provides an eyewitness account of the period 353-78. Of the original 31 books, only 18 were extant at the time of Holland's translation; his work includes a chronology of the time period the lost books covered. Three years earlier, Holland had translated Suetonius' Historie of Twelve Caesars, Emperors of Rome, so Marcellinus' Roman Historie was a logical next pursuit. "Holland's translations are faithful and readable. Fuller designates him the 'translator generall in his age,' and asserts that 'these books alone of his turning into English will make a country gentleman a competent library" (DNB). Embellished with elaborate woodcut headpieces and initials, and printer's device on title page. Early waste binding intentionally exposed at inner hinges. Incorrect catchwords at pages 242 and 376, but text complete. STC 17311. Harris, 5. Brueggemann, 744. Moss I, 40. Morocco booklabel. Early ink calculation.
Minor marginal wormholding to last third of text, a few minor spots of soiling, binding handsome. A very nearly fine copy.