1514 Sallust Opera Roman History Politics Catiline Conspiracy War Post-incunable For Sale


[Early Printing - Post-Incunabula - Lyons] [Latin Classics] [History - Ancient - Roman Republic] [Jugurthine War] [Catilinarian Conspiracy]
[Marcus Tullius Cicero] [Renaissance Humanists - France - Josse Bade]
[Fine Bookbindings - Renaissance - French]

Printed by Jean de la Place [for Simon Vincent], Lyons, 15 November 1514.
Text in Latin. Illustrated with woodcuts.
Edited with commentary of Josse Bade (1462-1535).
RARE: WorldCat locates only 3 copies in the US.

This extremely rare and finely printed in royal quarto post-incunable edition of Sallust's collected works includes Josse Bade's (aka Badius Ascensius) important humanist commentary Explanatio familiaris, first printed in 1504 (and has Josse Bade's dedication to Archbishop of Lyon, François de Rohan dated Nov. 1504).

The volume is embellished with a fine woodcut title border composed of 15 bust portraits, including Sallust (top center) and Pomponius [?Laetus] and Badius (at top of left and right panels, respectively) and other scholars, most holding books, PLEASANTLY HAND-COLORED IN CONTEMPORARY HAND. There are three further woodcuts in text.

The edition contains Sallust's two major works, Conjuratio catilinae and Bellum Iugurthinum, as well as fragments of his Historiae (including Lepidus' invective against Sulla, Pompei's epistle to the Senate, Mithridates' epistle to Arsaxes, etc.). Also included are the (possibly spurious) Sallust's orations to Caesar on the republic Ad caesarem senem de republica, an attack upon Cicero (Invectiva in Ciceronem), attributed to Sallust, and Cicero's counter-invective, as well as several additional works dealing with the relevant events of the Roman history, such as Portius Latro's invective against Catiline, Cicero's Orations against Catiline, etc.

Jose Bade's Explanatio familiaris was "the first commentary on the Sallustian corpus as a whole. [...] [It] belonged to the genre of line-by-line pedagogical commentary." (Paul Oskar Kristeller (Ed.), Catalogus Translationum Et Commentariorum, Vol.8).

Gaius Sallustius Crispus, usually anglicised as Sallust (86-34 B.C.) was a Roman historian and statesman. He was a novus homo from a provincial plebeian family, born at Amiternum in the country of the Sabines and was a popularist, opposer of the old Roman aristocracy throughout his career, and later a partisan of Julius Caesar. Sallust is the earliest known Roman historian with surviving works to his name, of which we have Catiline's Conspiracy (about the conspiracy in 63 BC of L. Sergius Catilina), The Jugurthine War (about Rome's war against the Numidians from 111 to 105 BC), and the Histories (of which only fragments survive). Sallust was primarily influenced by the Greek historian Thucydides and amassed great (and ill-gotten) wealth from his governorship of Africa.

He was a strong critic of the old Roman aristocracy and the senate, and most of his works dwell upon their degeneracy and feebleness. "Tacitus spoke highly of Sallust, and Quintilian regarded him as superior to Livy and even put him on a level with Thucydides. On the whole the verdict of antiquity was favourable to Sallust as an historian. He struck out for himself practically a new line in literature, his predecessors having been little better than mere dry-as-dust chroniclers, whereas he endeavoured to explain the connexion and meaning of events, and was successful delineator of character." (Encyclopedia Britannica)

"Sallust is now represented mainly by two historical monographs. That on the conspiracy of Catiline is apparently founded on personal knowledge and on hearsay, there being no trace of any indebtedness to literary documents or original authorities. It is not without chronological and historical inaccuracies, but the author aims at a strict impartiality. He treats Cicero with tact, neither overpraising nor over-blaming him, while he fully appreciates the high character of Cato, and displays a personal partiality for Caesar, taking pains to indicate that he was not implicated in the conspiracy. He touches on the general characteristics of the age and on the motives of its leading men, summing up his opinions on these and other topics with epigrammatic point. His monograph on the Jugurthine War has the same merits and the same defects, but is founded on more careful research, and is more even in its general plan, and more polished in its execution. The speeches inserted in his Catiline are not historically authentic, but (like those of Thucydides) are true to the character of the speakers. His brevity and abruptness, his archaisms and his Graecisms, were noted by ancient critics. Modern writers have traced his reminiscences of Thucydides, Demosthenes, and Xenophon, and have surmised his indebtedness to Poseidonius. [...] He was imitated by Tacitus, and, in a later age, admired by Fronto and by Gellius. He is the earliest scientific historian in Latin literature. His maturest work, the five books of his Histories, dealing with the years 78-67 BC, is now represented only by four speeches and two letters, together with a considerable number of fragments." (John Edwin Sandys, ed., A Companion to Latin Studies, p.661)

The Conspiracy of Catiline (Sallust's first published work) relates the history of the memorable year 63 BC. Sallust adopts the usually accepted view of Catiline, and describes him as the deliberate foe of law, order and morality. (Note that Catiline had supported the party of Sulla, which Sallust had opposed.) While he inveighs against Catiline's depraved character and vicious actions, he does not fail to note his many noble traits. In particular, Sallust shows Catiline as deeply courageous in his final battle. In writing about the conspiracy of Catiline, Sallust's tone, style, and descriptions of aristocratic behavior show him as deeply troubled by the moral decline of Rome. This subject gave Sallust the opportunity of showing off his rhetoric at the expense of the old Roman aristocracy, whose degeneracy he delighted to paint in the blackest colours. The work was probably written between 44 and 40 BC. However, Louis MacKay proposed a different dating. According to him, the Catiline was prepared by Sallust in 50 BC as a political pamphlet, but wasn't published; after the civil war Sallust reviewed it and finally published.

Sallust's Jugurthine War is a brief monograph recording the war against Jugurtha in Numidia from c. 112 BC to 105 BC. Its true value lies in the introduction of Marius and Sulla to the Roman political scene and the beginning of their rivalry. Sallust's time as governor of Africa Nova ought to have let the author develop a solid geographical and ethnographical background to the war; however, this is not evident in the monograph despite a diversion on the subject because Sallust's priority in the Jugurthine War, as with the Catiline Conspiracy, is to use history as a vehicle for his judgement on the slow destruction of Roman morality and politics.

Of Sallust's larger and most important work, Historiae ("Histories"), only fragments are extant. The work, intended as a continuation of Cornelius Sisenna's work, presented a history of Rome from 78 to 67, and must have thrown much light on a very eventful period, embracing the war against Sertorius (died 72 BC), the campaigns of Lucullus against Mithradates VI of Pontus (75-66 BC), and the victories of Pompey in the East (66-62 BC).

Jodocus Badius (or Josse Bade) (1462-1535) was a pioneer of the printing industry, and a renowned humanist philologist, grammarian and pedagogue. Sometimes called Badius Ascensius from the village of Assche near Brussels in Flemish Brabant, where he was born, Badius initially worked as an editor and proof-reader for the printer Jean Trechsel in Lyon (1492-1498). He then moved to Paris where he set up a printing shop in 1503, and eventually became an eminent printer at Paris. His establishment came to be known as the Prelum Ascensianum. He was also a scholar of considerable repute, had studied at Brussels and Ferrara, and, before settling in Paris, had taught Greek for several years at Lyon.

Bibliographic references:

Schweiger II, 896; Renouard, Badius, III, 235-6.

Physical description:

Royal quarto, textblock measures 247 mm x 172 mm (9¾" x 6¾"). Bound to style in modern blind-stamped half-pigskin over wooden boards with paper title-label lettered in gothic affixed on front cover.

Foliation: [6], 144 leavess (forming 300 pages), numbered in roman numeral.
Signatures: A6 a-s8.
Collated and COMPLETE.

Text printed in large gothic type, surrounded by commentary printed in smaller gothic. Title in red and black, within ornamental woodcut border which incorporates portraits of Sallust, Laetus, Badius, et al., fully hand-colored in contemporary hand; three woodcut illustrations in text (on a1r, m6r and n8r); numerous decorative woodcut initials. Woodcut device of Simon Vincent on verso of last leaf (s8v).

Preliminaries include Badius' dedicatory epistle to Archbishop of Lyon, François de Rohan, on verso of title; index on leaves A2r-A3v, as well as Life of Sallust and other prefatory material by Badius, Pomponius Laetus, Philippus Beroaldus, etc.

Condition:

Good antiquarian condition. Complete, tastefully rebound. Some worming to textblock throughout, beginning with just five or six tiny wormholes which become more numerous towards the end of the volume, but with the holes remaining rather small (only on several leaves one or two of the holes elongate into a short track), and mostly not interfering with legibility of the text except on a very few occasions. Some leaves with manuscript annotations in a scholarly 16th-century hand with some interlinear and, occasionally, marginal notes; occasional ink-smudges and a a few small ink-blots. Verso of the final leaf with copious 16th-century notes, scribbles and drawings (several faces and a sword). Some partial coloring in red in contemporary hand to the woodcut on leaf n8r. Otherwise, a solid, unrestored (apart from the rebinding), wide-margined example with a very attractively hand-colored title border.


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