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Diogenes Laertius De Vita & Moribus Philosophorum 1490 Incunabula Epicurus 4tonr For Sale

Diogenes Laertius De Vita & Moribus Philosophorum 1490 Incunabula Epicurus 4tonr

THE CHIEF CONTINUOUS SOURCE FOR THE HISTORY OF GREEK PHILOSPHY – Herbert Long

 

OFFERED WITH is THE RARE AND VERY DESIRABLE 1490 EDITION OF DIOGENES LAERTIUS’ ‘VITA ET MORIBUS PHILOSOPHORUM,’ (‘LIVES AND OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS’) printed in roman type in 42 lines per page at Venice in quarto by Bernardus Locatellus for Octavianus Scotus in 1490, the fourth printed edition of this work, translated by Ambrogius Traversarius, edited by Benedictus Brognolus, CONSTITUTING THE MOST IMPORTANT EXTANT SOURCE CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY AND THE LIVES OF THE PHILOSOPHERS, AS WELL AS THE EARLIEST EXTANT SOURCE FOR THE 40 ‘SOVRAN MAXIMS’ OF EPICURUS, bound in 18th century vellum, ADORNED WITH NUMEROUS FINE WOODCUT INITIALS, FURTHER ADORNED WITH COPIOUS 16TH CENTURY MANUSCRIPT COMMENTARY, AND COMPLETE IN ALL RESPECTS INCLUDING THE TITLE PAGE. The volume may be referenced as BMC v 438 and Goff D222 and HC 6202.

 

PROVENANCE: Previously in the Library of the Law Society of England.

 

DIOGENES’ ‘LIVES AND OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS’ IS “THE CHIEF CONTINUOUS SOURCE FOR THE HISTORY OF GREEK PHILOSPHY” (HERBERT LONG). INDEED, THE TEXT CONTAINS FULLY 82 BIOGRAPHIES. THE ‘LIVES AND OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS’ IS ALSO THE ONLY SURVIVING SOURCE FOR THE ‘SOVRAN MAXIMS’ OR PRINCIPAL DOCTRINES OF EPICURUS.

   

The title reads as follows:

 

“Diogenes laertius / De vita & moribus philosophorum.”

 

The opening of the incipit leaf reads as follows:

 

“Benedictus brognolus generosis patriciis venetis Laure[n]tio georgio: Iacoboq[ue] baduario salutem plurimam dicit.”

 

The colophon reads as follows:

 

“Impressum fuit Venetiis impensis nobilis viri Octaviani Scoticivis Modoe tie[n]sis. M.CCCCLXXXX [1490]. Decimoquinto kalendas Ianuarias...”

 

OF THE AUTHOR, DIOGENES LAERTIUS Diogenes Laertius (fl. 3rd century CE) was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is arguably the principal source for the history of early Greek philosophy.

 

Nothing is definitively known about his life, but Laertius must have lived after Sextus Empiricus (c. 200 CE), whom he mentions, and before Stephanus of Byzantium and Sopater of Apamea (c. 500 CE), who quote him. His work makes no mention of Neoplatonism, even though it is addressed to a woman who was "an enthusiastic Platonist". Hence he is assumed to have flourished in the first half of the 3rd century, during the reign of Alexander Severus (222–235) and his successors.

 

The precise form of his name is uncertain. The ancient manuscripts invariably refer to a "Laertius Diogenes", and this form of the name is repeated by Sopater and the Suda. The modern form "Diogenes Laertius" is much rarer, used by Stephanus of Byzantium, and in a lemma to the Greek Anthology. He is also referred to as "Laertes" or simply "Diogenes". The origin of the name "Laertius" is also uncertain. Stephanus of Byzantium refers to him as "Διογένης ὁ Λαερτιεύς" (Diogenes ho Laertieus), implying that he was the native of some town, perhaps the Laerte in Caria (or another Laerte in Cilicia). Another suggestion is that one of his ancestors had for a patron a member of the Roman family of the Laërtii. The prevailing modern theory is that "Laertius" is a nickname (derived from the Homeric epithet Diogenes Laertiade, used in addressing Odysseus) used to distinguish him from the many other people called Diogenes in the ancient world. His home town is not definitively established. A disputed passage in his writings has been used to suggest that it was Nicaea in Bithynia.

 

The work by which he is known, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, was written in Greek and professes to give an account of the lives and sayings of the Greek philosophers. Its value in giving insight into the private lives of the Greek sages led Montaigne to exclaim that he wished that instead of one Laërtius there had been a dozen. Diogenes is considered “the chief continuous source for the history of Greek philosophy." According to statements of the 14th-century monk Walter Burley in his De vita et moribus philosophorum, the text of Diogenes seems to have been much fuller than that which we now possess.

 

Diogenes divides his subjects into two "schools" which he describes as the Ionian/Ionic and the Italian/Italic; the division appears to be drawn from the lost doxography of Sotion. The biographies of the "Ionian school" begin with Anaximander and end The "Italian school" begins with Pythagoras and ends with Epicurus. The Socratic school, with its various branches, is classed with the Ionic, while the Eleatics and sceptics are treated under the Italic.

 

It has been suggested that Diogenes was an Epicurean or a Skeptic. He passionately defends Epicurus in Book 10, which is of high quality and contains three long letters (attributed to Epicurus) explaining Epicurean doctrines. He is impartial to all schools (in the manner of the ancient skeptics), and he carries the succession of Pyrrhonism further than the other schools. At one point, he even seems to refer to the Skeptics as "our school." In addition to the Lives, Diogenes was the author of a work in verse on famous men, in various metres.

 

THE VOLUME IS IN ABOUT VERY GOOD CONDITION INTERNALLY, with generally clean pages, clear print and ample margins throughout. The beautiful woodcut vine-work initials are excellent impressions throughout. The leaves a1 and a2 are notably toned with some staining. They also show fraying of the outer margin with minor loss to the blank margin but not affecting the text (this may clearly be seen in the photos below). The same fraying appears on the final leaf (o8), again without affecting the text. By a3 the volume has become quite clean, although a small stain appears on a8. Elsewhere through the volume one finds a little light and occasional foxing, but in general this is a very attractive incunabulum.

 

The 18th century vellum binding is in excellent condition, with strong hinges, a strong book-block, and only minor wear at the edges and corners. The volume measures about 22.5 cm by 16.5 cm by 2 cm; each leaf measures about 213 mm by 156 mm.

 

THE VOLUME IS COMPLETE IN ALL RESPECTS. It collates a-o8 and comprises 112 leaves.

 

In all, this is a very rare, important and pleasing example THE RARE AND VERY DESIRABLE 1490 EDITION OF DIOGENES LAERTIUS’ ‘VITA ET MORIBUS PHILOSOPHORUM,’ (‘LIVES AND OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS’) printed in roman type in 42 lines per page at Venice in quarto by Bernardus Locatellus for Octavianus Scotus in 1490, the fourth printed edition of this work, translated by Ambrogius Traversarius, edited by Benedictus Brognolus, CONSTITUTING THE MOST IMPORTANT EXTANT SOURCE CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY AND THE LIVES OF THE PHILOSOPHERS, AS WELL AS THE EARLIEST EXTANT SOURCE FOR THE 40 ‘SOVRAN MAXIMS’ OF EPICURUS, bound in 18th century vellum, ADORNED WITH NUMEROUS FINE WOODCUT INITIALS, FURTHER ADORNED WITH COPIOUS 16TH CENTURY MANUSCRIPT COMMENTARY, AND COMPLETE IN ALL RESPECTS INCLUDING THE TITLE PAGE,   and OFFERED WITH .

     

 

Please take the time necessary to review the photos below in order to gain a better understanding of the content and condition of the volume. Please also take a moment to view my other sales of rare and desirable English and Continental printed books dating from the 15th through the 19th century.

 

Shipment is free for customers in the United States and Canada. For U.S. clients we ship either FedEx Ground for large shipments or USPS Priority for single books or smaller amounts. We ship using Canada Post for Canadian customers.

 

Canadian buyers please note that we list on .com which automatically charges for international shipment. Your invoice will be amended to reflect free shipping.

 

We charge for shipment of international orders.  We try to ship using USPS flat rate priority-mail boxes and we charge for shipment at cost or slightly below. Small 12mo books are shipped for USD 20.00. The cost of shipment for any book in Octavo, Quarto or small folio format is USD 45.00. The cost of shipment for large folios or quartos of equivalent size is USD 58.00. Multiple folio volumes and sets are, of course, generally more expensive and the cost of their shipment will always be quoted in the listing. With all of our sales if an individual client wins multiple books we charge only charge for the shipment of one book and cover the cost of shipment of the rest. Please note that mobile devices do not yet display correctly the shipment costs for international customers. Please enquire or consult the non-mobile site in order to obtain complete information concerning the cost of shipment.

 

All purchases save those by Canadian clients are shipped from New York State once per week, weather permitting. If you require faster service or special handling please let us know and we will do our best to accomodate.

     


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