Venice, Aldus Manutius 1495/6.
Folio (313 x 210 mm.). [ii], , p. Greek and roman type, occasionally double-column.
Gilt Italian straight-grained green morocco (c. 1820, rubbed), outer floral roll frame, gilt-lettered spine, glazed pink paper endleaves, green silk marker, 17th-century manuscript title with a winged cherub and pen flourishes on the bottom edge.
EDITIONES PRINCIPES: FIRST ISSUE. This splendid folio contains Theocritus’ Idylls, Hesiod’s Birth of the Gods and Shield of Heracles and Theognis’ Seven Sages. Theocritus’ thirty pastorals established the genre and directly influenced Virgil, Dante, Spenser, Tasso, Milton, Wordsworth and Mallarmé. Aldus dedicated the book to Battista Guarino, his Greek tutor at Ferrara, who had requested a printed text of the Hesiod from which to teach.
A fine, large, unwashed copy with some uncut lower edges; from the collections of William Beckford (Catalogue (1883) 2530) and Prime Minister Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929).
¶Essling, Les Livres à figures vénetiens II(1): 888; Renouard, Annales de l’imprimerie des Alde 5-7,3 “très rare”; ISTC it00144000; Goff T-144.