Messina, P. Spira 1562.
4to. [xii], 220 leaves. Fleurons in the text and on the title.
Late 17th-century gilt-ruled red morocco (joints worn), GILT ARMS OF JEAN-JACQUES CHARRON MARQUIS DE MÉNARS, spine compartments with his gilt cipher and the title, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt.
First Edition: A HYBRID BOOK. Renowned for his work in mathematics, astronomy and optics, Maurolico wrote this history of Sicily on commission from the Senate of Messina, which sought to advance the city’s claims to political preeminence on the island. Maurolico describes Sicily’s topography, administrative organization, money, trade fairs, monuments, famous men and ancient history (mythological and actual). Two-thirds of his narrative treat medieval and contemporary events.
Some of his recent history suffered excision by the authorities.
The marquis de Ménars (1643-1718) sought out the suppressed passages, had them copied onto twenty-one blank leaves (watermark arms of Colbert, like Gaudriault, Filigranes…en France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles 74) then had these bound in, where the controversial text belonged. In 1706 his library passed to Cardinal A.-G. Rohan (1674-1749) and by descent to Chas. de Rohan prince de Soubise (1715-87; Soubise manuscript shelfmark, Catalogue (1788) 6720), thence to bibliophile and novelist Wm. Beckford (1760-1844; Hamilton Palace Catalogue (1882) 2333), to Quaritch (their memorial bookplate) and to Lucius Wilmerding (1880-1949, bookplate, Sale (1951) 200). In good condition (six tears neatly mended, no loss).
¶Cochrane, Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance 261-2; Mira, Bibliografia siciliana II: 58 “Raro”; EDIT16 CNCE 46813.