Basle, H. Petri 1549.
8vo. [xxx], [ii blank], [iix], 647, p. Double-column, parallel Greek text and Latin translation.
CONTEMPORARY DARK CALF (neatly restored), blind-ruled frames, gilt corner fleurons, gilt flowers and stars in the center, gilt stars on the spine.
ANNOTATED THROUGHOUT BY JACQUES-AUGUSTE DE THOU AT AGE TWENTY. He (1553-1617) acquired this copy in 1573, a transitional year spent in Paris, between his legal studies and his Italian travels.
Among the earliest purchases he made for his library, this book offered a template for his life’s work, A History of His Own Times (1604-9): “an unsurpassable model…the heir of ancient historiography” (DLLF, tr.). It covers the sixty-four years from 1543 to 1607, marked by unrest and civil war in France.
Herodian, a Roman historian who wrote in Greek, also chose a tumultuous period — the fifty-eight years from 180 to 238. He recounts the reigns of seventeen Emperors, many assassinated. Both men were eye witnesses to some of the events they record.
DE THOU MARKED UP THE GREEK TEXT ON EVERY PAGE, underscoring words and passages as mnemonics and glossing the margins with citations to secondary sources. These reveal his reading habits, his developing sense of historical method (comparing differing accounts of the same events) and the books he had to hand while reading Herodian, whom de Thou credits with informing his views (History, Book LXVII).
This copy passed with the rest of de Thou’s library to his heirs (Catalogus (1704) I: 292), the marquis de Ménars, Cardinal Gaston de Rohan (1674-1749) and Charles de Rohan, prince de Soubise (1715-87; characteristic manuscript shelf mark appears at the top of the front pastedown); signatures of Maurice Desbirons dated 1965.
¶Hoffmann, Bibliographisches Lexicon der…Litteratur der Griechen II: 222; Dictionnaire des littératures de la langue française IV: 2469; VD 16 H 249.