[Rome], D.D.L.D.S.P.V. [= Oliverius Servius] 1481.
Folio (280 x 211 mm.). p. Roman type, shoulder notes, initial spaces blank.
18th-century gilt-ruled red morocco (scuffed), spine and labels gilt, board edges and turn-ins gilt, all edges gilt, pink silk marker.
First Edition: the first appearance in any form of Flavio Biondo’s (1392-1463) immensely influential Decades, covering a thousand years of European history, from the sack of Rome in 410 to the mid-15th century. It revolutionized the writing of history by prioritizing the manuscripts chronologically and geographically closest to the events. It also contains ONE OF THE FIRST LITERARY HISTORIES OF THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE. It immediately became the reading of princes, clerics, scholars and merchants.
Biondo’s wide popularity, however, rests on this abridgment — a third the size of the original — made by the humanist pope Pius II, who “provided an ideological purpose for the new kind of historiography…history as a support for the policies and the aims of the Papacy” (Cochrane).
This is Servius’ first dated book. He produced only five editions in four years. A nice wide-margined copy (three bifolias slightly foxed, early repair to one blank margin), a couple of manuscript notes, scattered manuscript catchwords (trimmed); 19th-century bookplate of Ivan Petr, Count Suchtelen (1751-1836), shelf label in Russian completed in manuscript, imperial Russian stamp on the first recto, purchase note of George Petit (1878-1956) dated July 1933.
¶Cochrane, Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance 34-48; ISTC ip00654000; Goff P-654.