Allacci, Leone (ca. 1586-1669).
Apes Urbanae sive de viris illustribus, qui ab anno MDCXXX per totum MDCXXXII Romae abfuerunt, ac typis aliquid euulgarunt. Rome, Grignani Lodovico [Lodovico Grignani], 1633.
8° (176x115 mm). Collation: A-R8, [χ]2. 276 pages. Roman and italic type. Large engraved vignette with the Barberini coat of arms on the title-page. Woodcut decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, with inked title on spine, and the number '31'. A good copy, slightly browned and waterstained (more prominant at the beginning), the last leaf of the index has a tear in the lower blank margin, without any loss. Later notes on the rear flyleaf and pastedown.
Provenance: gifted by the author himself to Giacomo Filippo Tomasini (1595-1655; address in Allacci's own hand on the title-page 'Jacobo Philippo Tomasino Roma misit Autor').
An exceptional presentation copy – given as a gift by the author to Giacomo Filippo Tomasini – of the first edition of the Apes Urbanae, the famous 'who's who' of men of letters, philosophers, and scientists living in Rome during the pontificate of Urban VIII, and perhaps the first such register of contemporary intellectuals ever published.
The leading Greek scholar Leone Allacci – a teacher at the Greek College in Rome who later became librarian for Cardinal Francesco Barberini and then custodian of the Vatican Library in 1661 – dedicated his work to the Pope's nephew Cardinal Antonio Barberini. The Apes Urbanae – literally 'Pope Urban VIII's bees' – represents a celebration of the Barberini family's multi-faceted cultural and artistic patronage and contains several hundred entries, arranged in alphabetical order by first name, as was customary for the time. The entries give short biographical information about the authors and provide a list of their writings. This is the earliest work to contain a bibliographical entry devoted to Galileo Galilei. The entry includes a list of his works, along with other figures who were influenced by him, such as Giulio Cesare Lagalla. As the preface is signed 13 February 1633, the entry could well have included the Dialogo (1632), although it does not. A manuscript of the Vatican Library (Vat. Lat. 7075) containing an earlier version of Allacci's work allows us to trace the significant changes that the entry on Galileo underwent before publication. These changes clearly reflect the ambiguous attitude of Maffeo Barberini towards Galileo, on whose celestial discoveries he had written a eulogy before distancing himself from the scientist and his heliocentrism. Allaccis's report turns from an initial exaltation of Galileo in the manuscript to an ambiguous and mutilated version in which the final eulogy was cut and the list of works left incomplete.
The volume was gifted by Allacci to Giacomo Filippo Tomasini (1595-1655), Bishop of Città Nuova, near Padua, and author in 1635 of the well-known Petrarch biography, the Petrarcha redivivus. Tomasini was a refined collector of portraits with a great interest in the long-established tradition of illustrated biographies, and in Padua in 1630 he had published the first volume of his Illustrium virorum elogia iconibus exornata (the second and a third volumes appeared in 1644 and 1647, respectively).
The personal and intellectual relationship between Allacci and Tomasini is evinced by their correspondence and collaboration for the publication of Cardano's Opera, edited by Gabriel Naudé (1661).
STC 17th Century, 21; Carli-Favaro, 134; T. Cerbu – M.-P. Lerner, “La disgrâce de Galilée dans les Apes Urbanae. Sur la fabrique du texte de Leone Allacci”, Nuncius, 15 (2000), pp. 589-610; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 198.