Homerus (8th century BC).
Ομήρον Ιλιάς... Strasbourg, Wolfgang Köpfel, 1525. (together with:) Idem. Οδύσσεια, Βατραχομνομαχία, Υμνοι. λβ. Strasbourg, Wolfgang Köpfel, 1525.
Two works, in two volumes, 8°. I. (161x91 mm). Collation: A-Z8, AA-MM8. 277,  leaves. Greek type. Title-page within a woodcut border depicting subjects from the Iliad, possibly by Hans Weiditz d.J.; woodcut printer's device on the title-page and on fol. I8v. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. II. (161x95 mm). Collation: A8, b-z8, A-I8, aa-gg8. 251,  leaves. Complete with fols I4v and I8r blank. Title-page within a woodcut border depicting subjects from the Odyssey, possibly by Hans Weiditz d.J; woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Uniformly bound in contemporary blind-tooled black leather, over pasteboards. Traces of ties. Spine with four raised bands. Both volumes are very well preserved. In the first volume, outer margin lightly short and some minor loss to the blank outer corner of one leaf; in volume two, waterstain to gutter and lower margin of some quires. Repairs to corners, spine heads and joints of both volumes, spines slightly rubbed. A few interlinear Latin notes on fol. MM8r.
Provenance: Étienne Desprez, president of the Besançon school and correspondent, between 1529-34, of Erasmus of Rotterdam (ownership inscription on the title-page of the second volume, 'Sum Stephanj a pratis'); De Valimbert family from Besançon (ownership inscription on the title-page of the first volume, 'Jo. Fred. de Valimbert'; on the last verso and on the verso of last flyleaf: 'Carolus Valimbertus Rhetore Bisuntinae').
The first complete edition of Homer's works printed outside Italy. The printer, Wolfgang Köpfel (or 'Cephalaeus', as the colophon in both volumes states), introduced Homer to the German Renaissance, the great poet having previously only been known in German-speaking areas though the Batrachomyomachia (1513) and the first book of Ilias (1516).
The 1525 Homer is rare and can be “found only in very few collections” (Dibdin, Introduction, p. 375). It is rarer still to find both volumes together, as they usually tend to appear separately.
Homer's texts were edited by philologist Johannes Lonicerus (1499-1569), who had studied in Wittenberg under the influential Reformation humanist Philipp Melanchton. In his prefatory epistles – both addressed to Melanchton – Lonicerus identifies the canon of Greek poetry in Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar, and stresses not only the beauty of language and narrative of the Homeric poems, but also their vastness of wisdom, moral meaning, and pedagogic function. The texts are mainly based on the Florentine editio princeps of 1488, and the variant readings are included at the end of each volume. Both title-pages are framed with fine woodcut borders that depict Homer himself as well as scenes and subjects from the Iliad (the duel between Hector and Achilles, the city of Troy, and Priam's family) and the Odyssey (Ulysses in the island of the Phaecians and the return to Ithaca), possibly executed by German artist Hans Weiditz the Younger (1495-1537), famous for his woodcut embellishments to Brunsfels's Herbarum vivae eicones.
The publishing initiative enjoyed great success, and three subsequent Köpfel editions followed in 1534, 1542, and 1550.
Adams H-746; VD16 H-4652/4692; Ritter Repertoire, 1189-1190; Benzing-Muller, 55-56; Chrisman p. 74 (A3.3.4-5); Hoffmann II, p. 315; Young Homer, p. 180; Homer in Print, Chicago 2013, A7 (only the Odyssea of 1525); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 74.