History and Archeology Philobiblon

One Thousand Years of Bibliophily from the 11th to the 21st Century

242. Ioannes, Diaconus (ca. 965-1018)

Chronicon Venetum omnium quae circumferuntur vetustissimum et Johanni Sagornino vulgo tributum e Mss. codice Apostoli Zeno V.Cl. nunc primum Cum Mss. Codicibus Vaticanis collatum, Notisque illustratum in lucem profert. H. Fr. Zanetti Al. F. Venice, 1765.

Small 4° (218x131 mm). Printed on blue paper. XIX, [1], 131, [1] pages. Woodcut headpiece and decorated initial on fol. A2r. Fine contemporary, possibly French, red straight-grain morocco, over pasteboards. Covers within triple gilt fillet. Spine with five small raised bands, compartments decorated in gilt with diagonal of dotted fillets, small floral tools, and dots. Title in gold on red morocco lettering-piece. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, board edges gilt ruled, inside dentelles. Green silk bookmark. Yellow edges. A very good, wide-margined copy, printed on strong paper, and reglé throughout in red ink. A few minor spots; some leaves slightly browned and waterstained on the lower margin. Small tear to the lower margin of fol. A5, without any loss.

The first edition of the Chronicon Venetum, a significant medieval source for Venetian history. This Chronicle of Venice was written in the early eleventh century, and its composition is generally attributed to Ioannes Diaconus.

The Chronicon was edited by Girolamo Francesco Zanetti (1723-1782) on the basis of a manuscript then in the possession of the Venetian scholar Apostolo Zeno (1669-1750), whose textual version was collated with two codices preserved in the Vatican Library.

The work enjoyed lasting popularity; counting among its legacy of readers was the especially noteworthy English critic and writer John Ruskin (1819-1900), who referenced the Chronicon Venetum in his celebrated work on Venetian art and architecture, The Stones of Venice, which first appeared in 1851.

Cicogna 583; B. Rosada, “Il Chronicon Venetum di Giovanni Diacono”, Ateneo veneto, 28 (1990), pp. 79-94; Ioannes Diaconus, La cronaca veneziana, ed. M. De Biasi, Venezia 1986-1988; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 242.

265. Polybius (200-118 BC)

Polybii Megalopolitani Historiarum quidquid superest. Recensuit, digessit, emendatiore interpretatione, varietate lectionis, indicibus illustravit Johannes Schweighaeuser... Tom. i. [- Tom. iv]. Editio nova. Oxford, William Baxter, J. Parker, and R. Bliss; London, George Whittaker and W. B. Whittaker, 1823. [together with:] Schweighauser, Johann (1742-1830). Lexicon Polybianum ab Is. et Merico Casaubonis olim adumbratum inde ab Jo. Aug. Ernesti elaboratum nunc ab Joanne Schweighaeusero passim emendatum.... William Baxter for George Whittaker, W. B. Whittaker, and J. Parker, 1822.

Two works, in a set of five volumes, 8° (213x131 mm). I. [4], clxxxv, [3], 448 pages; [4], 542 pages; [4], 560 pages; [4], 287, [1], 84, [166] pages. Text in Greek and Latin. The Index historicus et geographicus in the fourth volume printed in two columns. II. vii, [1], 495, [1] pages. Text in Greek and Latin, printed in two columns. Contemporary uniform bindings, polished honey calf over pasteboards. Covers within double gilt fillet. Spines with five small raised bands, richly gilt tooled, titles and volume numbering on double lettering-pieces. Board edges decorated with gilt frieze, inside dentelles. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves. Edges marbled. Extremities of spines slightly rubbed; the upper lower corner of the Lexicon Polybianum somewhat bumped. A very fine set, minor foxing in places; minor loss to the lower blank corner of fol. GG3 of the fourth volume.

Provenance: the English politician Charles James Monk (1824-1900), gifted by him in July 1843 to his friend Edmund Rolley Pollexfen Bastard (Monk's address in the first volume of Polybii Historiae, on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'Edmund R. P. Bastard from his very sincere friend Charles James Monk. Eton. July 1843'; Bastard's armorial ex-libris on the rear pastedown of each volume).

A fine, beautifully bound set, comprising the four-volume edition of Polybius' complete works – presented here in the second edition – edited by Johann Schweighauser, and supplemented with his special Lexicon Polybianum. The first edition of Schweighauser's Polybius had appeared in 1789-1795. The first volume opens with a lengthy preface by the sixteenth-century French Hellenist Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614), taken from his Latin translation of Polybius' works, which was published posthumously in 1617. This is followed by Schweighauser's preface, in which the philologist acknowledges his debt to Casaubon. “Casaubon's Polybius has deserved that Schweighauser should say of it, that there is not a page of it, which does not show how much Polybius owes to the learning and sagacity of that industrious editor” (M. Pattison, Isaac Casaubon, p. 224). For the Lexicon Polybianum Schweighauser had likewise relied on materials previously collected by Casaubon, and more recently by the German scholar Johann August Ernesti (1707-1781).

The present set has a very interesting provenance, as the volumes were given as a gift by a then-young Charles James Monk – the English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1857 and 1885 – to his friend Edmund Rodney Pollexfen Bastard, son of a known Tory politician. Both Monk and Bastard were educated at Eton College and Trinity College in Cambridge.

Hoffmann III, p. 267; M. Pattison, Isaac Casaubon, London 1875; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 265.

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