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[Plinius Secundus, Gaius Caecilius (61-113 AD), attributed to]..

C. Plinio De li homini illustri in lingua Senese traducto et brevemente commentato. Opera del Cone.

[Plinius Secundus, Gaius Caecilius (61-113 AD), attributed to].. C. Plinio De li homini illustri in lingua Senese traducto et brevemente commentato. Opera del Cone. Siena, Simone Nardi, 30 March 1506.

4° (205x136 mm). Collation: A-N8 (fol. E3 signed as E2). [104] leaves. Nardi's full-page woodcut printer's device on the verso of the last leaf. Six astronomical and geographical woodcuts and one full-page pictorial world map. Numerous woodcut decorated initials on black ground. Flyleaves renewed. Seventeenth-century vellum over pasteboards, recased. Smooth spine with gilt title and early shelfmarks ‘A8' and ‘47'. A good copy. A few wormholes, marginal foxing and soiling throughout, restoration in blank outer margin of first six leaves, some stains to fols. D4 and N1-N3. Some early marginalia.

First edition in Italian vernacular of De viris illustribus urbis Romae, a collection of short texts dedicated to notable people and events from Roman history, including seventy-seven biographies of celebrated Romans, from Procas to Pompey. It is ascribed here to Gaius Plinius Caecilius (probably Pliny the Younger); however, the source, date, and author of the composition remain undetermined, and the work has, over time, been variously attributed to Sextus Aurelio Vittore, Cornelio Nepos, and Svetonius. The Latin text was translated into Italian by the Sienese professor and man of letters Pietro di Bartolomaeo di Conone Raneoni, who dedicated his publishing initiative to Minosse Boncompane and Pandolfo Petrucci. The edition is highly esteemed for its geographical and astronomical woodcut illustrations, and above all for the mappa mundi, which identifies continents and oceans, and splits the globe into two, placing the Old World (Europe, Asia, Africa, India) in the upper half and the Habitabilis Antipodium in the lower half, surrounded by ocean. This map is modeled on the celebrated map of the Medieval world which first appeared in the edition of Macrobius' In somnium Scipionis expositio printed in Brescia in 1483 (see Shirley 13). The Macrobian map had a large manuscript transmission from the fifth century, and was doubtless the most influential pre-Renaissance world map. The woodblock was re-used in subsequent fifteenth-century editions of Macrobius, issued in Brescia as well as in Venice, and from the early sixteenth century the map also circulated in slightly different forms in other Italian printing centres, as this Sienese edition of 1506 attests. The book was printed by the cartolaro Simone Nardi, who is famous for having adopted one of the finest devices in the history of early Italian printing. The emblem depicts Romulus and Remus with the shewolf, above a shield bearing the letter ‘S' and a star, with the motto ‘Romae origo, Senae que insignia' on the top. Only two copies of this edition of Plinius are held in American institutions: at the University of California, Los Angeles and at Harvard University's Houghton Library.

Mortimer Italian 534; Sander 5.

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