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Sabellicus, Marcus Antonius Coccius (1436-1506)

Rapsodiae historiarum Enneadum... ab orbe condito pars prima (-posterior) quinque complectens Enneades Paris, Josse Bade for Jean Petit, 5 January 1513 - 1 March 1516

€ 28.500
Rare example of a Neapolitan 'speaking-binding' with lettering on the lower cover
Sabellicus, Marcus Antonius Coccius (1436-1506). Rapsodiae historiarum Enneadum... ab orbe condito pars prima (-posterior) quinque complectens Enneades. Paris, Josse Bade for Jean Petit, 5 January 1513 - 1 March 1516

Two volumes, folio (321x205 mm). Collation: I. ã12, ê10, a-z8, A-Z8, &8, cum8, rum10. [22], CCCXCIIII leaves. II. ãã10, ê8, aa-qq8, rr10, ss-zz8, AA-VV8, XX10. [18], CCCLV [i.e. CCCLVI] leaves. Complete with the last leaf blank. Roman and gothic type. Title-pages printed in red and black, framed within woodcut architectural border. Bade's device of a printer's press on each title-page. Woodcut decorated and animated initials on criblé ground throughout, several on fourteen lines. Fine uniform contemporary, probably Neapolitan gilt-tooled red morocco, over pasteboards. Tooled in blind and gold to a panel design, broad gilt border formed from repeated impressions of a 'peacock's tail' motif, central gilt arabesque, small floral tools at inner and outer corners of border, lower covers lettered in gilt 'ENNEADVM SABELLICI PARS PRIOR.' and 'ENNEADVM SABELLICI PARS POSTERIOR' respectively. Remains of four pairs of ties, edges speckled in red and blue. Slightly rubbed, skilful repairs at foot of spines and corners, small areas of re-gilding. A very fine, wide-margined copy, a few spots and foxing in places. Waterstain to the last leaves of the first volume; in the second volume, small repair to the blank lower corner of the front flyleaf and title-page. A few paper flaws, some minor spots and stains.

Provenance: Giorgio Teodoro Trivulzio, Count of Melzo (1542–1612; ownership inscription on the title-page of each volume, 'Georgius Triuultius'; repeated on fol. a1r of the first volume, and on fol. aa1r of the second one).

A superb, wide-margined copy – in an exquisite contemporary Italian speaking-binding – of this monumental world history since the Creation, written by the fifteenth- century Venetian Marco Antonio Coccio Sabellico. The first part of the Enneades ab orbe condito was originally published in Venice in 1498, and the author subsequently wrote a continuation up until 1504. Josse Bade had first printed the work in 1509; this second edition was printed between 1513 and 1516, and opens with his prefatory epistle to Guillaume Petit, already appended to the publication of 1509. The title-pages are framed within a fine Roman portico with two sculptured columns, with antique elements, such as vases, Roman heads copied from coins, mythological animals, and cuirasses. Apart from the upper panel, this title-border is identical to the architectural frame first seen in the Cicero printed by Bade in 1511 – the first Renaissance title-border used in Paris – which reproduces the border first used for Livius' Decades, printed in Venice in 1493.

The volumes are in their original, richly gilt-tooled binding. De Marinis describes a very similar binding on a Cyrillus Alexandrinus (Paris 1508) now in the Museo Civico di Arte Antica, Turin. It is assigned to Naples, and displays the same 'peacock's tail' tool, along with similar lettering on the lower cover (Legatura artistica in Italia, T, no. 272, pl. LIII). The provenance of the volumes is highly distinguished: they once belonged to the nobleman Giorgio Teodoro Trivulzio, of one of the most illustrious Milanese families. He was a member of the College of Jurisconsults of Milan and became a senator in 1571 (for another book once belonging to him see no. 53).

Renouard Bade, pp. 224-226; Imprimeurs et Libraires II, 230; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 57.