2 MARTIALIS, Marcus Valerius / Epigrammata 106


Description: Nice copy of the first Aldine edition

MARTIALIS, Marcus Valerius.

(Colophon: Venice, Aldus Manutius the Elder, December 1501). 8vo. 17th-century calf, spine gilt in compartments with title lettered in gold. [191], [1 blank] ll.

Rare first Aldine edition (second edition of 1517 is a mere reprint) of Martial's Epigrams, and the 5th book printed in Aldus's italics. The editio princeps had been published in Ferrara in 1471. There is no normal title: on the first leaf only 'Martialis' is printed in capitals; on the verso is the letter Plinius Junior to Cornelius Priscus on Martialis (Plinius, Epist. III, 21). The imprint is found at the end: the colophon reads: 'Venetiis in aedibus Aldi mense decembri. M.DI.', followed by a printer's warning: 'Quisquis es qui quo quomodo huiusce excusionis ergo adversus ieris, damnatus esto et reus ill.s.v. ne dicas tibi non praedictum. Cave'.
Of this edition a forgery has been made in Lyon. It bears no date, but according to Brunet is must have been before 1503. This forgery can be distinguished from the original (our edition) by the following: on the first page one reads 'Amphiteatrum' instead of 'Amphitheatrum' in the heading and 'se posita' instead of 'seposita' in the last but one line. Of this forgery two issues exist, both without date and foliation. In the first issue all Greek passages, as printed in the original, are left blank and in the second issue some of the Greek passages are translated into Latin (Brunet III, col. 1490).
Martialis, who lived in the first century AD (ca. 38 - 103 AD), brought the Latin epigram to perfection and provided in it a picture of Roman society during the early empire that is remarkable both for its completeness and for its accurate portrayal of human imperfections. His epigrams were also considered as of a high educational value.

Crossed out ownership's entry and later 'probationes pennae' on title; some contemporary and later ms. annotations; some browning and staining; spine damaged (repaired). Good copy.
Adams M-689; Ahmanson-Murphy I, 37; Brunet III, cols. 1489-90 ('édition rare'); Dibdin II, p. 229; Renouard p. 30, no. 7; STC Italian p. 420; The Aldine press 47.
  • Number: 1060635
  • Dealer: Robert Putman