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Cornelius Nepos. De vita Catonis. senioris [.] Sextus. Aurelius de vitis caesarum [.] Benevenutis. Imolensis. De [i.e. Libellus augustalis, all ed. L. Abstemius.](Fano: G. Soncino, 25 February

NEPOS Cornelius (1504))


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8vo (150 x 90mm.) ff. [68], 30 lines to a full page, 3-line initial spaces (most with guide letters), modern calf


This collection of historical texts has been gathered together as practical illustrations of history necessary for a man of action, as was Federico da Montefeltro, who had in fact conquered Fano and restored it to the papacy in 1463. Copies are rare outside Italy; they are recorded by OCLC at the British Library, Cambridge, JRL Manchester, Freiburg, UCLA (Ahmanson Murphy Collection), Yale and Hawaii UL.

The three texts included are brief and apposite: the short life of Cato by Nepos, an abbreviated version of Aurelius Victor (Augustus to Theodosius), and the Liber augustalis of the 14th century writer Benvenuto [Rambaldi] da Imola, best known for his commentary on Dante.

Laurentius Abstemius (Lorenzo Bevilacqua) was born at Macerata about 1450. His first books, collections of fables, were printed in Venice in the 1490s. He was (as he tells us in the dedication) at one time librarian to Federico [da Montefeltro], duke of Urbino (1422-1482), famous for his library and patronage. Soncino (Gershom or Girolamo) was the grandson of a German immigrant Jew Samuel Mentzlen, who settled at Fano in 1454. Girolamo was active in Fano, a town on the eastern coast of Italy in the province of Pesaro (where he also printed from 1507) and Urbino. He was there at first involved in the printing of Hebrew books then moved to Brescia, where he printed four Hebrew books in 1490-2, and then briefly to Barco, where two items were printed in September 1496. He was in Fano again from 1501 until 1507, when he transferred most of his activity to Pesaro until 1514. He was back in Fano in 1515, printed some nine or so works, and left the town for good in 1517.  Mostly printed in Latin, and a number also edited by Abstemius, these little books are all therefore the products of a small circle of humanists, and must have been intended largely for local distribution.

Provenance: Giuseppe Francesco Angeli (inscription on title-page); Kenneth Rapoport (book label.) CNCE 13341.

Stock Code: 47938