P. Virgilius Maro, et in eum commentationes, & paralipomena Germani Valentis Guellii, pp. Eiusdem Virgilij appendix, cum Josephi Scaligeri commentariis & castigationibus.  

VERGILIUS MARO Publius (1575)


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folio (317 x 213mm.) [12], 630, [2], [14]; 98, [4]p., historiated initials (Q dated 1563),  later 18th-century English polished calf, gilt border on covers, spine gilt, 5 raised bands, joints a little weak, title-leaf a little dusty


Antwerp: C. Plantin (15 Calendas Iulii), 

A splendid extra illustrated copy. The 56 plates (almost all illustrating the Aeneid) are taken from 'Iconicae figurae quae in vetustissimo codice Virgiliano bibliothecae Vaticanae annum supra millesimum scripto et depicto visuntur' the title-page of which is bound stuck to the verso of the title-leaf. All the illustrations are  lettered in ink as to where in the text of Virgil they should be inserted, and many have tucked into the gutter 'captions'. This may well have been done in about 1760 in common with a few other books from the Macclesfield Library similarly 'grangerized'.

The  illustrations of the Vatican manuscript (Vat. Cod. Lat.  3225)  were commissioned by cardinal Massimi and  engraved by Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635-1700). They were first published (56 plates)  in ca. 1677. They were later subsumed into various of Santi Bartoli's works  and published in 1725, 1741 (with text by Bottari), and later. It was one of a whole series of such engravings produced by Santi Bartoli.  The only copy of the original edition in the UK is in Balliol College, Oxford.

The editor of this beautifully printed and  eminently useable edition of Virgil ('the first modern Virgil commentary') is Germain Vaillant de Guélis (1516-87) who was bishop of Orleans 1585-87. From his pen are the liminary verses of dedication addressed to Elisabeth of Austria (1554-92), wife of Charles IX France (November 1570), on her coming into France. In these he speaks of himself as from Paimpont in Brittany 'vel talia praemia Pimplae,/ Una me mysten, magnique poema Maronis/ Do tibi...' he belonged to the circle of poets which includes Ronsard, Baif, Grevin and Dorat, Turnebus, and is referred to in some verses by François de Thoor de Bailleul (Franciscus Thorius)  as 'et singulièrement/ Ce Paimpont, colonel de la roche jumelle'(i.e. Parnassus).


The text of the Eclogues, Georgics and Aeneid is broken into manageable 'gobbets' of  between a dozen and twenty lines, and the commentary is printed following  beginning below but sometimes carrying on to the top of the next page. Occasionally the editor shews himself very aware of contemporary happenings. Thus, when discussing Aen. ii 234 'Dividimus muros, & moenia pandimus urbis' he refers to book I of Vitruvius, a reference given by his great friend Tidius Gisius, reers to the reconstruction of the walls of Orleans 'post ciuile bellum'  at the order of the king and quotes his own Greek verses addressed ' ad equum Durateum' ('to the wooden horse')

Reference is also made to 'noster Thorius' who has been mentioned already ( see Geneviève Demerson, 'L'expression poétique de la foi. Le cas de Franciscus Thorius Bellio' in  Gros, G, editor. La Bible et ses raisons: diffusion et distortions du discours religieux pp. 113-126)


 Provenance: Richard Bentley (1662-1742) classical scholar, and Master of Trinity,  with his signature on title-page; Macclesfield North Library 74.H.2.


C. Kallendorf, A catalogue of the Junius Spencer Morgan collection of Virgil in the Princeton University Library: Delaware: Oak Knoll, 2009, no.  L1575.3

Stock Code: 215307

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