[Comoediae] Hoc pugillari Terentius numeris concinnatus et L. Victoris Fausti De comoedia libellus nova recognitione, litterisque novis continetur.(Venice, Lazzaro de' Soardi, August 1511)

TERENTIUS Publius Afer (1511)


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Title set in decorative form, title and text pages within wide ornamental woodcut borders on each page, featuring patterns of flowers, acanthus leaves, grapevines, and fleur-de-lis; Soardi's white-on-black orb and cross device on recto of final leaf, on verso of final leaf the heading 'Bibliographus' above his inverted globe device of the "Cussi va lo mondo" between two pairs of hand unrolling a scroll. 

Sm 8vo. (153 x 104mm) CXXXVIff. Later 17/18th century vellum over paste boards (likely recased, a trifle soiled).

An extremely rare survival of the first book to be printed in Lazzaro de'Soardi's semi-gothic "lettera galante" type.

Two further books followed in November 1511, an edition of Petrarch, and Cicero's De officiis, but no more, and all are only known in a handful of copies. The three volumes of 'classics' were intended be the first books in a projected Soardi set of 'classics' in small formats under the elaborate 'Cosi va lo mundo' device found at end.

As Mortimer notes, the small semi-gothic type was especially cut for Soardi and "the font is distinguished particularly by a large ampersand in 'et' form , a long calligraphic 'z' and a long comma in which the tail turns back in a reverse curve. The decorative effect of the typeface is heightened by the use of calligraphic type ornaments to fill out each line."

This is also the first edition of Terence's Comoedia to be edited by the humanist Fausto Vittore, which begins with the first appearance of his short treatise De Comoedia Libellus.

Title and last leaf soiled at margins with some minor repairs to the fore-edge of the title-page, one or two small marginal holes to last leaf. Headline just cropped in places, occasional light spotting and staining, a few early scribbles.

Provenance: from the private library of the Milanese book dealer and writer Alberto Vigevani (1918-1999)

Rhodes Annali tipografici di Lazzaro de'Soardi, no. 79 EDIT 16 CNCE 48058. Sander 7209. BMSTC (Italian), p. 664. See F.J. Norton, Italian printers 1501-1520, pp. 152-153. 

OCLC: US: Columbia, Morgan, UCLA, Ohio only. 

Stock Code: 245795

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