Δειπνοσοφιστων βιβλια πεντεκαιδεκα. Deipnosophistarum libri XV (edited by Isaac Casaubon; tr. J. Dalechamps). [Geneva, Henri and Paul Estienne, for] Jérôme Commelin, 1598
ATHENAEUS , of Naucratis (1598)
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A CLASSIC OF GASTRONOMY BOUND FOR DE THOU & HIS FIRST WIFE
Commelin's device on title-page, Estienne's "Dolphins" headpiece at beginning of text; greek and latin in double columns.
Folio (350 x 222mm). ff 702p, ff (blank leaf after title-page and blank leaf nnn4). Contemporary French red morocco, covers with triple gilt fillet and central arms of Jacques-Auguste de Thou (a chevron sable and three gadflies) and Marie de Barbançon, (three lions rampant), spine gilt in compartments with title and their "IAM" monogram [Olivier 216 fer 5 & fer 6], gilt edges (a few minor marks).
The first edition of Athenaeus' classic work of gastronomy to be edited by the great scholar Isaac Casaubon, and also the first to carry a Latin translation alongside the Greek text, printed by the Estiennes in Geneva for Commelin.
This copy is from the library of the distinguished French bibliophile Jacques-Auguste de Thou and the superb red morocco binding holds the arms of de Thou and his first wife Marie de Barbançon-Cany, who died in 1601, making the binding strictly contemporary. It is rare to find a folio red morocco binding for de Thou in such an excellent state of preservation.
As noted by Schreiber, "Casaubon has augmented and corrected the text (as printed in the Aldine 1514 and Basle 1535 editions) from manuscripts at his disposal; the Latin translation by Dalechamps is accompanied by marginal annotations." The Animadversiones announced on the title-page was not published with this edition, following the death of Commelin, but first printed at Lyon in 1600. "Casaubon's famous edition of Athenaeus, which bears the imprint of Commelin, and is variously listed as having been printed in Heidelberg, Lyon, or Paris, was actually printed in Geneva, at Henri Estienne's press, under the supervision of Paul Estienne. This is simply attested by Casaubon himself, in several letters written by him from Geneva to Commelin and other correspondents" (Schreiber). This edition was issued with the title-page variously found dated 1597 or 1598.
Athenaeus is this the oldest cookbook known to us, from c. 200 CE, and describes a series of dinner conversations held by a group of learned men hosted in Rome by Larensius. The descriptions of banquets cover the the correct adornments needed according to classical taste, including a great deal of information on table settings, costume, music, songs, dance and even courtesans. Wine is fully explored, as well as discussing the wines of Italy, Greece and Egypt, "le livre second débute par une description détaillée de l'origine, de la nature, des propriétés et des principaux effets du vin" (André Simon), and discussion ranges from drinking cups to drunkenness. Also described are varieties of bread, pastries, animals, birds, fish, fruit and vegetables, as well as famous gastronomes and cooks. As noted by Gulick, it is also "in some respects... the most important work of later antiquity" as Athenaeus quotes over 1000 authors and over 10000 lines of verse, many from ancient sources that are now lost to us. Had it not survived "our knowledge of classical Greek literature and its reception in the Hellenistic and Roman periods would have been immensely poorer".
Provenance: 1. Jacques-Auguste de Thou (1553-1617) and his first wife, Marie de Barbançon-Cany, with their arms. The bulk of De Thou’s magnificent library was sold by his heirs in 1680 to Jean-Jaques Charron, Marquis de Menars (1644-1718), and then in 1706 acquired by Armand Gaston, Cardinal de Rohan (1674-1749), it then passed to Charles de Rohan, Prince of Soubise (1715-87) and holds the shelfmarks of the Hôtel de Rohan in Paris, inside front cover, 2.P.1.j.9 and 2.C.P.T.1.j.n.9, (Chambre Parquette, tablette 1, shelf j, volume 9). Lot 5626 in the sale of the Rohan-Soubise library, Paris, January 1789.
2. There is a 19th century note in English on the flyleaf, signed L.D., about the publication of this volume.
3. Maggs Bros Ltd, Catalogue 395 (1920), no. 1024.
4. From the library of the Greek economist and politician Spyros Loverdos (1874-1936), with bookplate of the Spyros Loverdos Foundation, and their library markings at rear.
Some light browning due to paper quality.
VD16 A4005 (assigned to Heidelberg). Schreiber Estienne 286 (1597 edition). Hoffmann I, 396. Simon Bibliotheca Bacchica 58 & 59 (1514 & 1556 eds) Bibliotheca Gastronomica 145 (1657 ed).
Stock Code: 251174