Antoninus Liberalis: (Xylander, Wilhelm, trans.; Munckerus, Thomas, edit.:)

[Metamorphoseon Synagoge] Transformationum Congeries.

Published: Amstelodami [Amsterdam]: apud Janssonio-Waesbergios

Date: 1676

12mo., pp. (xxxvi), 339, (xxxiii), including additional engraved title-page by C. Decker. Greek and Latin texts on facing pages, some woodcut initials. Very occasional light spots and smudges, a few tiny closed tears at edges. Contemporary semi-limp vellum, title inked to spine, gilt borders with acorn corner tools and Upsilon centrepiece to each board. Head-cap slightly creased, lightly yellowed, a few light smudgy marks, ties lost, endpapers a little grubby but a very good copy.

The Upsilon character in the centre of each board could depict a Y, U or V initial or could, in its use as an emblem for a point of change resulting in divergent paths of virtue and vice, refer to the book’s subject matter.

Willems 1894; Hoffmann I 193; Spoelder 527

Known as The Metamorphoses, Antoninus Liberalis’ only surviving work is a collection of forty-one brief tales of mythical transformation. Written in conversational prose rather than the usual verse, its modern translator Francis Celoria notes that its koine Greek is entirely acceptable whilst also being’grimly simple’. Wilhelm Xylander first printed the text in 1568; since then some leaves of the single surviving manuscript (late 9th century) have disappeared, making the editio princeps a necessary textual authority.


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