Josephus, Flavius: (Arlenius, Arnoldus & Gelen, Sigismund, eds.:)


Published: Basileae [Basel]: Froben. Cum Imp. Maiestatis Privilegio ad annos v.

Date: 1544

Editio Princeps. Folio, pp. [xii], 967, [i]. Title-page in red and black with woodcut printer’s device (repeated on MM6, the final page), a few woodcut initials and a few spaces for initals with only guide letters printed, woodcut headpieces. A small number of underlinings and marginal annotations in an old hand, mostly towards the front. Title-page a little grubby at fore-edge, occasional old marginal repairs, a little faint dampstaining to margins near the rear. Contemporary German blind-tooled panelled calf over bevel-edged wooden boards, with as-yet unidentified armorial tools to centre, raised bands to spine. Sympathetically rebacked, some chips and surface loss to corners, clasps lost, upper hinge separated a little but entirely sound.

Some pencilled bibliographical notes to front paste-down, together with a small but colourful recent bookplate with the initials L A. To rfep recto, ‘Editio Princeps’ noted in a 19th-century hand. Also at the rear, small armorial bookplate of the Dominican Monastery of Woodchester (est.1851) tipped in.

Adams J352; Dibdin II 130; STC German 463; VD16 J955

The first printing of the original Greek text of the works of Josephus, which remained the standard text for over three hundred years. A Latin translation had been printed and reprinted beginning in the incunable period. This Greek text was edited by Arnoldus Arlenius (1510-1582) together with Froben's in-house scholar Sigismund Gelen, working from a manuscript discovered by Arlenius in his cataloguing of the library of the Spanish ambassador to Venice, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1503-1575). Froben set the text in the same fine Greek type he had used for the 1516 Erasmus edition of the New Testament.


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