Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Incunable of Donatus's commentary on Terence
Incunable of Donatus's commentary on Terence
Incunable of Donatus's commentary on Terence
2 More
Incunable edition of Donatus's commentary on Terence

DONATUS, C.1472

Details
Incunable edition of Donatus's commentary on Terence
Donatus, c.1472
DONATUS, Aelius (4th century CE). Commentarius in Terentii comoedias. Edited by Raphael Zovenzonius. [Venice:] Vindelinus de Spira, [about 1472].

The first edition of Donatus’s commentary on the plays of Terence. The works of Publius Terentius Afer, a freed slave of African descent, were widely read and studied throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. This fourth-century is a major work of scholarship, explaining not only unusual words but the dramatic techniques, historical context, and rhetorical models of the genre. De Spira’s verse colophon sums up the appeal of the work: “one who desires to taste the obscure fruits of Terence / Should seek to know the grammarian Donatus.” The printer had produced an early edition of Terence’s plays only a few years prior. Very rare at auction—the last copy recorded by RBH or ABPC sold 100 years ago. Bod-inc D-153; BSB-Ink D-277; Goff D353; GW 9035; istc id00353000.

Folio (326 x 221mm). 160 leaves (of 163, lacking blanks only). Greek and Roman types. First page with silvered floral border and large painted initial P on blue patterned ground; smaller red and blue painted initials throughout (upper left corner of border excised, margins reinforced with new paper; some worming throughout). 19th-century brown mottled vellum, gilt spine, yellow speckled edges (hinges reinforced). Provenance: early marginalia in at least three hands.

Brought to you by

Gillian Hawley
Gillian Hawley

More from Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

View All
View All