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Xenophon (c.430-c.354 B.C.)
Xenophon (c.430-c.354 B.C.)
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Xenophon (c.430-c.354 B.C.)

CYROPAEDIA. 1477

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Xenophon (c.430-c.354 B.C.)
Cyropaedia. 1477
XENOPHON (c.430-c.354 B.C.). Cyropaedia. Translated from Greek into Latin by Franciscus Philelphus. [Milan: Simon Magniagus, before 18 February 1477].

Rare first edition; no copy recorded at auction since 1947. The Cyropaedia is Xenophon’s biography of Cyrus, founder of the first Persian empire. Xenophon accompanied Cyrus the younger to Persia and presumably gleaned information about the elder Cyrus while there; parts of his biography are recognised as fictionalised but its verity is considered at least as great as Herodotus. The work was read in the Renaissance as a guide for princes and rulers on political virtue, and Machiavelli’s The Prince is much indebted to it (cf. Nadon, Xenophons Prince, 2001). Copies are also known with a false colophon assigning the book to Rome and the otherwise unknown printer Arnoldus de Villa. HCR 16227; Bod-inc. X-002; BSB-Ink. X-1; BMC IV 52 and VI 734; IGI 10404; Goff X-5; ISTC ix00005000.

Royal quarto (272 x 195mm). 146 leaves, issue without false Rome colophon, major initials in red or blue (the first with contrasting penwork), red paragraph marks (a few small wormholes in first and final quire, very occasional light marginal stain). Contemporary Italian red-brown goatskin over wooden boards with inner bevel, panelled and tooled in blind to a ropework design, two shaped metal catchpieces on lower cover, single vellum flyleaf at each end (worn with loss of leather at spine and front board); modern cloth box. Provenance: a few contemporary Italian marginal annotations (lightly washed).
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