HERODIANUS OF SYRIA (c.165-250). Historia de imperio post Marcum. Translated from Greek by Angelus Politianus (1454-94). Bologna: Franciscus (Plato) de Benedictis, 31 August 1493.
Chancery 2° (294 x 200mm). Collation: aa-hh8 ii4 (aa1r blank, aa1v Politian's letter to Andreas Magnanimus, aa2r Politian's dedicatory letter to Innocent VIII, aa3r text with 8-line opening printed in red, ii4v colophon, register and printer's device). 68 leaves. Type: 1:112R. 2- to 6-line initial spaces with guide-letter, the first 2 filled in red or blue, aa3r illuminated by a north Italian, possibly Bologna artist, initial in pink on burnished gold ground, full white-vine border incorporating an armorial in lower border (armorial erased). (Small marginal hole repaired in first two leaves, a few small spots.) 18th-century vellum over pasteboard (discreetly repaired at upper joint, spine ends and corners); modern green half morocco folding box. Provenance: armorial (deleted), one contemporary marginal annotation -- Francesco Tranchedini of Pontremoli and his son Sforza Tranchedini (signatures on aa1r) -- Samuel Weller Singer (1783-1858; sale Sotheby's, 23 April 1818, £1.10) -- Richard Heber (1773-1833; sale pt. V, 19 January 1835, lot 2245, noting the illuminated first page) -- Henry Downton, presentation note from William John 6th Baron Monson and Debonnaire John 7th Baron Monson (flyleaf inscription dated 18 June 1842) -- George Dunn (1865-1912; booklabel; sale Sotheby's, 4 February 1914, lot 1186, £2.10 to Leighton) -- Charles Fairfax Murray (sale Sotheby's, 18 March 1918, lot 349, £16 to Quaritch) -- Boies Penrose (1902-76; bookplates; sale Sotheby's, 9 September 1971, lot 319, £280 to C.W. Traylen).
FIRST, AUTHORISED, EDITION of Herodian's history of the Roman emperors from the death of Marcus Aurelius to A.D. 238, generally considered the most reliable source for the period. It was preceded into print by a Rome edition which appeared two months earlier, on 20 June, against Politian's wishes and without his letter to Magnanimus or his annotations. HC *8467; BMC VI, 827 (IB. 28909); CIBN H-52; BSB-Ink. H-118; IGI 4090; Goff H-86.