VERGILIUS MARO, Publius (70-19 B.C.). Opera (Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneid, with argumenta). Venice: Vindelinus de Spira, 1470.
Chancery 2° (311 x 220mm). PRINTED ON VELLUM. Collation: [112 2-710 812 9-1110 1212 13-1410 15-168] (1/1 blank, 1/2r Bucolica, 1/12 r argumentum ascribed to ps-Ovid, Georgica, 4/7r 3 argumenta, the third ('Ille qui...') ascribed to ps-Virgil, Aeneid, 16/8v colophon). 162 leaves, initial blank present as front paste-down. 41 lines. Type: 1:110R1. 4-line initial in blue opening each work and book, one- and two-line initials in red, red capital strokes, contemporary MS guide-letters. (Tiny marginal hole in quire 11, fore-margin of 13/6 cut away.) 18th-century cat's-paw sheep, gilt fleuron in spine compartments, red leather spine label, vellum flyleaves (a little scuffing, light wear at extremities with a little loss at spine foot). Provenance: (inscriptions erased from pastedown and first leaf) -- 'L.t Lemelle P.teau de Mer' (18th-century stamp at end).
A NEWLY DISCOVERED, DELUXE COPY, PRINTED ON VELLUM, OF THE TEXTUALLY SUPERIOR SECOND EDITION OF THE WORKS OF THE GREATEST LATIN POET. Virgil was already celebrated in his own lifetime, and his poetry has continued to be revered over the centuries for its majesty, sense of nobility, and technical perfection. The Aeneid is accepted as a national epic and a foundation stone of western literature and thought. Dante himself regarded Virgil as 'our greatest poet' and cast him as a Christian prophet and his guide to the Gates of Paradise in the Divine Comedy.
THE EARLIEST OBTAINABLE EDITION, OF UTMOST RARITY ON THE MARKET. The first (Rome: 1469) and second editions were printed within a year of each other and are independent editions, deriving from different manuscript sources; the present second edition is the more acccurate. (Cf. M. Venier, Per una storia del testo di Virgilio nella prima eta del libro a stampa (1469-1519), Udine: 2001, no.50. The first edition is known in 8 copies only, all in institutions; none is known to have come on the market in over a century, nor is one likely to in the future. The second edition, better represented in institutions, is as rare, with no copy recorded as sold in almost a century. The last copy sold at auction was in 1920 and it was lacking 38 leaves. Nine other copies printed on vellum are known, at least three of which are imperfect.
PRINTED AT THE FIRST PRESS IN VENICE WITHIN A YEAR OF ITS ESTABLISHMENT. C 6003; BMC V, 154 (IB. 19525a-b); CIBN V-103; Bod-inc. V-073; IGI 10178; Davies & Goldfinch 2; Kallendorf 1; V Goff V-150.