17 November 2004
ANACREON (?572-?488 B.C.). Anacreontis Teij odae, in Greek. Edited and translated by Henri Estienne. Paris: [?Guillaume Morel, for] Henri Estienne II, 1554.
4° (200 x 137mm). Greek and roman types, printer's device [Schreiber 7] on title. Woodcut headpiece and ornamental initial on A1. (Some faint browning.) 19th-century polished calf gilt, red and green leather spine labels, gilt edges, by Petit, signed as successor of Simier. Provenance: Viscount Mersey, Bignor Park (booklabel; sold Sotheby's, 4 December 1978, lot 72, £420 to Maggs) -- Patrick Robinson, bibliophile (1927-1999); by descent to the present owner.
EDITIO PRINCEPS of an immensely influential corpus of Greek lyrics, considered by Estienne and his Renaissance contemporaries to be the work of the ancient Greek poet Anacreon. They are instead poems in the style of Anacreon, whose own work on wine and women survives in short fragments only. As Schreiber has noted, the 'discovery' of these poems, in a manuscript owned by Thomas More's humanist friend, John Clements, caused a poetic revolution, which was celebrated by Ronsard in his Odes and culminated in the 18th century with the Anacreontic Poets. The Anacreontea is the first book published by Henri Estienne II and contains all three sizes of the grecs du roi types. Adams A-1001; Schreiber Estiennes, 139.
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