APOLLONIUS RHODIUS (ca 295-ca 215 B.C.). Argonautica, in Greek: \KArgonautica\k. With the scholia by Lucillus of Tarrha, Sophokleios and Theon of Alexandria (1st century A.D.). [Edited by Janus Lascaris (1445-1535)]. Florence: [Laurentius Francisci de Alopa,] 1496.
Median 4o (233 x 167 mm). Collation: \Ka-f\k8 χ4. Greek types 5a and b:114 two sets of capitals designed by Lascaris (text), 5c:111 lower case (scholia). Varying numbers of lines, 33 lines of scholia and 29 of text to the full page. (A few small marginal paper faults in first leaf mended, lacking final blank, some occasional very pale discoloration.) Blue straight-grained morocco over pasteboard, tooled in gilt and blind, simple borders on sides with small corner fans, (Botfield arms added in the center), double raised bands on spine with densely massed ornament in the compartments, tan morocco doublures with gilt borders, (Botfield arms added), free endleaves lined with pink silk, vellum flyleaves, gilt edges, binding signed by Bozerian jeune at foot of spine; blue quarter morocco folding case.
Provenance: Antoine-Augustin Renouard (Bibliothèque d'un Amateur II, 181); Beriah Botfield (arms on binding; purchased from Payne & Foss at 8 gns., Aquisitions, p.4; his sale, Christie's London, 30 March 1994, lot 38).
EDITIO PRINCEPS of the finest Alexandrian epic, highly influential on Virgil and other Roman poets. Apollonius's vocabulary is mainly taken from Homer and his hexameter follows Homer's. The passionate story of Medea's love for Jason in bk. 3 particularly continues to inspire modern translations.
A 10th-century manuscript of the text--also of fundamental importance for the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles--was discovered by Giovanni Aurispa during his book-buying trip to the Orient (1421-23), now Cod. Laur. 23.9 in Florence. According to C. Wendel (Abhandlungen Göttingen 1932, no. 1, pp.26-28), this was one of Lascaris's best editing efforts, especially for the scholia. According to Barker (p.42), the design of the second Lascaris-Alopa Greek fount was based on Demetrius Damilas' hand. The type was specifically developed for and makes its first appearance in the Apollonius, a book that was difficult to set from its arrangement of text and commentary. The accents were cast in one piece with the letters, and kerning is frequent.
HC *1292; GW 2271; BMC VI, 667 (IB. 28021-23); Goff A-924; IGI 753; Rhodes, Annali 59; CIBN A-478; Flodr, Apollonius Rhodius 1; Hoffmann I, 206; Proctor, Printing in Greek, pp.78-82.