APPIANUS (c.100-c.170). Historia Romana. -De bellis civilibus. Translated by Petrus Candidus Decembrius (1399-1477). Venice: Bernhard Maler (Pictor), Erhard Ratdolt, and Peter Löslein, 1477.
2 volumes, royal half-sheet 4° (vol. I: 273 x 204mm; vol. II: 285 x 209mm). Collation: I: a-i10 k-n8 o10 (a1 blank, a2 P. Decembrio's address to Pope Nicholas V, a3 text, o10r colophon, o10v blank); II: a-c10 d12 e-x10 (a1 blank, a2 Decembrio's address to Alfonso of Aragon, a3 contents, a4 De bellis civilibus, x10r second colophon, x10v blank). 132; 212 leaves. 31-33 lines, printed shoulder notes. Type: 1:109R. Full woodcut white-vine border printed in red separately after the type-page opening the first work, three-sided woodcut white-vine border opening second work, woodcut white-on-black initials in two sizes. (Light spotting, occasional light stain, occasional light marginal dampstain in vol.I, small puncture in border of vol. I.) Vol. I: contemporary half calf over unbevelled wooden boards tooled in blind with grape-acorn-flower roll and 'Laubstab' roll, two brass fore-edge catches on front cover, inner joints strengthened with vellum fragments from a 14th-century German noted breviary, author-title lettered on upper cover, yellow edges (somewhat worn, lacking clasps); vol. II: contemporary blindstamped calf over unbevelled wooden boards bound at the Benedictine monastery at St. Georgenberg, sides panelled and tooled with double-headed eagles, an acorn sprig (Schunke, Schwenke-Sammlung, Eichelzweig 31a, located to St. Georgenberg), 'hilf maria' (stamped in reverse), rosettes, etc., early paper labels on upper cover and spine, five brass bosses to each cover, 2 chased brass catches, later endleaves, red-stained pigskin index tabs for each book, yellow edges (rebacked preserving original backstrip, clasp leather renewed), uniform modern tan morocco-backed solander boxes. Provenance: [Vol.I:] armorial shield in woodcut border filled with unidentified arms (see illustration) -- Henry Labouchere, Baron Taunton (bookplate) -- E.A.V. Stanley (sale Sotheby's, 2 December 1920, lot 14, £33 to Quaritch) -- [vol. II:] St. Georgenberg, Tyrol, Benedictine monastery (deleted inscriptions) -- John Eliot Hodgkin (manuscript note laid in, sale Sotheby's 12 May 1914, lot 52, £16 to Quaritch) -- [both vols.:] C.S. Ascherson (bookplate) -- Albert Ehrman, Broxbourne library (bookplate, sale Sotheby's, 8 May 1978, lot 637) -- George Abrams (booklabel, sale Sotheby's, 16 November 1988, lot 9).
FIRST COMPLETE EDITION of the extant portions of Appian's Roman history, giving an account of various countries and their inhabitants from the earliest time to their incorporation into the Roman Empire. Appian's humanist translator, Pier Candido Decembrio, divided the extant books into 2 parts; part II only was printed by Vindelinus de Spira in 1472. The two volumes of the present set survived separately until the early decades of this century, when they were brought together by C.S. Ascherson. Both volumes have contemporary German bindings, the second apparently bound at the Benedictine monastery of St. Georgenberg, Tyrol.
Redgrave, Radolt's bibliographer, wrote: 'To my mind there are few printed books of any age which can be compared with the Appian of 1477, with its splendid black ink, its vellum-like paper, and the finished excellence of its typography' (p.13). It is one of Ratdolt's earliest Venetian imprints, following only Regiomontanus's Calendarium, and contains the first use of both of the fine woodcut border pieces. The first is printed in red (in a separate press-pull after the type-page) as in a few copies only; the majority of copies have both borders printed in black. H *1307; BMC V, 244 (IB. 20484-7); GW 2290; Polain(B) 284; IGI 763; Essling 221; Redgrave 3-4; Sander 482; Goff A-928. (2)