APULEIUS MADAURENSIS, Lucius (b. c.123). Opera. Edited by Joannes Andreae de Buxiis (1417-75), bishop of Aleria. - HERMES TRISMEGISTUS. Asclepius. - ALBINUS Platonicus (fl. 2nd century). Epitoma disciplinarum Platonis. Translated by Petrus Balbus (d.1479). Rome: [Conrad Sweynheym and Arnoldus Pannartz], 28 February 1469.
Median 2° (319 x 223mm). Collation: [16 2-1410 15-1612 1710 188] (1/1r dedicatory letter by Bussi to Pope Paul II, 1/6r register, 1/6v blank, 2/1r Metamorphoses, 9/7r Florida, 10/6v Apologia, 13/6r De Deo Socratis, 14/3r De dogmate Platonis, 14/8r De philosophia, 15/5r De mundo, 15/11v Hermes Trismegistus Asclepius, 16/12 blank, 17/1r dedicatory letter by Petrus Balbus to Nicolas de Cusa, 17/1r Albinus Epitoma, 18/8 blank). 178 leaves. 38 lines. Types 2:115R, 115Gk. Spaces for 2- to 8-line initials and headings; paragraph marks in red or blue, capital strokes in red, headings supplied in pale magenta ink from 14/3r, contemporary quiring. (Small wormhole in first 3 quires, some very light spotting, mostly marginal, one small marginal tear.) Near contemporary half brown leather blind-tooled with rolls, possibly bound in eastern Europe (Prague?, Olmütz?) label on front cover lettered with author's name and number '41', chain staple hole on rear board, without two fore-edge clasps, outer sheets of several quires reinforced (a little wear at spine); modern black morocco solander case. Provenance: early coat-of-arms painted on first page -- Stanislaus, priest of Vratislavia [Wroclaw] (contemporary inscription washed from first page, a few contemporary marginal annotations washed) -- Wroclaw, Cathedral Library (17th-century inscription washed from title; stamp removed).
FIRST EDITION of all texts. This edition of Apuleius, joined by the Epitoma of Albinus and the Asclepius attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, prints fundamental texts of Neoplatonism ("Apuleius the Platonist", as St. Augustine called him), and attests to the centrality of platonic thought in the Renaissance. These texts formed part of the humanistic publishing programme followed by Sweynheym and Pannartz at Rome, particularly with the involvement of Giovanni Andrea Bussi as editor. In the dedicatory letter Bussi praises Cardinal Bessarion who, in his defense of Gemistus Plethon, Adversus Platonis calumniatorem, published by Sweynheym and Pannartz later in 1469, listed such works as necessary to a full appreciation of platonic philosophy. The Asclepius of Hermes Trismegistus, of which Apuleius was considered the translator, was the only philosophical Hermetic work known in the west throughout the Middle Ages.
This edition was printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz, the first printers in Italy, after they had moved their press from Subiaco to Rome in 1467. According to Bussi, in 1472, 275 copies of this edition were printed. The Greek type, used here to print a song of Orpheus contained in the De mundo and quotations and names in that work and in the Asclepius, was the second ("also of great beauty" -- Proctor) used by Sweynheym and Pannartz; the first was used only at Subiaco. HC *1314; BMC IV, 6 (IB. 17115-6); GW 2301; IGI 769; Goff A-934.