EUTROPIUS (fl. 364-378). Breviarium historiae Romanae, with continuation by Paulus Diaconus (8th century). Rome: [Georgius Lauer], 20 May 1471.
Median 4° (265 x 183mm). Collation: [18 2-1010 116] (1/1r blank, 1/1v-8v tabula, 1/8v quire register giving the incipit of each bifolium, 2/1r text, 11/6v colophon). 104 leaves. 32 lines. Type: 2:111R. Northern Italian illuminated initial opening text in blue on coloured and burnished gold ground, terminal sprays into margins with gold disks, second initial in blue with red penwork decoration, other 5- to 6-line initials opening books and 2- to 3-line initials opening chapters alternating in red and blue, a few spaces left blank, MS guide-letters. (Lower margin of 2/1 renewed, small marginal wormhole in first 2 quires filled.) Gold-tooled green morocco, multiple fillet frame on sides and spine compartments, spine lettered in gilt, gilt turn-ins, yellow glazed endpapers, gilt edges, by Charles Lewis (slightly mottled). Provenance: a few early annotations washed out -- Park Abbey, near Louvain, Praemonstratensian -- Beriah Botfield, bought from Payne and Foss for £12.12 (P. & F. Acquisitions, 'from the Monastic Library of the Park, near Louvain', p.34).
FIRST EDITION. Eutropius' history of Rome, beginning with Romulus and extending to his own time in the 3rd quarter of the 4th century, neatly met a demand among Roman citizens for a summary history of the empire, and it enjoyed 'an immediate and lasting success' (Reynolds, Texts and Transmission, p.159). Lauer's edition was the only independent edition of the text in the 15th century, but it also appeared as part of the Scriptores historiae Augustae in several editions from 1475. Eutropius' text was augmented in the 8th century by Paul the Deacon with material derived from Orosius, Jerome and others, and extended to the time of Justinian.
This is one of the earliest books printed by Georgius Lauer, fifth printer at Rome. He was first associated with a press at the monastery of St. Eusebius at Rome, where the Eutropius may have been printed. The Botfield copy has outer sheet of quire 8, reading 'Horu[um] omniu[m]' in first line of 8/10v, as BL copies IB. 17452-3. H *6726; BMC IV, 36 (IB. 17452-4); Goff E-131; BSB-Ink E-128; IGI 3768.