3 March 2004
JOSEPHUS, Flavius (c.37-c.100). Opera, in Greek. Edited by Arnoldus Peraxylus Arlenius (1510-82). Basel: Hieronymus Froben and Nicolaus Episcopius, 1544.
2° (323 x 216mm). Title printed in red and black with Froben device, device repeated on final verso. (Light dampstain at upper margin, some light browning, small spots on a few leaves.) German blindstamped pigskin over wooden boards, upper cover dated 1575, upper fore-edge lettered. Provenance: Melchior Wenger (inscription dated 27 September 1671 recording it as a gift from Johann Jakob Beyschlag of Halle) -- 17th-century MS note on title mentioning manuscripts used in editing Josephus. Provenance: purchased from Davis and Orioli, London, 29 December 1947, 10 guineas.
EDITIO PRINCEPS. Josephus' works provide a comprehensive history of the Jews from Creation to the end of the war with Rome. Jewish Antiquities provides a full and valid description of Jewish life in the Diaspora, and The Jewish War is important for its description of the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple. This first edition in the original Greek derives from manuscripts owned by Diego Hurtado Mendoza (1503-75), Spanish novelist, poet and diplomat who acquired Greek manuscripts from Cardinal Bessarion, and others, and was edited by his librarian and humanist scholar Arlenius. Adams J-351; Hoffman II, 443-4.
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