JOSEPHUS, Flavius (c.37-c.100). De antiquitate judaica. -De bello judaico. Translated by Tyrannius Rufinus (c.345-410). [Augsburg]: Johann Schüssler, 28 June-23 August 1470.
Royal 2° (396 x 287mm). Collation: [110(9+1) 2-312 4-1610 178 18-1910 208; 21-2710 28-298] (1/1 De antiquitate judaica, 20/8r verse count in the text, 7-lines of verse on Josephus, Eusebius's commendation of Josephus excerpted from Historia ecclesiastica, 20/8v Seven miracles of the world, colophon, 21/1 De bello judaico, 29/8v 3-line verse on the text, colophon). 287 leaves. 50 lines, double column. Type: 1:117G. Contemporary South-German, probably Augsburg, decoration: illuminated initial opening text, initial in blue with white modelling on gold ground, fictive frame alternating green and red, three-sided border of attenuated acanthus leaves in green, red and gold, gold dotting, remaining 10-line book initials in red, green or blue with contrasting Maiblumen penwork decoration in red, green or brown, 2-line chapter initials and paragraph marks in red, capital strokes on first page in red (some oxidisation). (Blank corner of first and last leaves expertly replaced, small dampstain and wormtrack at lower hinge in a few quires, light dampstain at upper margin, more noticeable in final 2 quires, first leaf on stub of inserted leaf 9+1, small section torn from extreme lower margin of one leaf.) English 18th-century red morocco gilt, sides with roll-tool and triple fillet border, central lozenge, spine elaborately gilt, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers (scuffed, joints and spine ends repaired). Provenance: Michael Wodhull (1740-1816, purchase inscription dated May 6 1771, price £2.10, note recording 'Baker's auction of part of the library of Robt. Child Esq. collected by Brian Fairfax' (1676-1749,) and other notes; Joseph Martini (1870-1944, pencilled collation note, not in his sale, Lucerne, 1934-5).
FIRST EDITION and the first book printed by Schüssler.These two works together provide a comprehensive history of the Jews from creation to the end of the war with Rome.The Jewish Antiquities is particularly concerned with Jewish life in the Diaspora and describes the struggle of Jewish communities to maintain their religious customs and identity, and the position of those communities in Hellenistic society. It cites documents demonstrating the tolerant attitude of the Roman empire to those communities, and is important for the history of the Second Temple. Book 18 contains an account, probably forged, of Jesus. The Jewish War is important for its description of the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple.
The decoration in this copy is similar to, but not identical with, that in the Doheny (Christie's New York, 22 October 1987, lot 11) and the Morgan Library copies; those copies were very probably bound by Schüssler, as well as printed by him, and the decoration may also have been executed in a shop associated with him. Schüssler appears to have segregated his paperstocks, so that the outer sheet of each quire in the first part has a watermark of scales, as in the British Library copies. BMC incorrectly believed that the first quire consists of 12 leaves, the first blank; it is a quire of 10 leaves, with an inserted leaf between fos. 9 and 10. A LARGE COPY, retaining many deckle edges and with traces of contemporary quiring at the extreme lower inner (part I) or outer (part II) corner. HC *9451; BMC II, 327 (IB. 5612-13); CIBN J-306; Goff J-481.