LIVIUS, Titus (59 B.C.-17 A.D.). Historiae Romanae decades. Edited by Joannes de Buxiis (1417-1475), Bishop of Aleria. Venice: Vindelinus de Spira, 1470.
2 volumes in one, royal 2° (383 x 269mm). Collation: [1-2.. 3-1110 1210(9+1) 13-1510 16-178 18-3410 35-368 37-4110 42.4] (1/1 blank, 1/2r editor's address to Pope Paul II, 1/4r book summaries, 3/1r preface to decade I, 3/1v decade I, 17/8 blank, 18/1r decade III, 31/10v blank, 32/1r decade IV, 42/13v colophon, 42/14 blank). 419 leaves (of 421, lacking 20/10 and front blank, final blank bound in at front). Type 1:110R (first state). 8- to 14-line initials opening each book, other 1- or 2-line initials and paragraph marks supplied in red and blue, additional headings (and occasional shoulder notes) in purple, manuscript guide-letters. (Light worming of first three and last two quires, affecting text in the former, 8/1r slightly soiled, seven leaves in quire 12 with pasted over manuscript note at lower margin, outer margins with occasional small paper repair, 32/1 shaved along outer margin but retaining extremity of manuscript shoulder note as a flap.) English 19th-century red straight-grained morocco, covers with triple gilt fillets and panelling in blind, gilt spine in compartments with double raised bands, gilt edges (rebacked, preserving old spine, and resewn), modern cloth box. Provenance: Ulricus Prossinger, with his signature below the colophon and an added note of his gift of the book to the Benedictine Abbey of St. Emmeram at Regensburg in 1492 -- Abbey of St. Emmeram (founded in 697 A.D., suppressed in 1812; ownership inscription at head of 1/2r and note on colophon as above, pointing hands and monkish faces in margins) -- Sledmere (inscription on front blank) -- Sir Mark Masterman Sykes (vellum armorial label, sold 28 May-3 June 1824, lot 126, for £33.12.0 to Thorpe) -- Sir Thomas Phillipps (bibliographical note on his ownership tipped-in, sold Sotheby's 6 August 1886, lot 1640, for £1.10.0 to B. Quaritch) -- [Entered in Quaritch's catalogue among the "Monuments of the Early Printers, Italy," no. 36544, for £20 -- sold at Sotheby's (? as Quaritch's stock), 14-18 June 1890, lot 710, for £3.15.0 to:] -- Richard Copley Christie (bookplate, his bequest to:) -- University of Manchester (with ownership stamp at foot of 1/2v, sold Sotheby's, 14 April 1988, lot 49, for £5,500).
Probable third edition, the first dated edition, and amongst the earliest books printed at Venice. Johannes Vindelinus, first printer at Venice, had completed only three editions and part of a fourth when he died at the end of 1469. Vindelinus took over his brother's printing shop, and the Livy was probably only the second book which he printed alone. Livy's history of Rome from its origins to 9 B.C. originally consisted of 142 books which copyists soon divided up into 'decades' or 'decads' of ten books. The whole survived to the end of the Roman period, but only 35 books were available to readers in the Middle Ages and thereafter. The rediscovery of this most attractive of Roman historians began with the printing of the first edition by Sweynheym and Pannartz in 1469, edited by Joannes Andreae. Ulrich Han also printed an edition in Rome, edited by J.A. Campanus, at a date prior to 3 August, 1470. Although wanting a leaf of text, THE PRESENT COPY OF DE SPIRA'S EDITION IS A FINE ONE WITH A LONG AND DISTINGUISHED PROVENANCE. The collection of Richard Copley Christie (1830-1901), Professor of History, Political Economy and Jurisprudence at Owens College, focussed on the early printed books of the classical Renaissance. Founded in 1851, Owens College was the fore-runner of the University of Manchester which Christie helped to found and honoured with the bequest of his library. HC 10130; BMC V, 154 (IC. 19519); CIBN L-177; IGI 5771; Pellechet 7206-7; Goff K-238.