LIVIUS, Titus (59 B.C.-17 A.D.). Historiae Romanae decades, in Italian: Deche di Tito Livio vulgare historiate. - Leonardus BRUNUS ARETINUS. De primo guerra punica, in Italian. Venice: Joannes Rubeus Vercellensis [for Lucantonio Giunta], 11 February 1493. Super-chancery 2° (311 x 212 mm). 380 leaves (of 382, lacking the blank and leaf 381 with the index and typographical woodcut on recto). Table in 3 columns, text in 2 columns. 63 lines and headline. Types: 4:130G (title), 2:82R (tables and last quire), 3:80R (text). One 14-line, two 11-line, a few 7-line and numerous 4-line mostly white-on-black ornamental woodcut initials. Opening text of each Decade within architectural woodcut border each enclosing a different large woodcut at head of text, 420 small vignette woodcuts in text, including many repeats. (Washed, discreet marginal paper repairs to title-leaf and approximately 10 leaves, upper edges of border woodcuts shaved, the first with fore-margin and lower corner restored, the small affected areas touched up in skillful ink facsimile, A5 torn and repaired without loss of text.) Red morocco, spine gilt-lettered, turn-ins gilt, gilt edges, by Chambolle-Duru (upper inner hinge weak). Provenance: "Joannis Laurentii Sallarii ...", erased inscription on title page -- ownership stamp or armorial insignia removed from first leaf of table -- Giannalisa Feltrinelli (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION THUS ILLUSTRATED. The border cuts and most of the vignette cuts (many signed b) were first used in Niccolò Malermi's Italian translation of the Bible, printed in Venice in 1490 by Giovanni Ragazzo for Giunta (Goff B-644), the upper border cut being modified for this edition by a figure of the author reading substituted for the original dove. The three large cuts and the vignette blocks signed "F" were designed for this edition. The illustrations were hugely succesful: Essling describes no fewer than seven editions of Livy printed during the next two decades that re-employed these blocks, which passed from printer to printer (cf. Harvard/Mortimer Italian 260). The blocks were later pirated for a Paris 1533 edition (Moreau IV, 758), up to the inclusion of the "F" signature. HC *10149; BMC V, 417 (IB. 23157); IGI 5786; Oates 2014; Essling 33; Sander 3997; Goff L-255.