MARTIALIS, Marcus Valerius (c.40-103/4). Epigrammata. Edited by Georgius Merula. Milan: Philippus de Lavagnia, 1478.
Royal half-sheet 4° (261 x 190mm). Collation: a-r10 (a1r blank, a1v Pliny's letter to Cornelius Priscus, a2r text, r8r letter by Merula to Angelo Adriano as royal orator, r9v colophon, r10 blank). 169 (of 170, without final blank) leaves. 34 lines. Type: 5:112R. 6- to 8-line initial spaces with guide-letter, the first filled with an 18th-century illuminated initial with marginal lozenge decoration; spaces for Greek. (A little loss of gold, one or two small wormholes in first and last few leaves, a few smudges, very occasional spotting.) Early 19th-century burgundy straight-grained morocco, gilt- and blindtooled border on sides, gilt spine, gilt turn-ins, dark brown glazed endpapers, gilt edges (extremities a little scuffed). Provenance: Michelangelo Corazini (contemporary inscription with motto 'coram nobis' at end); early headlines, foliation and underlinings -- Sir John Hayford Thorold (1773-1831) Syston Park Library (armorial and monogrammed bookplates; sale Sotheby's 12 December 1884, lot 1321 'very scarce', £5.12 to Qauritch) -- C.S. Ascherson (bookplate; collection sold to B. Quaritch in 1944/45) -- Andrew Rutherford (bookplate) -- H.R. Creswick, Librarian of Cambridge University (bookplate; sale Sotheby's, 27 July 1981, lot 105, £1,100 to H.D. Lyon] -- Patrick Robinson, bibliophile (1927-1999); by descent to the present owner.
Seventh edition of Martial's epigrams, printed at the second Milan printing shop, reproducing page-for-page the 1475 Venetian edition of De Colonia and Manthen. With their short and pithy portrayals of the debauchees of ancient Rome, the twelve books of Epigrams had a strong appeal in Renaissance Italy, where all eighteen incunable editions were published. HCR 10813; BMC VI, 706 (IB. 26158); CIBN M-164; Goff M-302.