SENECA, Lucius Annaeus (ca. 4 B.C.-65 A.D.). Opera philosophica. Epistolae. - Lucius Annaeus SENECA (ca. 54-ca. 39 B.C.). Declamationes, Suasoriae, Controversiae. Edited by Blasius Romerus. Naples: Mathias Moravus, 175.
Royal 2o (377 x 264 mm). Collation: (part I) [1-310 4-56 6-710 8-98 10-1210 1312 148 1510 168(-7)] blank, 1/2r text, Seneca the Younger, 16/8r colophon, 16/8v register of incipits of each leaf, list of contents); (part II) [17-1810 19-248.10 25-278 2810] text, Seneca the Elder,r register of incipits,v blank). 253 leaves. 46 lines. Type: 2:115R. 2- to 10-line spaces for initials. Unrubricated. Two pinholes visible in outer corners of each leaf. (Some light dampstaining with very occasional slight traces of mildew in gutters, a few small wormholes in last quire, the outer sheets of quires 5, 21, 22, and 23 strengthened at gutters, short marginal tear to minor rodent damage to upper blank margins of last 2 leaves, marginal inkstains on 14/2v and 20/3v, last leaf a bit soiled.) Late 17th- or early 18th-century English speckled calf gilt, sides panelled, spine tooled in compartments, calf and morocco lettering-pieces, edges red-sprinkled, marbled endleaves (joints cracked, spine ends chipped, a few scrapes).
Provenance: a few 16th-century marginal notes at beginning, occasional pointing fingers -- Thomas, First Viscount Weymouth, Baron Thynne of Warminster (1640-1714): engraved armorial bookplate dated 1704, by descent to -- the Marquess of Bath at Longleat: sale, Sotheby's London, 11 June 1979, lot 145 (to Lathrop Harper, cat. 239 no. 64).
FIRST EDITION of Seneca the Younger's moral and philosophical works and of the extant works of his father, the rhetorical exercises grouped under the titles Controversiae and Suasoriae; probable first edition of the spurious letters supposedly exchanged between Seneca and St. Paul (two editions were published separately in 1475).
This is the second book printed by Mathias Moravus at Naples. Born at Zetkowitz near Olmütz, Mathias worked as a scribe in England and northern Italy before setting up the first printing press in Genoa in 1474, in partnership with Michael de Monacho, printing there a single known edition (Goff N-59). His move to Naples was inspired by his editor Blasius Romerus, a Cistercian from Poblet, Catalonia, as stated in the latter's dedication to Mathias' first independent production (Maius, De priscorum proprietate verborum, Goff M-96, printed in partnership with Romerus). Mathias' Neapolitan output was second only to that of Sixtus Riessinger for del Tuppo: over 40 editions from his press are recorded, most bearing his name.
In this copy, the stub of the cancelled leaf 16/7 shows a sliver of printed letters, the beginnings of 3 lines, at bottom.
A very good, large and complete copy of a book often found imperfect or in poor condition. HC 14590; BMC VI, 861 (IC. 29393-95); CIBN S-183; Fava & Bresciano 109; Harvard/Walsh 3271; IGI 8867; Goff S-368.