SILIUS ITALICUS (c. 26-101). Punica. Edited by Joannes Andreae de Buxiis (1417-75), Bishop of Aleria. Rome: Conradus Sweynheym and Arnoldus Pannartz, [not before 5 April 1471].
Median 2° (322 x 228mm). Collation: [1-1510 168 176] (1/1 blank, 1/2 Punica, bks. I-IV, 5/1r bks. V-XVII, 17/4v colophon, 17/5-6 blank). 159 leaves (of 162, without blank 1/1 and 17/5-6), 8/1 misbound between quires 10 and 11, and lacking the Calpurnius and Hesiod texts which properly accompany the Silius in this edition. 38 lines. Type: 2:115R, 115Gk. 6-line initial spaces opening each book. (Washed, spotted, marginal tear in 12/6, small wormholes in final 3 quires.) 18th-century red straight-grained morocco, blind fillet border on sides, spine lettered in gilt (mistakenly calling for Calpurnius), a single quatrefoil on blind-diapered ground in other compartments, gilt saw-tooth roll turn-ins, tan endpapers, gilt edges, pale blue silk ribbon marker (minor scuffs on sides, slight wear at spine foot). Provenance: contemporary marginal annotations (trimmed, washed) -- Richard Heber (stamp on flyleaf, sale pt. I, 1834, lot 6515).
THE HEBER COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Silius' poem, the longest in Latin, commemorates the Second Punic War, with Hannibal as its hero. It owes much to the Aeneid, whose author Silius revered so highly that he bought Virgil's tomb at Naples and restored it from its state of neglect.
The Botfield copy contains the Punica of Silius Italicus only. Although the 1472 Sweynheym and Pannartz catalogue makes clear that it was issued with accompanying texts by Calpurnius and Hesiod, the three works are separately quired and numerous copies of the individual works survive, as here, indicating that they may have been available separately as well as together. Heber owned two copies of this edition. The present copy probably corresponds to that offered in part I of his sale in 1834, lot 6515, in red morocco. His second copy, the former Pinelli copy (Pinelli 1787 cat., no. 4962), was offered in part VI in 1835 as lot 3503, described as 'since [the Pinelli sale] bound in red morocco'. HC *14733; BMC IV, 13 (IB. 17166-9); Goff S-503; CIBN S-257; IGI 8972; Flodr, Silius Ital. 1.