SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS, Caius (75-160). Vitae XII Caesarum. Edited by Johannes Andreas Campanus (1427-77). Rome: [Joannes Philippus de Lignamine], August 1470.
Median 2° (316 x 210mm). Collation: [112 2-1110 12-138] (1/1r Campano's dedicatory letter to Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini, table of contents, 1/2r text, 13/6v colophon, 13/7-8 blank). 126 (of 128, without two final blank) leaves. 35 lines. Type: 1:125R and 125 Greek. Illuminated, possibly in the 18th century: twelve 6-line gold initials on coloured ground with extensions into margins, one opening each Life, laurel wreath with diapered decoration in lower margin of first text leaf. (Contemporary paper repair on 1/6, browned, a few small stains, small wormholes at beginning and end, small defect on 6/3 affecting a few words.) English 18th-century red morocco gilt, sides with roll-tooled floral vine border, spine compartments with bird in fleurons or lettered, blue morocco doublures with roll-tooled border, gilt edges (a few scuffs on front cover and corners, single wormhole at spine). Provenance: annotations in a contemporary hand (washed) -- Comte Justin MacCarthy-Reagh (sale Paris, 1815, lot 4399) -- Dr. Georg Kloss (1787-1854, bookplate, sale Sotheby's, 23 May 1835, lot 3578, identified as the MacCarthy copy).
FIRST EDITION. Owing to its many lively personal anecdotes, De vita Caesarum has been criticised for its lack of historical rigour, yet it was highly influential as a model for biography in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Suetonius was praised in particular by Petrarch, who included it in a list of his favourite books, and manuscript copies were owned by notable scholars and noblemen such as Boccaccio, Poggio, Salutati, and members of the Visconti, Medici, Strozzi and Piccolomini families (cf. Reynolds, Texts, p.404). The editor of the first edition, Giovanni Andrea Campano, dedicated his work to Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini, nephew of Popes Pius II and III, whom he served as secretary. HCR 15115; BMC IV, 29 (IB. 17366-38); CIBN S-483; IGI 9227; Goff S-815; Flodr, Suetonius 1