THUCYDIDES (460-455 - c.399 B.C.). De bello Peloponnesiaco, in Greek. Edited by Aldus Manutius. Venice: Aldus Manutius, [not before 14] May 1502.
Super-chancery 2 (309 x 202mm). Without blank leaves sp8 and P4. Greek types 3:84 (text) and 4:79 (dedication), italic 1:80 (dedication), roman 10:82 (incidental). 55 lines and headline, initial spaces with printed guide-letters. (Some leaves of quire H rehinged.) Late 18th-century dark red straight-grained morocco, sides panelled with gilt fillets and blind palmette roll, John Rylands supralibros added at centre of upper cover, gilt pointille decoration in spine compartments, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, by Charles Hering, with his ticket. Provenance: contemporary inscription removed from title, some marginal annotations; Leone Allacci (1586-1669, 'Ex Biblioth: Allatii' on flyleaf and A1), custodian of the Vatican library in charge of transporting the Bibliotheca Palatina from Heidelberg to Rome; Count Karoly Imre Sandor de Reviczky (?) (catalogue p.25); George John, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1836, modern label); John Rylands University Library of Manchester (bookplates, withdrawal label, monogram binding stamp, sale Sothebys, 11 April 1988, lot 82).
EDITIO PRINCEPS. Thucydides recognised that the Peloponnesian war was the event of greatest importance in the history of Greece and he devoted himself to recording it in the belief that knowledge of the past is the best guide to the future. With De bello Peloponnesiaco Thucydides established the highest historical methods and standards, limiting his sources to either personal knowledge or verifiable witnesses in order to present as accurate and objective a picture of the event as possible and thus to provide a 'possession for all time'. It is our only record of the history of that war. In praising the work, the editor and publisher of the present editio princeps, Aldus Manutius, merely cites Demosthenes, who wrote out Thucydides's historical work ten times in order to acquaint himself better with it. Adams T-662; Hoffmann III, 550; Ahmanson-Murphy 45; Renouard Alde p.33; PMM 102 (1588 edition).