VALERIUS MAXIMUS, Gaius (1st century A.D.). Facta et dicta memorabilia. - TITIUS PROBUS, Caius. De praenomine epitome. - De dignitatibus, magistratibus et officiis Romanorum compendium. Paris: [Au Soufflet Vert (Louis Symonel and others)], 1475.
Chancery 2o (287 x 203 mm). Collation: [1-710 88 9-2310 (1/1r preface, 1/1v text, 23/6r colophon, Valerius Maximus, 23/6v Titius Probus, Epitome, 23/8r De dignitatibus... compendium); 24-2510 268 (24/1r prologue to first index, 24/2r index of proper names, 26/8v compiler's colophon); 278 (27/1r prologue to second index, index of subjects, 28/8r colophon, 28/8v blank)]. 264 leaves. 24 lines of leaded type (text); 32 lines set solid (indices). Type: 1B:107GR (leaded to about 148 mm. in quires a-z). 1- to 5-line spaces for initials, a few spaces for Greek. Manuscript guide letters. Lombard initials supplied in alternating red and blue (the blue faded), paragraph marks in red, capital strokes in yellow. Contemporary manuscript headings, book numbers and a few contemporary quire signatures preserved. (Worming to first 35 and last 20 leaves, minor repaired marginal tears to first leaf and 12/10, a few old crease-marks to lower blank corners.) 18th-century French red morocco gilt, sides panelled with triple fillet, spine lettered and tooled in gold with repeated small ovals and dots, turn-ins gilt, marbled endleaves, gilt edges (rubbed, one corner bumped, lower endband renewed), preserving a few deckle edges.
Provenance: contemporary marginalia and headings -- J. Gilchrist Clark, Speddock (early 19th-century inscription on front flyleaf) -- unidentified owner, sale Sotheby's, London, 5 May 1981, lot 449).
FIRST FRENCH EDITION of Valerius Maximus' lastingly popular compendium of anecdotes and exempla. This edition is the sixth or seventh of 30 known incunable editions; following the first two editions, by Johannes Mentelin and Peter Schoeffer, all but three were printed in France and Italy, and the work maintained its popularity in both countries throughout the 16th century. This edition follows Schoeffer's edition of 1471, with the addition of the table of proper names, whose author describes himself in the colophon as a native of Bourges, and who was identified by Claudin as the printer Louis Symonel, "archiepiscopatu Bituricensis", named in the colophon of the Vocabularius juris utriusque of 1476 (Copinger 6355).
To the first native Parisian press, "at the Sign of the Green Bellows" ("Sub Signo Follis Viridis"), active from 1474 through 1484, 51 editions are now attributed, the majority unsigned. Evidence of the press's history is fragmentary. It was established in the same street (the rue Saint-Jacques) as the office of Caesaris and Stol, and its ornate type was clearly modelled on theirs. Names of the workmen, managers and editors associated with the press -- Louis Symonel, Richard Blandin, Guillaume Tardif, Gaspar, Russangis, Jean Symon, and others -- appear in the colophons or preliminary matter of a few of the editions, but their identities and roles are otherwise unknown. The press's output was concentrated in Latin classics and humanistic texts; all of these editions are rare.
A FINE, LARGE COPY. HC 15778; BMC VIII, 17 (IB. 39241-41a); CIBN V-19; Pr 7905; Goff V-28.