PHILOSTRATUS, Flavius (c. 170/172-247/250). De vita Apollonii Tyanei libri octo, in Greek, Latin translation by Alamanno Rinuccini. — EUSEBIUS Pamphili. Contra Hieroclem qui Tyaneum Christo conferre conatus fuerit, in Greek, Latin translation by Zenobio Acciaiuoli. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 'March 1501-February 1502' [not before May 1504].
2° (301 x 205mm). Greek and Roman text. Aldine device on first and final leaf. (Small marginal hole on title and on b7-c1, light soiling to first and final leaves, few small light stains.) 16th-century French red morocco, gilt borders, gilt centerpiece and decorations on covers, elaborate gilt spine and gilt edges, modern black morocco case (recornered, joints lightly splitting with two tiny wormholes, small light stains, scuff mark to back cover). Provenance: M. Bruen (armorial bookplate) — Livio Ambrogio (bookplate).
RARE EDITIO PRINCEPS of both works. Apollonius of Tyana was a Neopythagorean sage at the beginning of the Christian era, of whose wanderings to India, ascetic teachings and miraculous powers we only have Philostratus's account. Hierocles of Nicomedia had drawn parallels between Apollonius and Christ, which provoked this reply from Eusebius. As Aldus explains in the preface, he had grave doubts about publishing this book, which probably accounts for the long two year delay in its production and the fact that, although dated 1501-1502, the book was only printed in 1504. In his long dedicatory letter to the translator of Eusebius, Aldus says that he had expected great merit in Philostratus's work, but that he cannot recall reading anything worse: it is no more than a pack of old wives' tales. But having undertaken the task, and since three Latin editions are already in circulation, he decided to see it through and add Eusebius's admirable little work as an antidote. Adams P-1067; Ahmanson-Murphy 82; Brunet IV, 621 ('Edition rare'); Renouard Alde, 26:2.
[Bound after]: PHILOSTRATUS, Flavius (c. 170/172 – 247/250). Icones. Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1517. Greek and Roman text, large woodcut on final page. (Some soiling to first and final leaf, light occasional spotting).
A RARE EDITION of a work of considerable importance for the study of classical art containing descriptions of pictures in a Neapolitan collection. Brunet IV, 619; Giunti 105 ('ottima edizione'); Graesse V, 273.