1503 Proverbiorum Libellus by Polydore Vergil. First collection of Latin adages


Scarce, 1503 (3rd edition) of Polydore Vergil's collection of Latin Proverbs, Proverbiorum Libellus; Polydore was the first to print a collection of Latin Proverbs. Erasmus' claimed he was the first with Adagia (1500), for many years at rivalry with Polydore for priority, before, it seems, acquiescing and striking up a friendship.

Vergil's proverbs first appeared in 1498, with a second edition in 1500. The 1503 edition was the first edition printed by Johannes de Tridino. I have compared to the editions, and Tridino's layout is similar, but he did reset the text with some small changes to layout.

306 proverbs taken from classical sources.

“An assemblage of sayings derived from the writings of the ancient classics, but there are several which have come down to us and are accepted proverbs in our own literature, such as Pares cum paribus: Aequalem tibi mulierem inquire: Pupilla oculi nobis charius: Ovem lupo commisisti…” – English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases, page xii, Hazlitt, 1869

Polydor expanded the work in 1521, renaming it Adagiorum Liber, adding 431 biblical proverbs. Some say that Polydor renamed the work to draw attention to the fact that Erasmus' 1500 Adagia work was quite similar.

About the Author -

Polydore Vergil or Virgil (1470 –1555), widely known as Polydore Vergil of Urbino, was an Italian humanist scholar, historian, priest and diplomat, who spent much of his life in England. He is particularly remembered for his works the Proverbiorum libellus (1498), a collection of Latin proverbs; De inventoribus rerum (1499), a history of discoveries and origins; and the Anglica Historia (drafted by 1513; printed in 1534), an influential history of England. He has been dubbed the "Father of English History". - Wikipedia

About the Printer -

"Johannes de Tridino, best known by his nick-name Tacuinus (the almanac-maker), came from Cerreto, a village near the town of Trino... in Piedmont. He completed his first book on August 18, 1492... within the next seven and a half years, he produced at least seventy-three editions. He confined himself almost entirely to the printing of Latin classics, the Venetian editions of which, because of their accuracy, found a ready market throughout Europe. He continued to print until 1538." - Edwin Elliot Willoughby, Folger Shakespeare Library

Bibliographic Details -

Not found in the USTC. Not in Brunet.

Worldcat OCLC records six copies (458490305, 220616731, 62625218); Huntington Library, University of Minnesota, Universitatsbibliothek Leipzig, Universitatsbibliothek Dresden, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and the BNF.

Catalogue of Books in English, French and Italian Literature, Works on the Theory and Composition of Music - number 297

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 22 x 16.5 x 1 cm, quarto. Vellum binding.

Pages - Unnumbered pages; 68 leaves.

Collation - a-h8, i4; collates complete as per the OCLC entries.

Condition -

See pictures. Vellum straight and fairly clean. Bookplate on pastedown. Some thumbing, toning, spots to endpapers. Title page rubbed, like it was once exposed. Some thumbing, dog-eared pages, occasional spot, page edge chip, etc throughout. Pages numbered at top, not starting at one (probably bound with other works at some point). A few marginal annotations. Occasional moisture mark at gutter. Ink smear on leaf i2, can still read text through it.

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