1545 Historiae Mundi, Plinii Secundi (Natural History,Pliny the Elder,in 37 books). Froben, Basil


A handsome 1545 Froben printing of Pliny the Elder's Natural History, complete in 37 books, in folio, with wide margins, and historiated initials (mostly) at the start of each "book".

About the Work -

Pliny the Elder (born Gaius Plinius Secundus, AD 23–79) was a Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and friend of emperor Vespasian. Spending most of his spare time studying, writing, and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, Pliny wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia (Natural History), which became an editorial model for encyclopedias.

His nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus: “For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading; above measure blessed those on whom both gifts have been conferred. In the latter number will be my uncle, by virtue of his own and of your compositions.”

Pliny the Elder died in AD 79, while attempting the rescue, by ship, of a friend and his family, in Stabiae, from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which already had destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the volcano’s eruption did not allow his ship to leave port, and Pliny probably died during that event.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 38 x 25 x 7.5 cm. OCLC (Worldcat library reference) #901242375. Calf binding, respined, with six raised bands to spine. Double frame with double blind fillets with corner florets to boards. Pages - 18 leaves, 671 numbered pages, Index book one - signatures K6 (60 leaves), L8 (8 leaves). Index book two - B6 (12 leaves), C8 (8 leaves).

Condition -

See pictures. Binding is well worn, with older as-needed repairs and respined and recornered. Edge wear completely around, with some chipping. Rear boards leather fairly damaged but included in repair. Inner hinges were repaired with Japanese tissue, visible at gutter. "Plinius" in an old hand is barely visible along the bottom edge. Some worming at bottom of inside of front board, doesn't extend to title page. Names, bookseller notes on pastedown. No flyleaf. Title page had a number of scored out inscriptions; where it rubbed through, and the top edge corner, have been repaired. Scoring bled through to page under. Some toning and thumbing to pages throughout. Damp staining at upper gutter intermittent throughout, sometimes going into the text. Worming in margins of lower outer edges in last half of book. No rear flyleaf. Occasional fox spots throughout. Moisture mark at fore-edge signature C to page 1. Rear colophon also has scored out inscriptions and ink smudges.

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