1494 Strabo, De Situ Orbis (Geographica). Vercellesis, Venice. Strabonis, Geography. Incunable.


Incunable 1494 edition of Strabo's ancient Geographica (circa 23 A.D.). This copy is missing the leaves up to xiii, but after that is complete (xiii to cl). Likely the 5th printed edition of this important work, this edition is dated "xxviii, Januarii", as the printer seems to have re-released the work in April (per OCLC 504875026, April edition added a title page) and May.

The endpapers have an 18th century bibliography of works relating to Strabo, indicating when the book was bound. The binder bound in sixteen blank leaves, before page "xiii", likely to give someone space to write the first twelve leaves in manuscript; they remain blank.

Page xiii, in this edition, is in the first book (of seventeen), about midway through; the mention of Aethiopiae classically relates to section 6 (of 23) in the first book. See wiki breakdown of sections for Geographica entry.

About the Work -

"Geography, is an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge, consisting of 17 'books', written in Greek by Strabo, an educated citizen of the Roman Empire of Greek descent. Strabo means ancient physical geography and by chorography, political geography. The two are combined in this work, which makes a 'circuit of the earth' detailing the physical and political features. Geographica provides a valuable source of information on the ancient world, especially when this information is corroborated by other sources. He traveled extensively, as he says: 'Westward I have journeyed to the parts of Etruria opposite Sardinia; towards the south from the Euxine to the borders of Ethiopia; and perhaps not one of those who have written geographies has visited more places than I have between those limits.'" - Wikipedia

This edition was translated by Guarinus Veronensis and Gregorius Tiphernas.

Printed in Venice by Vercellensis, who was active first in Trevisio, then moved to Venice in 1486 (Josephus printing).

You can see a 1510 edition of this printing scanned into Google Books (it's further edited, but minimally and the pagination and typography remain the same); also, the BNf Gallica hosts a copy (identifier bpt6k59079f).

Reference - Incunabula Short Title Catalogue is00798000

Several instances of Greek type in text. Marginal printed notes.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 29.5 x 21.5 x 3 cm., folio. Mottled calf binding, with some borders in blind, the title in one spine compartment in blind and four raised bands to spine. Page edges painted red.

Pagination - flyleaf, (1), 2 - (loose/blank leaves), 3-16 (blank leaves), (table, dedication and first twelve leaves missing), xiii - cl (273 printed pages), (1), flyleaf.

Signatures start at xiii, in six. C1-Z6, &6 (the last signature is the ampersand). Leaf cvi mis-numbered cix, but not a duplicate of cv as noted in OCLC.

Condition -

See pictures. Binding likely 18th century. Corners and edges worn, loss at bottom of spine. A little rubbing to rear board bottom and I see two wormholes. Headband present but tail-band missing with chip. A little warping to boards. Pastedowns pulled up, likely looking for "printer's waste" of value. Shelf mark and ex-libris on pastedown, in an old hand.

Extensive notes on 1st blank endpaper; they seem to be bibliographic, for late 18th century printings relating to Strabo. First two blank leaves loose (a fold). 14 additional blank leaves (one dog-eared). Text block missing front index, and the first twelve leaves (xii); text block starts at "xiii". Blanks likely inserted to manuscript missing. 1st five leaves of text have a mold stain near bottom of page. Some thumbing, toning, rough page edge, spots (foxing, dust and mold), etc. throughout. The mold seems long dead... but I could be wrong, book is entirely dry now with no strong mold smell. xiii-marginal ember hole. Space for capital initials sometimes have a manuscript letter written in next to them, old ink. Fore-edge of 41, ghost of (nail?). Very occasional underline and annotations. A few cockled pages. The "O" signature quire is shaken loose. Some pages mounted. Several wormholes at bottom margin gutter. Pencil marks around colophon and year wrote in with ink. Some dust at gutters.

Despite evidence of more than five-hundred years of use, the binding opens nicely and it's easy to review the work; it is not brittle, pages feel healthy.

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