1582 The Odyssey by Homer. L'Odissea Homero, transtlated by Girolamo Baccelli. The 1st complete Italian vulgate translation.


The first complete Italian vulgate translation of The Odyssey, printed in 1582 by Sermatelli, and translated by Girolamo Bacelli. Unfortunately, this copy is missing a handful of pages (33-48 and 665-672); price reflects condition (typically they are found on the market around $1500).

Not much is known of Bacelli. He was a member of the Florentine Academy, with records beginning in 1541, and reaching the position of consul in 1552. He completed this translation of the Odyssey, and had begun on the Iliad when he passed away in 1581. The manuscripts are held in Ricciardiana Library in Florence. His brother, Baccio, provides the dedication in first edition. Critics write that the translation is without a unitary criterion of method; at times literally translated, and elsewhere edited with some imagination. (Biographical Dictionary of Italians, Vol 5, 1963)

Provenance -

The Chicago pastedown states that this was from the collection of Bernard Weinberg. According to their website, he was a "passionate" collector, who completed the work A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance. This copy withdrawn, but in researching this book I found that Chicago has another copy (likely why they withdrew one).

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 17 x 10 x 4 cm, 8vo. Limp vellum binding. Spine with four raised bands; title and shelf mark in ink in an old hand. Title page with decorative border and printer's mark. Some decorated initials. Tailpiece at end. Second state of printer's mark at rear colophon. Pages - (1), iv, 678 (although many mis-numbered and some pages missing; see condition), colophon, (1). Collation - Z8, Ss8, Tt4, Uu4

Note: although I state that pages pages 665-672 are missing, I don't think this is the case. The signing of the quires (Tt4 to Uu4) and the guiding last word on page Tt4 matching the 1st word on Uu1 indicates to me that the last quire is just paginated badly, as happened often throughout this work. I think the only missing pages are the quire signed C.

Condition -

See pictures. Pleasing look of history. Binding strong, ties and endbands still in-place and functional. A few stains on binding; spine titling a little faded, and some light graphite marks on spine. A few ink stains along text block/page edges. Ex libris bookplate on pastedown (The U of Chicago; stamped withdrawn), also old monogram in ink. Ink smudge on 1st blank endpaper.

Title possibly washed, stain at bottom edge marginal. Upper corner likely repaired (border fades out); ex libris inscription erased but noticeable below author name. Stain at bottom corner margin continues for several quires. Occasional moisture mark intrusion at edges throughout, occasionally touches text. Quire signed C missing (page 33-48). Annotations in old hand throughout. Chalk marks? on 154-155. Worming at top edge, affects header, 241-291. Occasional dog-eared page. Ink spot bottom margin 353. Occasional thumb. Ink spot in text 411. No 665-672 but signing works? Old writing on rear endpaper/pastedown.

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