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Lactantius. L. Coelii Lactantii Firmiani Divinarum institutionum libri septem. De ira Dei, liber I. De opificio Dei, liber I. Epitome in libros suos liber acephalos. Phoenix. Carmen de dominica resurrectione. [colophon: Venetiis: In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae soceri, 1515]. 8vo (16.3 cm, 6.375"). , 348, , , 48 ff. $5,000.00
First Aldine edition for Lactantius' three major works, the editio princeps having been printed in 1465. Another Aldine version appeared in 1535. The text includes a preface by Giovanni Battista Egnazio (addressed to Antonio Trivulzio) which serves as a => eulogy for Aldo Manuzio, who died earlier that year, as well as a => Latin–Greek dictionary following the main text for the phrases used within the work. Also appearing after Lactantius' text is a short "Apologieticus contra gentes" by Tertullian, with a preface by Egnazio; UCLA's Aldine catalogue notes the two must have been released together, as corrections for the Tertullian appear at the end of the Lactantius.
Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (ca. 240–320), born a pagan before converting to Christianity, was a North African writer whose polished style earned him, during the Renaissance, the sobriquet of "the Christian Cicero." According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Jerome admired his writings, judging their strengths and weaknesses as apologetics somewhat wistfully: "Would that he had been able to establish our teachings as well as he demolished that of others."
Spaces with guide letters are found throughout the work but have been left unaccomplished, no scribe having provided decorative initials; the whole is => in Aldine italic with a few phrases in Greek; and the Aldine dolphin and anchor is found on both title-pages and the last page.
Provenance: From the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear.
Adams L16; Renouard (3rd ed.), Alde, 70–2; UCLA, Aldine Press: Catalogue of the Ahmanson-Murphy Collection (2001), 132. On Lactantius, see: New Catholic Encyclopedia, VIII, 308–309. Late 18th-century tree calf, flat spine ruled and decorated in gilt with two colored labels, covers framed in gilt geometric roll, all edges gilt and gauffered, speckled endpapers; rubbed with some loss of leather and covers somewhat tenuously attached, worming at one corner a little affecting an endpaper. Light age-toning with some staining/spotting, some gatherings with chiefly marginal waterstaining/very small worming; inner margin of title-page and first leaf of text repaired affecting a few letters; one leaf with short interior tear and another with inked marginal note. => This Aldine with a significant "Aldine" preface. (37839) Please RESHELVE This.
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