THE ALDINE PRESS
Aldine Octavo — Provenance & Early Marginalia Too
Lactantius (ca. 240 – ca. 320). L. Coelii Lactantii Firmiani Divinarum Institutionum libri septem proxime castigati, et aucti. Eiusdem De ira Dei
liber I. De opificio Dei liber I. Epitome in libros suos, liber acephalos. Phoenix. Carmen de Dominica Resurrectione. Item index in eundem rerum omnium. Tertulliani liber apologeticus
cum indice. [colophon: Venetiis: In aedibus haeredum Aldi, et Andreae soceri], 1535. 8vo (16 cm, 6.25"). , 328, , [2 (blank)], 47, [1 (blank)],  ff.
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Lactantius was a North African writer (ca. 240–320), born a pagan and converted to Christianity, 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.” The editio princeps of Lactantius was issued in 1465, and the first Aldine in 1515. Like that latter, this edition includes also a short “Apologetic” by Tertullian, with a preface by Giovanni Battista Egnazio; and it bears for the first time a new preface on Lactantius by Paulus Manutius.
Renouard notes thatthis is an excellent edition, better than the first Aldine of 1515, and that one of the editors, Onorato Fascitello, had consulted the manuscripts of Lactantius found at Monte Cassino in preparation for it. Spaces have been left for initials throughout, unaccomplished; the whole is in Aldine italic, and the Aldine dolphin and anchor is found both on the title- and the last page. In this copy gathering “a” is in duplicate.
Evidence of readership: Scattered substantive marginalia in Latin to about leaf 140.
Provenance: Note on front pastedown reads, “E libris C. Brinsden, 1737. Dr. Ferrari, Librarian to Lord Leicester . . . exchanged this with me and some other books for two books of Fronterino, which were placed in his Lordship's library at Holkam in Norfolk.” Later 18th-century signature of R. Compton on front free endpaper. Late 19th- or early 20th-century bookplate of American collector Fritz Hermann Jordan on front free endpaper verso.
Not in Schweiger; Adams L22; Renouard (3rd ed.), Alde, 113–14. On Lactantius, see: New Catholic Encyclopedia, VIII, 308–309. Early limp vellum with remnants of ties, dust-soiled. Text with waterstaining, sometimes very noticeable; some worming in margins costing parts of some marginalia; last few leaves of volume's “names and things” index damaged in upper outer corner costing a few words and numbers on its last page. Certainly not a pristine copy but one with an interesting provenance and research-worthy marginalia. (34807)
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