De antiquitatibus urbis Romae Libellus longè utilissimus. Topographiae veteris Romae Io. Bartholomæi MARLIANI [?] Epitome, nunc primum edita. P. VICTORIS de urbis Romae regionibus & locis libellus [?]

Autore: LETO, Giulio Pomponio (Sanseverino Giulio, 1428-1498)-MARLIANI, Giovanni Bartolomeo (1488-1566)-VICTOR, Publius (fl. 4th cent)

Tipografo: Thomas Platter.

Dati tipografici: Basel,   1538

Formato: in ottavo

8vo (155x95 mm). [36], 357 [i.e. 255], [1 blank] pp. Collation: a-b8 c2 A-Q8. 17th-century vellum over boards, gilt spine with morocco lettering piece, tinted edges. On the front pastedown later manuscript notes and printed label of the “Domus probat. Cheriensis Societ. Jesu Catal. inscript. Biblioth”, i.e. the library of the Jesuit school of Chieri near Turin. On the front flyleaf entries of ownership of Giovanni Battista (18 April 1739) and Giovanni Goffi (2 June 1785). Slightly browned throughout, some spots, a good genuine copy.

RARE EDITION this collection of writings on the topography of ancient Rome, including Leto's fragmentary guide of ancient Rome (written around 1484). From Leto's Excerpta to this guide to the ruins and monuments, the printer Jacopo Mazzocchi compiled the De vetustate urbis and published it for the first time in 1510 (cf. Archeälogie der Antike. Aus den Beständen der Herzog August Bibliothek, 1500- 1700, Wiesbaden, 1994, p. 38). It is followed by a completely reworked edition of Marliani's archaeological guidebook and by Publius Victor's regionary catalogue of Rome (first published in 1502/5).

Pomponio Leto was born at Teggiano, near Salerno, the illegitimate scion of the princely house of Sanseverino. He moved to Rome around 1450 to study under Lorenzo Valla, who he eventually succeeded as preceptor of rhetoric and Latin at the ‘Studium Urbis'. Around 1458 he headed the for- mation of the Roman Academy, a loosely organized group of scholars dedicated to the study of classi- cal philology and archaeology. His disciples included Alessandro Farnese (later Paul III) and Conrad Peutinger. In 1466 on his way to take up an appointment at the University of Rome, Leto stopped for a sojourn in Venice. Here he was brought under investigation by the Council of Trent on suspicion of having seduced his students, whom he was said to have praised with excessive ardor in some Latin poems. Charged with sodomy he was imprisoned. At the same time in Rome, Paul II began viewing Leto's academy with suspicion, as savoring of paganism. In 1468 twenty of the academicians were ar- rested during Carnival, on charges of conspiracy against the Pope. Leto, who was still in Venice at the time the supposed conspiracy was discovered, was sent back to Rome, imprisoned and put to the tor- ture, but refused to plead guilty to the charges of infidelity and immorality. For want of evidence, he was acquitted and allowed to resume his professorial duties; but it was forbidden to utter the name of the academy even in jest. He also wisely decided not to set foot in Venice again, and for greater securi- ty, soon married. In the meantime, Leto received from emperor Frederick III a dispensation to grant the laurel wreath: the young poet Publio Fausto Andrelini was the first to receive it. Leto continued to teach at the University of Rome until his death in 1498. Pope Sixtus IV permitted the resumption of the Academy meetings, which continued to be held until the Sack of Rome in 1527. Leto's importance in cultural history lies mostly in his role as a teacher. On his death he was buried in the church of San Salvatore in Rome (cf. G. Lovito, Pomponio Leto politico e civile: L'Umanesimo italiano tra storia e diritto, Salerno, 2005, passim).

“On 31 May 1534, Antonio Blado da Asolo published a small handbook to Roman antiquities, the Antiquae Romae topographia, libri septem by Giovanni Bartolomeo Marliani. Although the author, ‘patritius Mediolanensis', had only recently settled in Rome, the reception of the work was generally favorable. François Rabelais, who had spent from January to April of that year as Cardinal Jean du Bellay's guest near the Thermae Diocletianae, was one of the first to give his imprimatur. Rabelais had done some preliminary investigations of the city's ruins, but he soon decided it made better sense to put his energies into preparing a new edition of Marliani's guide book. The Lyonnais printer Sebastian Gryphe, with whom he had collaborated for several years, published the Topographia in September 1534 […] Rabelais' edition was followed by two others from across the Alps. In March 1538, Thomas Platter reprinted [a totally reworked ‘epitome ‘of] the work along with Pomponio Letos's fragmentary guide and the regionary catalogue of Publius Victor” (Ph. Jacks, The Antiquarian and the Myth of Antiquity. The Origins of Rome in Renaissance Thought, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 206-207).

Giovanni Bartolomeo Marliani left his native Milan to study at the University of Padua, where he came in contact with Giovanni Morone, later Cardinal. In Rome he became a friar at San Agostino and member of the religious confraternity of the Compagnia di Sant'Appolonia. He published works on Roman law, history, topography and numismatics. He was the first to publish the inscriptions of the consular ‘Fasti' in the same year of their discovery (1549) in the Forum Romanum (cf. M. Laureys, Bartolomeo Marliano: ein Antiquar des 16. Jahrhunderts, in: “Antiquarische Gelehrsamkeit und bildende Kunst: die Gegenwart der Antike in der Renaissance”, K. Corsepius, ed., Cologne, 1996, pp. 151-167).

VD 16, P-4177, M-1023, V-975; Universal STC, 684309; M. Daly Davis & Ch. Davis, eds., op. cit., pp. 42-44, no. 2.7; S. Rossetti, Rome. A Bibliography from the Invention of Printing through 1899, Florence, 2004, III, p. 54, no. 6206; L. Schudt, Le guide di Roma, Vienna, 1980, p. 370, no. 604 and p. 415, no. 807.