[graece et latine] Rerum geographicarum libri septemdecim, a Guilielmo Xylandro Augustano magna cura recogniti

Autore STRABO (64/63 BC-24 AD)-XYLANDER, Guilielmus (Wilhelm Holtzmann, 1532-1576).
Tipografo Heinrich Petri
Dati tipografici Basel, 
Prezzo 8000.00
Rerum geographicarum libri

Folio (310x202 mm). [116], 997, [3] pp. with 27 double-page woodcut maps (4 repeated) and 8 smaller maps in text. Collation: [flower]6 α-θ6ι4a-k6l8m-r6s8t-z6A-B4C-D6E2 F6G-I2 K4L2 M6N8O-Z6Aa-Dd6Ee2 Ff-Gg6Hh2 Ii8Kk-Zz6 AA6BB2 CC-DD6EE8FF2 GG4HH6II4 KK2 LL6MM4NN-OO2 PP-SS6TT4VV2 XX8YY4. Printer's device on title page and last leaf verso. Woodcut decorated initials. Text in Greek and Latin, printed in two columns. Precious contemporary binding (Lyonese?), full brown calf, spine with four raised bands, compartments decorated with blind- and gilt-ruled fillets and a repeated gilt fleuron, panels with a large centerpiece and four corner-pieces in gilt within multiple blind- and gilt-ruled concentric fillets, gilt and gauffered edges, original endleaves preserved (lacking ties, small losses to the bottom of spine, round wormholes to spine, some scratches and defects to panels, light damp stain to the bottom part of panels and spine). Title page slightly soiled and stained, light damp stain to the bottom inner margin of the volume, upper margin of ll. B2 and B3 trimmed with loss to part of the map title and page number, slightly uniformly browned. All in all a very good, genuine copy, lavishly bound.

FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION of Strabo's geographical encyclopedia and first edition of the commentary and the Latin translation by German scholar Wilhelm Holtzmann, better known as Guilielmus Xylander, professor at the University of Heidelberg. This translation was subsequently reprinted in the edition edited by Isaac Casaubon in Geneva in 1587, and again at the end of the 18th century in the Strabo edition edited by J.P. Siebenkees.

The maps are those designed by the great cartographer Sebastian Münster, who first cut them for his edition of Ptolemy's ‘Geography' (Basel, Heinrich Petri, 1540); however, only the ancient maps are reprinted here. It should be noted that in the same year the work also appeared in a variant edition issued by Petri, which bears a different title (Rerum Geographicarum commentarij libris XVII content, Latini facti G.X.) and a different pagination (pp. 116, 563).

Strabo's work, a vast compilation based on the author's own travels but mostly depending on indirect sources, contains political, economic, social, cultural, and geographic information on almost all the people known at the time. It opens with two introductory books on general geography. Books 3-10 deal with Europe with particular regard to Greece (its map is repeated twice and almost all of the small woodcuts in text represent Greek islands); books 11-16 are devoted to Asia; book 17 to Egypt and northern Africa. Strabo worked on his ‘Geography' for many years. Through some references within the work we can assume that it was probably composed between around 7 BC and 23 AD. Strabo's ‘Geography' is the only extant work providing information on Greeks and Romans during the reign of Emperor Augustus.

The editio princeps of the original Greek text was first printed by Aldus in 1516, while the first Latin translation, by Guarino Veronese, appeared in 1469.

The historian and Greek geographer Strabo was born in Amaseia (Pontus). He was a pupil of the philosopher Xenarchus, the grammarian Aristodemus, and the geographer Tyrannion of Amisus. Strabo arrived in Rome in 44 BC to remain there, studying and writing, until at least 31 BC. He also travelled extensively: he journeyed to Egypt, Ethiopia, Asia Minor, and throughout the Mediterranean and Near East, collecting information for his encyclopedic work.

Wilhelm Holtzman (Grecized to Xylander), native of Augsburg, studied at Tübingen. In 1558 he was appointed to succeed Jakob Micyllus in the professorship of Greek at the University of Heidelberg, a position that he exchanged for the chair of logic in 1562. Xylander is the author of a number of important works, including Latin translations of Dio Cassius (1558), Plutarch (1560-1570) and Strabo (1571). He also edited (1568) the geographical lexicon of Stephanus of Byzantium; the travels of Pausanias (1583); and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (1558). He translated the first six books of Euclid into German, the Arithmetica of Diophantus, and the De quattuor mathematicis scientiis of Michael Psellus into Latin (cf. M.F. Suarez, S.J. & H.R. Woudhuysen, The Oxford Companion to the Book, Oxford, 2010, s.v.).

Adams, S-1907; BMSTC German, p. 834; S.F.W. Hoffmann, Bibliographisches Lexicon der gesammten Litteratur der Griechen, Leipzig, 1845, p. 454; Phillips, Atlases, 3390.

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  • Rerum geographicarum libri
  • Rerum geographicarum libri
  • Rerum geographicarum libri
  • Rerum geographicarum libri
  • Rerum geographicarum libri