Suetonius Tranquillus cum Philippi Beroaldi et Marci Antonii Sabellici commentariis. Cum figuris nuper additis

Autore: SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS, Gaius (ca. 69-122)

Tipografo: Giovanni Rossi

Dati tipografici: Venezia, 8 gennaio 1506



Folio (303x201 mm). [4], 358 leaves. Collation: aa4 a-z8 &8 [con]8 [rum]8 A-S8 T6. Colophon and register at l. T6r. On the title page large woodcut illustration (91x138 mm) depicting the author surrounded by his commentators and bearing the monogram L of the Florentine engraver Lucantonio degli Uberti, active in the years 1503-1557 in Verona, Venice, and Florence: the woodcut had already been used in the Horace printed by Pinzi on 5 February 1505 but with a different figure for the author in the center replaced thanks to a movable piece that could be changed at will. Also with 80 woodcut vignettes in text, the first of which is slightly bigger and shows Julius Caesar's birth by caesarean section: 44 of these vignettes present simples outlines (some of them are signed with the monograms F e b) and are taken from the Livy of 16 February 1493; the extant 36, more shaded, were specifically cut for this edition. Woodcut initials on black ground. 18th-century vellum over boards, lettering piece on spine, marbled edges (slightly stained and darkened). On the title page ownership's inscription and label of the library of the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites of Santi Pietro e Teresa in Oliveto at Brescia (the convent was suppressed and spoliated on several occasions, first in 1668 when it was assigned to the Discalced Carmelites, then during the Napoleonic occupation in 1798-99, and finally again during the “Ten Days” rebellion of Brescia in 1849). Old repair to the lower margin of the last two leaves, small hole on the second-to-last leaf slightly affecting the text, light marginal foxing, some browning, small round wormholes at the beginning and at the end of the volume, all in all a very good copy.


FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION of Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars. The text is accompanied by the commentaries of Filippo Beroaldo (1453-1505), which had already appeared in Bologna in 1493, and Marco Antonio Sabellico (ca. 1436-1506), first printed in Venice in 1490.

This edition also has another record, that of containing the first depiction of a Caesarian birth in the woodcut that opens the life of Julius Caesar (l. a1r). The legend, according to which Caesar was born by caesarean section and was called by that name for that reason (“caeso matris utero”), is very old and goes back to Pliny the Elder (Naturalis Historia, VII, 47).


Olschi, Choix, 5330; Edit 16, CNCE29626; Essling, 208; Sander, 7143; Wellcome, I, 6139.