Apologie o vero risposte alli discorsi del Sig. Domenico Tempesta, e del Signor Academico Insensato. Fatti intorno alla Patria di Traiano Imperatore

Autore: ARGENTI, Giovanni Francesco (fl. XVI-XVII sec.)

Tipografo: Cerquetano Cerquetani

Dati tipografici: Todi, 1627


4to (199x140 mm). [12], 67, [1: errata] pp. Woodcut printer's device on title, woodcut initials and tailpieces. Contemporary vellum-backed cardboard, inked title on spine (some holes and tears to spine). On the front pastedown 20th-century bookplate “Ex biblioteca P.P. Argenti” of the Greek diplomat, lawyer, and historian Philip Pandeli Argenti (1891-1974), who seems, from other books from his library that have re-emerged over the years, to have collected anything with a connection to his surname. Aside from very occasional spotting and a small wormhole at head of title (not affecting text), clean and crisp throughout.

Rare first edition of this piece of seventeenth-century antiquarianism, a study of the relationship with the Umbrian city of Todi with the Emperor Trajan, written in response to the writings of the 16th-century historian Domenico Tempesta by Giovanni Francesco Argenti, whose only published work this appears to be.

Prefaced by a series of sonnets, epigrams, and madrigals by local poets, Argenti's work is less concerned with Trajan than with burnishing the historical credentials of his hometown. Tempesta had argued, based on extensive research, that Trajan had been born in Spain, although acknowledging that his father, at least, had been from the region around Todi. Argenti, however, was not persuaded, and interrogates Tempesta's sources, questions his reasoning, and argues that all the evidence points to the emperor's having been born in Todi itself. When combined with the fact that Pope Martin I was also a native of the town, we see how the prestige of having twin historical pillars of authority, temporal and secular, would enhance Todi's reputation and fortunes, which, despite a revival under the 16th-century bishop Angelo Cesi, had been considerably diminished since it had fallen under the rule of the papal states.

There is only one flaw in Argenti's argument: it appears to be entirely wrong; it is accepted now that Trajan was indeed born in Spain, admittedly, as Tempesta allowed, to a Roman father from Todi.

Italian Union Catalogue, IT\ICCU\UM1E\006814; OCLC locates copies at the BL, the Mazarine, and the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome.