The Koberger Horace

Horace. Horatius Flaccus, Quintus (65-8 B.C.)

Opera cu[m] quibusdam Annotat[i]o[n]ib[us]. Imaginibusq[ue] pulcherrimis aptisq[ue] ad Odarum conce[n]tus & sente[n]tias.

Strasbourg: Johann Reinhard, called Grüninger, 12 March, 1498

$60,000.00

Folio: 298 x 222 mm. Collation: [*]6, A-V6, X-Z6, AA-II6, KK-LL8; [**]6

FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF HORACE and the first edition of the poet’s works to be printed in Germany. The text was edited by the poet laureate Jacob Locher, called Philomusus. The woodcuts were executed by the artist of the Grüninger Terence (November 1, 1496).

Bound in 19th c. half calf and marbled boards. Illustrated with more than 160 detailed woodcuts. This is an excellent copy with large margins. A contemporary 15th or 16th c. artist has painted five of the large woodcuts with subtlety and a sophisticated use of color and shadow: 1. title page portrait of the author crowned with a laurel wreath; 2. Horace and his patron, Maecenas; 3. Julius Caesar being slain by Brutus and Cassius; 4. Virgil sailing in a ship; and 5. two pairs of lovers discoursing in a landscape. From the libraries of Georg (Franz Burkhard) Kloss (1787-1854), with his bookplate; Arthur Atherley, with his bookplate; and Etienne Reymond, with his bookplate “Mr. & Mrs. Etienne Reymond”. The German physician, philologist and Freemason George Kloss (1787-1854) was an early student of bibliographer and a collector of early books and manuscripts. This book was Lot 2046 in Kloss’ sale at Sotheby’s, May 1835.)

This copy is partially rubricated and is annotated, in Latin, throughout in at least two contemporary hands. The early annotations are intact, having been spared by the binder’s knife, and consist of metrical notations, citations from other authors, and comments. There are also two glosses in Greek (leaves S6v and FF1r) as well as an apparent note in German (leaf FF6). An added manuscript index for the “Epistolae” is bound after the final text leaf. The readers have also made corrections and a few notable additions (e.g. “Cunnus CXXIX 3”) to the main index of words.

The annotators cite more than twenty authors, both ancient and contemporary, as well as the Bible. Among the ancient authors cited are Aesop, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, Aulus Gellius, Cicero, Ovid, Diodorus Siculus, Juvenal, Lactantius, Pliny, Plutarch, St. Jerome, Seneca, and Virgil. The contemporary and near-contemporary authors cited include: Michael Marullus, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, Mantuan, Antonio Mancinelli (commentary on Juvenal), Badius Ascensius (“Sylvae”), Publio Fausto Andrelini, and Erasmus (“Adagia”).

The most frequently cited authors are Juvenal (13 citations) and Badius Ascensius (12 citations from the “Sylvae”). One reader also shows a fashionable interest in the “Adagia” of Erasmus. He identifies 23 separate adages in the course of the text and mentions Erasmus’ work by name at least three times. He also makes a reference to an epistle of Publio Fausto Andrelini of Forli (1460-1518) that might be the letter that Erasmus asked Andrelini to write as a preface to the “Adagia”.

Hain 8898; Goff H 461; BMC I, 112; Polain 1989; Proctor 485; Walsh 182; Fairfax Murray (German) 205; Rosenwald Collection 188; Dibdin, Bibl. Spenceriana II, 87-95. For Grüninger, his illustrated books, and Locher’s edition of Horace, see Mark Morford, Johann Grüninger of Strasbourg in “Syntagmatia: Essays on Neo-Latin Literature in Honour of Monique Mund-Dopchie and Gilbert Tournoy (Humanistica Lovaniensia, XXVI) 2009