The Ancient Theater interpreted in the Sixteenth-century - A Rare, Illustrated Terence - With 16th c. Provenance

Terence. [ Terentius Afer, Publius ] (ca. 195 – ca. 159 BCE)

Comedie: cum annotationibus Petri marsi et Pauli malleoli.

Strasbourg: Johann Prüss, 1506


Quarto: 20 x 13 cm. [12] CXLIII lvs. Collation: π6, a6, b4, c8, d4, e8, f4, g8, h-i4, k8, l4, m-n6, o4, p8, q4, r8, s4, t8, v4, x8, y4, z8, A-B4, C8

Bound in 16th c. half-pigskin over wooden boards, clasps missing but catches preserved, small loss to lower board, foot of spine repaired. Endpapers renewed. Text in fine condition with some light soiling and the odd blemish. The "Andria" is partly annotated in a contemporary hand. Notes, probably by the same annotator, on the title and final leaf. A letter to a certain Florianus, in a 16thc. hand, is affixed to the rear board.Illustrated with 6 full-page woodcuts showing composites of scenes from each play, with the players and sets.

PROVENANCE:?Leipzig, Marcus Schreyer (‘artium baccalaureus liptzicus formatus’ inscription); Peter Firtram (inscriptions dated 1564 and 1567); ?Tübingen, Johannes Coriarius (inscription dated 1570), perhaps Johannes Mendlin (1505-1577), professor of logic and dialectic in Tübingen; Schweinfurt, Otto Schäfer (monogram stamp, bought in 1981)

An extremely rare edition. No copies traced in North America.

Terence enjoyed great popularity in the Middle Ages, and when the Italian humanists began to write comedies in the late trecento, Terence, along with Plautus, was their model. In fact, it has been observed that the earliest humanist comedy, Pier Paolo Vergerio's 'Paulus' (ca. 1390) has not only a Terentian prologue, but also the stage setting "largely follows the Terentian design"(Fantazzi). The comedies were first printed at Rome ca. 1469 and at Germany, at Cologne, about 1475. When the present edition of 1506 appeared, Terence was enjoying great popularity in Germany.

"The first documented productions of Terence on German soil were in 1486, when the Eunuch was produced in Vienna and in Erfurt. In 1500 Laurentius Corvinus, the rector of the parish school at Breslau, also produced the Eunuch and followed it in 1502 with a performance of Plautus' Aulularia. Celtis lent his authority to the movement with his 1502/03 productions of the same comedies and of Seneca's Phaedra. Sometime between 1500 and 1505 the Hecyra was presented in Rostock. Thenceforth productions became frequent in the schools and universities, and the Roman dramatists entered the curriculum. The first lectures on Terence, in Vienna as early as 1456, were soon followed by others; and in the summer term of 1504 Hieronymus Emser was lecturing on Terence at Erfurt, with the young Martin Luther among his auditors. In 1516 Philip Melanchthon published an edition of Terence, adding his own set of prologues, but that he also directed productions of Terence is clear from the additional prologues he wrote for some of the plays. Whether these productions were staged in the university or in his own private school is uncertain; at least one of them took place in the home of his colleague Martin Luther (in 1525.)"(Kelly, " The Drama of Student Life in the German Renaissance")

USTC 682229; VD16 T-364