ARISTOTELES (384-322 BCE). Opera nonnulla. Translated by John Argyropoulos, Bruno Aretinus, and others. Venice: Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis de Forlivio for Benedictus Fontana, 13 July 1496.

A gorgeous copy of humanist translations of the illustrated works of Aristotle, with decorated initials and in a contemporary Westphalian binding. The rediscovery and translation of Aristotle’s works in the Middle Ages transformed European intellectual life; by the time of the Renaissance, however, a new Aristotle was needed to meet the needs of humanist thinkers eager to distinguish themselves from the percieved pedantry of the scholastic masters. This edition collects the Aristotelian translations of John Argyropoulos, an émigré Greek scholar (and teacher of Lascaris), who is praised in the preface for having restored Aristotle to his original Greek eloquence—that is to say: presented him in a new, humanist, Latin idiom. The selection of his translations, alongside those of Bruno Aretinus and Ermolao Barbaro, “confirms the high level of commitment to humanist values and methods that characterizes the 1496 volume as a whole” (Kraye). This is an exquisite copy retaining many original features, including neat rubrication, flourished initials, all of its multicolored leather index tabs and knots, clasps, and pastedowns reused from a 14th-century German antiphonal. BMC V 349; BSB-Ink A-705; GW 2341; IGI 797; Klebs 82.7; Goff A-966; ISTC ia00966000. See also Jill Kraye, “The printing history of Aristotle in the fifteenth century: a bibliographical approach to Renaissance philosophy,” in Renaissance Studies 9.2 (June 1995), pp. 189-211.

Super-chancery folio (307 x 216mm). 508 leaves. 12 large blue and red initials with white foliate design over green ground and flourishing, large and small read and blue Lombard initials, rubricated. Woodcut initials, two of which are historiated blocks depicting Jacobus de Voragine and Nicolò Malermi, numerous woodcut diagrams, woodcut printer’s device at end (a few small dampstains at ends). Contemporary Westphalian blindstamped calf with clasps and index tabs [EBDB w000826, "Domus sororum"], vellum flyleaf and pastedowns from a 14th-century German Antiphonal (neatly rebacked). Custom box. Provenance: a few annotations – signature dated 1719 on flyleaf.
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