Tacitus, Caius Cornelius (ca. 55 – ca. 120). Opere.... Padua, Giuseppe Comino; Giovanni Antonio Volpi and Gaetano Volpi, 30 August 1755.

Tacitus, Caius Cornelius (ca. 55 – ca. 120). Opere.... Padua, Giuseppe Comino; Giovanni Antonio Volpi and Gaetano Volpi, 30 August 1755.

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Tacitus, Caius Cornelius (ca. 55 – ca. 120).

Opere... con la traduzione in Volgar Fiorentino del Signor Bernardo Davanzati Posta rincontro al Testo Latino. Con le Postille del medesimo e la Dichiarazione d’alcune voci meno intese... Novella Edizione, purgata dagl’innumerabili errori di tutte le precedenti.... 

Padua, Giuseppe Comino; Giovanni Antonio Volpi and Gaetano Volpi, 30 August 1755.

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Opere... con la traduzione in Volgar Fiorentino del Signor Bernardo Davanzati Posta rincontro al Testo Latino. Con le Postille del medesimo e la Dichiarazione d’alcune voci meno intese... Novella Edizione, purgata dagl’innumerabili errori di tutte le precedenti...

Tacitus, Caius Cornelius (ca. 55 – ca. 120).

Opere... con la traduzione in Volgar Fiorentino del Signor Bernardo Davanzati Posta rincontro al Testo Latino. Con le Postille del medesimo e la Dichiarazione d’alcune voci meno intese... Novella Edizione, purgata dagl’innumerabili errori di tutte le precedenti.... Padua, Giuseppe Comino; Giovanni Antonio Volpi and Gaetano Volpi, 30 August 1755.

Two parts in one volume, large 4° (245x174 mm). Printed on blue paper. lxxx, 343; [5], 344- 669, [1] pages. Complete with the last blank leaf. Text in two columns. Engraved Comino printer's device at the end. Engraved medallion portrait of Davanzati on the title-page, with the inscription 'BERNARDO DAVANZATI GENTILUOMO FIORENTINO.' Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, with inked title and printing date. Pastedowns and flyleaves in blue paper. Gilt and gauffered edges. A very fine copy. On the front pastedown the inked number '966'; on the recto of the front flyleaf the stamped shelfmark 'D 327'.

Provenance: Giovanni Antonio Gotti from Ceneda, near Treviso (the ownership inscription 'Die 27 February 1777 Joh:is Antonj Gotti Cenetensis, Vicarj Pretorj Paduae cum Px:mo Antonio Gajnerio - Costò £ 26.-' on the front pastedown); Giovanni Giacomo Trivulzio (1774-1831; ex-libris); Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan (small stamps on the recto of the front flyleaf and on a few leaves of the volume; copy sold as a duplicate).

The Cominiana edition of Tacitus' Annales and Decades, offered here in the only copy known to have been printed on blue paper. This elegant Italian translation by the Florentine Bernardo Davanzati (1529-1606) successfully captures Tacitus' brevity while illuminating his obscurity. It first appeared posthumously in Florence in 1637, where it was printed on behalf of the Accademia della Crusca, which had inherited Davanzati's manuscripts. This translation represents a significant chapter in the history of the great Roman historian's reception in early modern Europe. During his lifetime Davanzati had only published a version of the first book of the Annales which appeared in Venice in 1596.

Tacitus was considered a master of political thought, and a sceptical analyst of political reality; his works could thus offer an interpretation of contemporary political events and the problems of monarchies through discussions of ancient civil wars and the unlimited power of Roman emperors. “The condemnation of Machiavelli's works by the Catholic Church (1559) had left an empty space which Tacitus could easily fill. What could be not be said in the name of Catholic Machiavelli could be said in the name of pagan Tacitus” (A. Momigliano, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography, Berkeley 1990, p. 123). This explains the popularity of Davanzati's translation, and more generally the vernacular translation of Tacitus, which was indeed a European phenomenon.

This marvellous copy was once held in the exquisite library collected by Giovanni Giacomo Trivulzio and is mentioned by Gamba with regard to the Paduan Tacitus of 1755. The Milanese bibliophile may have purchased the volume at the sale of the Bibliotheca Pinelliana (see no. 250).

Gamba 940; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 236.