The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals. Plutarch.
The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals.
The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals.
The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals.
The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals.
The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals.
The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals.

The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals.

London: Arnold Hatfield, 1603. Folio, early full calf, raised bands. [viii], 1363, [1 blank p.], [62] pp., engraved title-page headpiece. In a recent custom-made clamshell box, in half brown calf and brown cloth, with raised bands.

First edition in English of Plutarch’s Moralia.

Although Plutarch is best known as a biographer, over half of his work consists of philosophical writings. In addition to his discussions of several classical schools, Plutarch writes on a wide variety of subjects, from marriage, the proper education of children, and how to tell a flatterer from a friend to the morality of meat-eating, the face of the moon, and the relative intelligences of land and sea animals.

In this varied light, a more appropriate title might have been the one given to the first Latin translation ever printed: Apothegmata, originally from the Greek word “to speak out,” was printed in Venice by Johannes Vindelinus de Spira in 1472. However, further translations into other languages took the title Moralia from the initial 14th century gathering of eleven of Plutarch’s ethical writings into a single manuscript (Parisinus Graecus 1672). These translations were hugely influential: Goethe and Schilling both read Plutarch, and Montaigne’s Essays draw much inspiration, both in form and content, from the Moralia. This first edition in English, translated out of the Greek by Philemon Holland and printed with his commentary in 1603, was very likely read by the likes of Shakespeare, Bacon, Dryden, and others.

An unsophisticated copy. Although of uncertain date (to the present cataloger), the binding appears to be fairly early, and the remnant of a manuscript on parchment incorporated into the structure of the spine is visible along the inner hinge. Thus, the clamshell box, rather than a new, more serviceable binding.

REFERENCES: ESTC S115981; Harvey, Oxford Companion to Classical Lit. p. 337; W.W. Goodwin, Plutarch’s Morals, p. x; G.R. Manton, “The Manuscript Tradition of Plutarch Moralia” p. 97; “Plutarch,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

CONDITION: Binding worn and chipped, hinges split, but cords quite strong and the covers more or less firmly attached, lacking endpapers, title-page rippled and somewhat soiled, contents generally clean, with occasional toning and foxing.

Item #3582

Price: $6,500.00

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