First edition with Palladio's illustrations

Caesar, Caius Julius. I commentarii con le figure in rame de gli alloggiamenti, de' fatti d'arme, delle circonvallationi delle città, & di molte altre cose notabili descritte in essi. Fatte da Andrea Palladio.

Venice, Pietro de' Franceschi, (1574-)1575.

4to (170 x 225 mm). (48), 407, (1) pp. (with blank leaf *4). With woodcut initials and headpieces, 42 engravings (maps and plans) with letterpress captions on versos (bound as double-page plates). Contemporary limp vellum with ms. title to spine, lacking 2 pairs of ties.


First edition with Palladio's illustrations.

Italian edition of Caesar's "Commentarii de bello Gallico" and "Commentarii de bello civili", using Francesco Baldelli's twenty-year-old translation, with engraved plates by Andrea Palladio depicting most of Caesar's campaigns, including the famous siege of Alesia. "In the preface, Palladio explains that the illustrations had originated out of a project he had set for his two sons, Orazio and Leonida. Palladio decided to complete the project and publish the illustrations after the death of both his sons ins 1572. Pallado dedicated the book to Giacomo (Jacopo) Buoncompagni, the natural son of Pope Gregory XIII" (Witcombe, Copyright in the Renaissance [Leiden 2004], p. 265). In his introduction, Palladio notes that while fortifications are all very well, a determined army will always overcome them, and it is better to train an army properly along the lines of the Roman army (as Machiavelli had also stated), just as in architecture the Romans had not been surpassed by later generations (cf. J. R. Hale, "Andrea Palladio, Polybius and Julius Caesar", Renaissance War Studies [1983], pp. 471-486).

Binding wrinkled with a few slight spine flaws. Foot of title-page excised (just touching date); a few captions shaved. Provenance: extract from English sale catalogue pasted to front flyleaf. Armorial bookplate of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Francis Fremantle (1765-1819), close friend of Admiral Nelson, to pastedown. Latterly in the collection of his descendant Thomas Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe (1862-1956), commander of the Territorial Army and president of the Society for Army History Research (purchased from Pickering & Chatto, 2 August 1901, 12s).

Edit 16, CNCE 8188. BM-STC Italian 135. Adams C 86. Mortimer, Harvard Italian 97. Schweiger II.1 55. Thieme/Becker XXVI, 165.

Stock Code: BN#51097 Tags: , ,