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Classical literature

Rare first editions, signed and inscribed copies, deluxe and collectible editions of books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to texts composed by Greek or Latin authors in the era of classical antiquity, including such works in translation.

40 Item(s)

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  1. 131150detail
    The Olympic Edition, number 186 of 1,000 copies only. The set collects the historical works of the three great ancient Greek historians, translated by George Rawlinson, Benjamin Jowett, and Henry Graham Dakyns respectively. Learn More
    £1,500

    Stock Code: 131150

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  2. 122381comp
    First edition. Presentation copy, inscribed by the translator on the front free endpaper: "To Mr Stevenson, from his sincere friend J. Stevenson" and signed by him at the conclusion of the preface (page v). The work contains the Sanskrit text of the opening thirty-five Suktas of the first Mandala of the Rigveda, with Sanskrit... Learn More
    £3,875

    Stock Code: 122381

    signed

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  3. 117983

    Ilias.

    London: 1815

    A highly appealing Regency-era prize binding, with Glasgow Grammar School presentation plates dated 1819 to the front pastedowns, signed by noted rector William Chrystal (1776-1830), who is credited with transforming the school's fortunes following his appointment in 1805, and whose death in a boating accident in the Firth... Learn More
    £650

    Stock Code: 117983

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  4. 118081
    An attractive Oxford edition of the only surviving work by the Greek poet thought to have lived in Alexandria in the 2nd century AD, printed with the Latin commentary of Eustathius (d. 1195/6) and four attractive maps illustrating Greek geographical knowledge. Classical works were published at Oxford from the 1580s onwards,... Learn More
    £650

    Stock Code: 118081

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  5. 118084
    Second edition of Walker's useful anthology of Latin poetry, in a splendid contemporary binding, unsigned but resembling the work of Charles Lewis (1786-1836). Walker (1795-1846), though best remembered as a Shakespeare scholar, won a fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, almost entirely on the strength of his classical... Learn More
    £750

    Stock Code: 118084

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  6. 129168
    The pioneering classical scholar Anne Dacier (c.1654-1720) was the only daughter of the noted Hellenist..."> First Dacier editions: a complete set of the first translation of Homer by a woman. Rendered into French prose, Dacier's translation of the Iliad and Odyssey is considered her "crowning achievement" (Folger, p. 34).
    The pioneering classical scholar Anne Dacier (c.1654-1720) was the only daughter of the noted Hellenist... Learn More
    £2,000

    Stock Code: 129168

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  7. 130117
    An extravagantly bound copy of the first William Duncan edition of Caesar's Commentaries, perhaps the most influential work in military literature. Duncan's translation was taken from Samuel Clarke's Latin edition of 1712, with the plates of that edition also replicated. It was these plates that led Clarke's edition to be... Learn More
    £8,750

    Stock Code: 130117

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  8. 128557
    Second edition of Austen's third novel. The first edition was published by Egerton in May 1814, in a run of 1,250 copies. In November 1814 Austen wrote to a friend reporting that all copies of the first edition had been sold, and that the question of a second edition had therefore been raised. However, Austen is believed... Learn More
    £3,750

    Stock Code: 128557

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  9. 122179
    First edition, the "thumbprint edition", large Imperial paper issue, one of approximately 180 copies (of 500) signed by Bewick and bearing the facsimile of the thumbprint receipt inserted after the title leaf, with his signature, the book's designation as an "Imperial copy", and its price written in ink; with a small copper-engraved... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 122179

    signed

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  10. 128943
    First duodecimo edition of Dryden's translation, the fifth overall, first published in 1693. An attractively bound copy, with a pencilled note on the front free endpaper identifying the work as that of Roger Payne (1739-1797), the notable English bookbinder who had a significant influence on the development of the craft... Learn More
    £500

    Stock Code: 128943

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  11. 126898comp
    First edition, first impression, presentation copy, inscribed by the translator on the front free endpaper, "Oliver Gurney, One of his companions in the Alps, from G. M. Christmas 1931". Oliver Gurney (1911-2011) was an English Assyriologist who read classics at New College, Oxford while Murray was Regius Professor of Greek... Learn More
    £225

    Stock Code: 126898

    signed

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  12. 126956comp
    First edition. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper: "The Rev. Ed. Hornby from the Author". The book was then re-presented, with an inscription below reading "George Hornby given me by my sister November 1826". This Italian grand tour account by the architect Charles Kelsall (1782-1857) is... Learn More
    £1,000

    Stock Code: 126956

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  13. 125209
    First edition of the Foulis Press Homer, described by the distinguished scholar Edward Harwood in 1775 as "one of the most splendid editions of Homer ever delivered to the world its accuracy is equal to its magnificence" (A View of the Various Editions of the Greek and Roman Classics, p. 4). The text was carefully edited... Learn More
    £7,000

    Stock Code: 125209

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  14. 125208
    First edition of Joshua Barnes's Homer. This edition contains considerable prefatory material, including three traditional Lives of Homer, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, and the first book of the Homeric Questions of Porphyry. Regarding this edition, Edward Harwood commented that "this Edition will ever maintain its distinction,... Learn More
    £3,000

    Stock Code: 125208

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  15. 117493
    First complete edition in Arabic of this cycle of ancient animal fables, which were first translated into Arabic in the eighth century, and are considered one of the earliest examples of secular prose literature in the language; copies are fairly prevalent in institutional libraries, but rare in commerce, with two appearing... Learn More
    £2,500

    Stock Code: 117493

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  16. 123106comp
    First edition of Burton and Smithers's complete and unexpurgated translation of Catullus, one of a small but indeterminate number of copies printed on Japanese vellum, given in the printed colophon as "limited to 4 copies", but in this copy corrected in the hand of translator and publisher Leonard Smithers, "limited to twelve... Learn More
    £3,250

    Stock Code: 123106

    signed

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  17. 121353detail
    Deluxe limited edition, number 8 of 1,000 copies on Japanese vellum. These unexpurgated English translations of six of Zola's more controversial novels were made for the Lutetian Society of London by Ernest Dowson, Havelock Ellis, Arthur Symons, Victor Plarr, Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, and Percy Pinkerton, and originally... Learn More
    £2,750

    Stock Code: 121353

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  18. 124828comp
    First edition, first impression, presentation copy inscribed by the author, "Professor J. A. Thomson, from R. C. Trevelyan" on the first blank and accompanied by a tipped-in autograph letter signed from Trevelyan to Thomson dated 24 February 1918, presenting the book: "On the strength of having had the pleasure of hearing... Learn More
    £1,750

    Stock Code: 124828

    signed

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  19. 118683

    Priapeia

    Athens [London]: 1888 [1889]

    First edition, unique erotically extra-illustrated copy with 28 original watercolours explicitly depicting a range of sex acts, number 54 of 250 copies of the first issue, of Richard Burton's anonymous translation (the first literal and complete into English) of the notorious Priapeia, which was a collection of mostly erotic... Learn More
    £2,750

    Stock Code: 118683

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  20. 120370comp
    First and limited edition of Lawrence's translation, 530 copies were printed. A remarkable association copy, inscribed to Sydney Everett by three of the four principal collaborators: Lawrence, whose inscription - as "TE Shaw", the name he used in the Tank Corps - is a simple signature at the end of the concluding Translator's... Learn More
    £15,000

    Stock Code: 120370

    signed

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  21. 120875
    First edition of this important collection of oriental tales now known as the Forty Viziers, published three years after Galland's first edition of the Thousand and One Nights, and following its characteristic frame-narrative structure. Notably rare: one copy traced at auction, one in British institutions (SOAS), and six... Learn More
    £3,000

    Stock Code: 120875

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  22. 118913

    Comedies,

    London: 1769-74

    First editions of the last three volumes, bound uniformly with the revised and corrected second editions of the first two volumes. Thornton had announced his intention to translate Plautus into English verse as early as December 1762, publishing specimens in Robert Lloyd's St James's Magazine. Volumes I and II were first... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 118913

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  23. 117142
    First editions of the first published criticism by Matthew Arnold, who was primarily known for his poetry: "Here, taking the translation of the Iliad by F. W. Newman, brother of the theologian, as his main target, Arnold pilloried the tendency of learning to degenerate into antiquarianism and pedantry" (ODNB). From the library... Learn More
    £1,000

    Stock Code: 117142

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  24. De bello Peloponnesiaco, in Greek.
    Editio princeps of the most important work in Greek historiography, edited by Aldus from a Cretan manuscript. As with his edition of Herodotus, the text had first appeared in print in the Latin translation of Lorenzo Valla. The recipient of Aldus's dedicatory letter, Daniele Renier, was a Venetian senator, procurator of... Learn More
    £35,000

    Stock Code: 103257

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  25. 118083
    A handsomely bound copy. Potter (1721-1804), a clergyman by profession, achieved considerable fame through his blank-verse translations of the Greek tragedians. "His edition of Aeschylus was published to great acclaim in 1777 and brought him to the notice of London literary society. Elizabeth Montagu befriended the poor... Learn More
    £850

    Stock Code: 118083

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  26. 118428
    First Baskerville edition, finely printing the Latin text of Lucretius's radical work On the Nature of Things, a philosophical poem written to explain Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience in the 1st century BCE. This copy, which is notably unrestored (surviving copies are usually heavily dilapidated or rebacked), has... Learn More
    £975

    Stock Code: 118428

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  27. 112899
    Editio princeps. A remarkable presentation copy, inscribed on the verso of the final blank from the Greek scholar Robert Pember to his friend and student Roger Ascham: "R. Pemberi hunc librum dono dedit Rogero Aschamo testi magistro Fitzerbert et multis aliis." The presentation inscription brings together three of the outstanding... Learn More
    £47,500

    Stock Code: 112899

    signed

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  28. Eros and Psyche.
    Second edition of the author's famous retelling of the Greek myth, inscribed by the him on the front flyleaf: "Robert Bridges / Chilswell / Nov. 1916". In 1907 Bridges used the money left to him by his father-in-law, architect Alfred Waterhouse, to build a house in the Oxfordshire hamlet of Chiswell, where he would live... Learn More
    £150

    Stock Code: 102906

    signed

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  29. i1
    Editio princeps of most of the 19 extant tragedies: four plays had been previously published at Florence c.1495, and the Electra is omitted from Aldus's edition (it was not printed until 1545). Along with the Latin classics, Dante, and Petrarch, Aldus published Greek editions of Homer and the tragedians in his new "portatile"... Learn More
    £24,000

    Stock Code: 102816

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  30. Historiae, in Greek.
    Editio princeps of Herodotus' history of the Persian Wars, one of the most important texts edited by the great scholar-printer-publisher himself. Herodotus had first been published in Lorenzo Valla's Latin translation. Aldus claims in the dedication that he corrected the text from multiple exemplars, one of the few instances... Learn More
    £35,000

    Stock Code: 103246

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  31. "Thucydides - I Ask You!"
    An amusing Bentley skit on the traditional disappointments of school prize day. The cartoons and illustrations of Nicolas Bentley (1907-1978) were part of the warp and weft of English popular culture in the 1950s and 60s. Never savage, though often waspishly accurate and exuding an urbane air of amusement at the foibles... Learn More
    £250

    Stock Code: 100601

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  32. The Voyage of Nearchus from the Indus to the Euphrates, collected from the Original Journal Preserved by Arrian, and Illustrated by Authorities Ancient and Modern;
    First edition of Vincent's important commentary on Nearchus's voyage from the Indus estuary to the Tigris in 325 BC, as recorded by Arrian of Nicomedia. The expedition, ordered by Alexander the Great, marked the Greek discovery of the Persian Gulf (Retso, The Arabs in Antiquity, p. 267), and the entire fourth chapter is... Learn More
    £3,000

    Stock Code: 93992

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  33. 89363

    Les Métamorphoses.

    Paris: 1806 [1820-21]

    First edition, in the preferred quarto format, of Mathieu-Guillaume-Thérèse Villenave's beautifully illustrated translation. Villenave (1762-1846) originally practiced as a lawyer in Nantes and, during the Revolution, narrowly escaped execution in the rising in the Vendée in 1793; he was a noted bibliophile and amassed... Learn More
    £500

    Stock Code: 89363

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  34. P. Terentii Phormio. Expurgatus in usum puerorum; Pincerna ex Terentio. In Usum Puerorum; Aulularia Plauti. Pueris in scenam prodituris accommodata; P. Terentii Andria. In Usum Puerorum.
    First editions, presentation copy to Lord Coleridge (John Duke Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice), inscribed by Newman on the blank immediately preceding the general title "To Lord Coleridge, from his affectionate friend, J.H.N. Christmas, 1880-1"; Pincerna is also inscribed at the head of the title, "With... Learn More
    £4,500

    Stock Code: 87435

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  35. 1
    Editio princeps. One of the most important of Aldus's Greek editions both textually and typographically, this remained the best available edition of Sophocles' text until the 19th century. The scholia promised in the title were not finally included, as explained in Aldus's prefatory letter; Lascaris published them in 1518,... Learn More
    £17,500

    Stock Code: 76229

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  36. Les Amours de Theagene et Chariclee.
    A fine volume with the suite of engravings from the first Thiboust edition of the popular ancient Greek romance, the Aethiopica of Heliodorus of Emesa. Jacques Amyot's translation of Heliodorus, first published in 1547, introduced the work to France, where it long retained its popularity. The iconography of the Aethiopica... Learn More
    £3,750

    Stock Code: 65944

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  37. De Institutione Oratoria libri duodecim ad codicum veterum fidem recensuit et annotatione explanavit Georg. Ludovicus Spalding A.M.
    Large paper copy, from the libraries of two notable English collectors, of the best edition of Quintilian on rhetoric, the outstanding work of the German philologist Georg Ludwig Spalding. The binder John Clarke was "one of the best and most prolific London binders of the period" (Ramsden), who was binding from about 1820... Learn More
    £1,000

    Stock Code: 44900

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  38. Plotinus: [Complete Writings, in 5 volumes].
    First edition, first impression of the MacKenna translations, which are widely considered to be the best edition of Plotinus in the English language. Each volume is one of 1000 copies printed on pure rag paper. Volume one inscribed, "To. Rev. R. Newton Flew, With love from many "Studley" friends. August 1924". Flew was an... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 76387

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  39. The Mosella of Decimus Magnus Ausonius.
    First edition, first impression. One of a limited edition of 25 numbered large paper copies signed by the translator on the limitation leaf. Learn More
    £275

    Stock Code: 66254

    signed

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  40. 48939
    Large paper copy of the famous edition of Sallust by the short lived Gottlieb Kortte (1698-1731), whose installation as professor of jurisprudence at Liepzig in 1726 Bach hailed in the allegorical cantata "Vereinigte Zwietracht". Kortte's edition of Sallust was first published in 1724. Samuel Charles Smith (usually styling... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 48939

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40 Item(s)

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