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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.

36 Item(s)

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  1. 133737
    First edition, scarce. This highly influential and comprehensive translation of Sappho notably restored the feminine pronouns to her work, and includes "a compilation of explanatory notes, various appendices, and a bibliography that lists editions, translations, and imitations if Sappho over the centuries" (Prins, p. 53).... Learn More
    £450

    Stock Code: 133737

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  2. 127527
    First edition, first issue, with the title page undated and not naming Bernard Quaritch as the publisher. Penzer believed that the entire first edition probably consisted of no more than 200 copies, most of which was intended for private distribution among Burton's friends, and that the first issue "was very small indeed".... Learn More
    £5,000

    Stock Code: 127527

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  3. 118428detail
    First Baskerville edition, finely printing the Latin text of Lucretius' 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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  4. 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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  5. 76229comp
    Editio princeps, in a handsome English binding. 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;... Learn More
    £17,500

    Stock Code: 76229

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  6. 132574
    First edition, first printing, Canadian issue published in 1905 using the sheets of the first edition published in Boston in 1904. The colophon on the title page verso restates the first edition's imprint, being one of 500 copies printed in 1903 "with the type distributed". Both the US and Canadian issues are scarce, the... Learn More
    £375

    Stock Code: 132574

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  7. 132224comp
    First edition, very scarce presentation copy of this first publication by Lauro de Bosis (1901-1931), the anti-fascist Italian poet and translator who was killed defying Mussolini. The inscription, to the first blank, reads: "A Guido Ruberti devoto ommagio di Lauro de Bosis, Roma 8.vii 1924". Ruberti (1885-1955) was an Italian... Learn More
    £475

    Stock Code: 132224

    signed

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  8. 131684
    Editio princeps of the writings attributed to Homer, including the Iliad and the Odyssey, two of the earliest, most important and influential works of European literature. "The Iliad and the Odyssey are the first perfect poetry of the western world. They spring fully grown, their predecessors lost, and the magic has persisted... Learn More
    £250,000

    Stock Code: 131684

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  9. 122308detail
    First edition of the first translation into any European language of one of the most influential poems in the Sanskrit canon. Kalidasa has been described by Edwin Gerow, a noted authority on Sanskrit poetics, as "probably the greatest Indian writer of any epoch" (Britannica). From internal evidence it has been suggested... Learn More
    £4,250

    Stock Code: 122308

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  10. 131709
    The third Wharton edition, with an additional preface, and the cloth design by Aubrey Beardsley. This highly influential and comprehensive translation of Sappho notably restored the feminine pronouns to her work, and includes "a compilation of explanatory notes, various appendices, and a bibliography that lists editions,... Learn More
    £175

    Stock Code: 131709

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  11. 132587detail
    First edition of one of the most important books in the history of classical studies, in which Wolf applied recognizably modern philological methods to the "Homeric Question", the long-standing debate about the authorship and composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey. The subjects Wolf addressed dominated Homeric scholarship... Learn More
    £2,250

    Stock Code: 132587

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  12. 128046
    First edition, first impression, quite scarce with the jacket intact. I, Claudius is perhaps Graves's best-known book, and one of the most famous historical novels, which garnered both the Hawthornden and James Tait Black Memorial prizes. Learn More
    £1,750

    Stock Code: 128046

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  13. 133029
    The first complete Aldine edition of Xenophon. The edition marks the first printing of Xenophon's De Atheniensium re publica and De vectigalibus, alongside the Hellenica (which the Aldine press had published in October 1503) and the Agesilao, which had previously been erroneously attributed to Plutarch. The text was edited... Learn More
    £12,500

    Stock Code: 133029

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  14. 132172comp
    First Frink edition, number 98 of 250 copies signed by the artist on the title page and on each of the lithographs (a further 25 copies were printed for private distribution). A most attractive copy, handsomely bound, finely printed on Zerkall Bütton paper, and exquisitely illustrated by Frink; this was her first foray... Learn More
    £3,000

    Stock Code: 132172

    signed

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  15. 129001
    First edition of this survey of the gardening and farming of the ancients, derived from the classical writers. Richard Bradley (1688-1732), professor of botany at Cambridge, was one of the more eccentric characters in agricultural writing; "an indefatigable worker, venturing hazardous predictions, writing some fifteen or... Learn More
    £750

    Stock Code: 129001

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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  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. 103246
    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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  30. "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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  31. 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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  32. 65944
    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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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

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  36. 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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36 Item(s)

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