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Epistolae heroidum novissime recognitae aptissimisque figuris exculte:

commentantibus Ant. Volsco, Ubertino et Jod. Badio Ascensio necnon in Sappho et Ibin Domiti Calderino, eodemque Ascensio viris doctissimis.

Tusculani Benacum, printed by Alessandro Paganino, 1533 Stock Code: 139439

Handsome printing with woodcut illustrations

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First edition thus, one of several separate editions of Ovid from the press of Alessandro Paganino in the early 16th century. In this edition, the commentaries of Antonio Volsco, Ubertino da Crescentino, Domizio Calderino, and Josse Badius fully surround the text, the two being distinguished by different sizes of Paganino's beautiful and distinctive italic type.
The Heroides or Heroic Epistles include the imaginary love letters in elegiac verse from legendary women to their absent husbands or lovers, Penelope to Ulysses, Dido to Aeneas, Ariadne to Theseus, and so on, perfect models for the dramatic monologues of the 16th-century drama. Shakespeare uses two lines from Penelope's grieving as Lucentio's Latin lesson to Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, clearly expecting them to be easily recognisable.
Paganino had published an earlier edition of the Heroides in 1515 while still in Venice, but with fewer commentaries. The Heroides were first published as part of Ovid's collected works in Venice in 1474. The first illustrated edition was a translation into Italian, published in Naples around 1474. It was followed by some three dozen other illustrated editions before this printing.

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Large duodecimo (199 x 138 mm). Eighteenth-century vellum over thick boards, spine with double blind rules, lettered in manuscript.


Title printed within wide woodcut border, 22 woodcut illustrations in the text, criblé initials. The final leaf M6, the table, is here bound immediately after the title.


Vellum cut away from board at upper outer corner of front cover, the binding otherwise sound and firm; trimmed fairly closely at head, some minor blemishes, more noticeable in the early gatherings, the woodcuts with faint traces of early chalk colouring now mostly erased; overall a very good copy.


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Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

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