Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius. Gaius Valerius Catullus, Antonio Partenio, comm, Ca. 84-Ca.54 B. C.
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius
Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius

Carmina. Comm: Antonius Parthenius. Suppl: Jacobus Juliarius

Brescia: Boninus de Boninis, de Ragusia, 1485-, 1486.

Price: $24,000.00

Folio: 30.1 x 20.8 cm. 56 lvs. Collation: a-h6, i8 (with blank lvs. a1 and i8 both present). 57 lines of commentary surrounding the text.

SEVENTH EDITION (1st ed. 1472 Venice). Four dates in the colophon are recorded. This copy has the earliest of the four: 6 Apr. 1485.

Bound in modern blind-ruled calf. A very fine, broad-margined copy on thick, bright paper with only a few instances of light foxing, a few lightly toned leaves, and a few very light spots. Occasional underscores and a couple of annotations in a contemporary hand. On the fourth leaf there is a white-on-black, historiated Renaissance woodcut border with urns, a cherub, seraph, and other figures. This border was also used in the printer’s 1487 Dante (ISTC id00031000). This edition is rather rare. There are only six copies in North America: Free Library, Columbia, Newberry, UCLA, UT Austin, Yale.

This is the first printed edition of Catullus’ poems to be accompanied by a commentary, that of Antonio Partenio (1456-1506) of Lazise (Verona), of which this also the first edition. Among Partenio’s many contributions to Catullan studies are his notes and emendations to Cat. 84 (on the hyper-aspirating Arrius) and his gloss on Cat. 74 (the obscene poem featuring Harpocrates). Where his comments fail to illuminate the full complexity of a poem, they are still of interest, such as his explanation of Cat. 105, which Partenio interprets in a purely sexual sense (he titles it “de eius mentula”), and explains that Catullus is merely memorializing his failed attempt to have sex with a virgin.

“Parthenius’ work is not only the first but also the most important of the fifteenth-century commentaries on Catullus. He made significant improvements to the text and explained Catullan style and usage with parallels from a wide range of ancient authors, both Greek and Latin, including among others, Cicero, Vergil, Martial, Pliny, Ovid, Lucretius, Donatus, Homer, and Sappho. He was also interested in interpreting the poems and successfully emended and explained several that had previously seemed pointless.”(Gaisser, Catullus in CTC vol. VII, p. 223 ff.)

Partenio’s commentary remained the only one in print until In 1496, when an edition of the poems was printed with the accompanying commentary of Palladio Fosco. Girolamo Avanzi’s Emendationes, not a formal commentary, were printed on their own, without the Catullan text, in 1495; Poliziano published his substantial notes (again, not a full commentary) on Catullus in his Miscellanea (1489). Gaisser has suggested that, with the appearance of Partenio’s commentary, Poliziano lost interest in writing a full commentary (“To produce the first Catullan commentary was a great achievement: to produce the second a much less appealing prospect, especially for a man of Poliziano's reputation and self-esteem”).

“The liber Catulli survived the vicissitudes of the Middle Ages in a single corrupt manuscript that was lost almost as soon as it was found at the end of the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century, lasting only long enough to become the exemplar -either immediate or at one remove- of the three important fourteenth-century manuscripts, and the ancestor of a host of fifteenth-century ‘codices deteriores’ and all subsequent editions of Catullus. The liber Catulli had survived, but it was by no means unscathed. Corrupt, lacunose, unmetrical, the text was not merely difficult and obscure, but sometimes totally devoid of meaning; it needed explication as well as emendation-and sometimes both at once. The history of modern Catullan criticism begins at the end of the fifteenth century, with an ill-matched pair of scholars, Angelo Poliziano and Antonius Parthenius -the one the most famous scholar of the age, and the other a figure so obscure that even the correct form of his name is in doubt. In a way, however, the contribution of Parthenius to Catullan studies is the more obvious, for his was the first (1485), and perhaps the best, of the Renaissance commentaries on Catullus. Poliziano, on the other hand, never produced a Catullan commentary or a work of any size on the poet.”(Gaisser, Catullus and His First Interpreters, in Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-2014), Vol. 112 (1982),pp. 83-106)

“Parthenius asserts a longstanding interest in Catullus. In the dedication to Pomponius Laetus he says that he had lectured on the poet four years earlier, and in a note on Cat 4.2 he discusses to emendations that he claims to have proposed eight years before. The commentary itself, however, seems to have been rushed into print before Parthenius was satisfied with it. His friends had urged him to publish without further revision; he was persuaded to do so because comments from his lectures had been collected and were being circulated as a commentary without his name or consent… Parthenius wrote-perhaps at even greater length than was usual in the Renaissance-of the possibility of hostile criticism and the plagiarism of his ideas by unnamed scholars…

“Parthenius continued to work on Catullus while his commentary was being published ad for several years thereafter. In the Letter to the Reader he says that he has already begun writing Quaestiones on Catullus, which will incorporate changes and additions to the commentary, and that he plans to work on them in the little free time that he has from teaching…. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the Quaestiones were completed…

“His commentary was hailed in verse by several of Parthenius’ fellow citizens and other contemporaries, including Iacobus Iuliarius and Hieronymus Bononius, and it was highly regarded by scholars such as Sabellicus and [one of the greatest of Catullus’ editors] Girolamo Avanzi. It found less favor with Politianus, who criticized its textual mistakes in the Miscellanea.”(Gaisser, Catullus in CTC vol. VII, p. 223 ff.)

[For a discussion of Poliziano’s familiarity with Partenio’s commentary, the attacks made by Poliziano against Partenio in the Miscellanea, and the question of priority in the interpretations and emendations of the text, see Gaisser in CTC, cited above.].

ISTC ic00324000; BMC VII 968; GW 6391; Goff C324; H 4761 (II) (third variant of colophon); C 1540