Item #4635 Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata. Martial, André Des Freux, c. 40 - ca. 104 A. D., Marcus Valerius Martialis.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.
Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.

Epigrammata, ab omni rerum obscoenitate, verborumque turpitudine vindicata.

Dillingen: Johan Mayer, 1587.

Price: $3,800.00

Octavo: 15 x 9.5 cm. 372 p., [6] f.. Collation: A-Z8, a8

Bound in a fine Augsburg binding from the workshop of Hans Waiblinger. The binding is richly-tooled in blind and adorned with ornate panel stamps (dated 1584) with scenes from the life of Christ. The binding is in fine condition, though lacking its clasps. The title page is a bit soiled and has an early ownership inscription. The text is in fine condition with just a little marginal foxing; the lvs. of last gathering very slightly frayed at edges. Woodcut initials in the text.

Description of the two panel stamps:

Upper board:

Annunciation with the legend:
« AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA »
Nativity with the legend:
« PVER NATVS EST NOBIS ET FI »

Lower board:
Crucifixion, with the legend:
« ECCE AGNVS DEI QVI TOLLIT »
Resurrection of Christ, with the legend:
« MORS ERO MORS TUA O MORS »

See EBDB, reference k014266. They stamps are reproduced in Haebler's “Rollen-und Plattenstempel
Des XVI. Jahrhunderts”, II 52, II & III) and in Ernst Kyriss’ “Beiträge zu Augsburger Buchbindern, in Beiträge zum Rollen- und Platteneinband im 16. Jahrhundert”, Leipzig 1937, p. 162, Plates I & II). Hans Waiblinger was active from at least 1589 to 1595 and very probably until the beginning of the 17th century.

Martial himself would have been pleased with the care given to the binding. In Epigram III, 2, the author expressed his concern for his book’s fate as it makes its way in the world. Finding the right owner is, after all, essential to a book’s physical well-being:

“Whose present do you wish to be, little book? Hurry to find yourself a protector, lest hustled off to a sooty kitchen you wrap sprats in your sodden papyrus or become a cowl for incense or pepper. Do you fly to Faustinus’ bosom? You are wise. Now you may walk oiled with cedar, your twin brows handsomely adorned, luxuriating in your painted bosses, clothed in dainty purple, your proud title blushing scarlet. With him to protect you, have no fear of Probus himself.”

A very attractive copy of a Jesuit school edition of Martial's “Epigrams”. The text, first published in 1548, was prepared by the prominent Jesuit André Des Freux (1515-1556), a companion of Ignatius of Loyola who was directly involved in the development of the Jesuit educational system. Freux was present at the founding of the Collegio Romano, and was sent to Messina by Ignatius to establish the Jesuit college there (1548); in 1556 he was appointed Rector of the German College at Rome and was present at Ignatius’ side when the founder of the order died.

Of Freux, Ignatius wrote, “He is a universal genius, deeply versed in arts, in theology, in Scripture; and eminent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Though he is a rhetorician, he has a special gift for poetry. In fact, I know of no one here whose muse so combines learning with piety and facility”.

Freux’s expurgated Martial was the first text of a classical author to be printed by the Jesuits for student instruction. The text had been “freed from all obscenity” at the behest of Ignatius.

“On the ‘expurgation’ from classical authors of what might poison an immature boy's soul while perfecting his Latinity, the Jesuits followed the advice of St. Ignatius, expressed in a letter of June, 1549: ‘A boy's first impressions which are often strongest and remain for long years have a definite influence for good or ill in after life. Hence, the books put into his hands must be such as exert a good influence, or at least they must not be such as would surely expose him to moral corruption.’(Monumenta Ignatiana, Ser. I, II, p. 445). In accord with this advice, Ignatius commissioned Father Andre des Freux to prepare expurgated editions of Horace, Martial, and Terence. In reply, des Freux said that he found no difficulty in preparing editions of Horace and Martial, but that Terence was taxing his ingenuity because the poison was often in the very structure and argument of his works.

“Father des Freux did prepare an expurgated edition of Martial, edited after his death (1558) by Father Edmond Auger. There is no record that he published an expurgated Horace. Ignatius banned the works of Terence from Jesuit classrooms in 1553. More than a century later Father Joseph de Jouvancy published expurgated editions not only of Horace, Persius, and Juvenal, but also of Terence. (Cf. Carl Sommervogel, S.J., Bibliotheque de la Compagnie de Jesus (Paris: Picard, 1890-1900), III, Col. 1047 for des Freux; IV, Cols. 833-834)

“Renaissance educators like Matteo Vegio, Aeneas Sylvius, and Vives were equally emphatic on the need for expurgating many of the Latin classics. The recent comment of Father John W. Donohue, S.J., is relevant: ‘For although those teachers (the early. Jes uits] were less enthusiastic about wide and relatively unrestricted reading than we are, they had perhaps a greater respect for the power of books. Since they be lieved that great books could shape intelligence and hence influence character by reason of the interplay between mind and heart, they also believed that an evil book can corrupt. And unless one assumes that reading and study can make a difference, There is little point in educating.’ (Jesuit Education. An Essay on the Founda tions of its Idea (Fordham University Press, 1963), pp. 172-173).”(Allan P. Farrell, S.J., The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum of 1599, p. 118-119).