Item #4971 Epigrammata antiquae Urbis. Jacopo Mazzocchi, Andrea Fulvio, Angelo Colocci, last qtr. 15th – c. 1527, c.
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis
Epigrammata antiquae Urbis

Epigrammata antiquae Urbis

Rome: Jacopo Mazzocchi, 1521.

Price: $11,000.00

Folio: 30.2 x 21.2 cm. [10], CLXXX, [8] ff., collating pi(10) A(4) B-Z(6) ET(6) [sic] [con](6) [rum](6) AA-CC(6) DD-EE(4) aa(8). (Lvs. EE1, EE2 signed EE2, EE3). Final text leaf foliated CLXXX instead of CLXXXI)

FIRST AND SOLE EDITION.

Bound in 19th c. vellum (lightly soiled, endpapers renewed, text block resewn.) A very good copy with some minor interventions performed subsequent to the 19th c. rebinding: title soiled, first two leaves with repairs to the blank inner margin (far from the text), two lvs. with small adhesion scars costing a few letters, some stains in the gutter of the opening gatherings lightly washed but still visible, light damp-stain to outer corner of those same gatherings; scattered marginal damp-stains, lower corner of leaf P4 discreetly restored, no loss to the text. Leaf T5 and those in gathering [con] lightly toned, leaf [rum]2 spotted, leaf CLII with natural paper flaw costing a few letters, minor worming in lower margin of some gatherings, occ. spotting in final gatherings, lower blank corner of final leaf clipped, a few other minor blemishes.

A foundational book on Roman epigraphy, Mazzocchi’s “Epigrammata” is the first substantial collection of ancient Roman inscriptions to appear in print. It preserves many hundreds of inscriptions, many of them now lost, found in the churches, temples, palaces, public spaces, and –most intriguingly- in the private collections of Renaissance Rome. While printed in 1521, the seven-year privilege was granted by Pope Leo X in 1517.

The book is profusely illustrated with woodcuts of important Roman monuments with their inscriptions (the arches of Septimius Severus and Constantine, the Claudian aqueduct, the Aqua Virgo, the Pantheon, the pyramidal tomb of Gaius Cestius, Hadrian’s tomb, the Vatican obelisk, Trajan’s column) and hundreds of type-set inscriptions, many of which are framed by elaborate woodcut borders in imitation of Roman aedicula, tombs, and funerary plaques. Among the most famous of these are the Roman Fasces from the façade of the house of Pietro Santacroce and the relief of the Three Graces (CIL VI, 548 (I)) in the house of “Paulus de Plancis”, later in the collection of Cardinal Ludovico Podocatari. Now lost, the sculpture was a votive offering by a Roman woman, Batinia Priscilla, to the Nymphs, probably as protectors of infants.

In his dedication, Mazzocchi thanks Mario Maffei of Volterra for his sponsorship of what seemed “like a new Academy” at his house, a place where learned men gathered to study antique statues and inscriptions. Mario and his brother Agostino Maffei, both antiquarian experts, housed an impressive library as well as a collection of sculptures and inscriptions. The collection in the Maffei courtyard and stairwell was drawn by Van Heemskerck in the 1530’s.

The work was compiled over a number of years, possibly with the collaboration of Maffei, Mariangelo Accursio, and Andrea Fulvio; sources include inscriptions in the houses of the great scholars Angelo Colocci, Pomponio Laeto, Ludovico Bello, and Guiliano Dati. Laeto’s collection (described from folios xlii to xlvi) was housed in his house on the Quirinal Hill, where the members of the Accademia Romana, of which Laeto was the founder, met. The collection of the wealthy papal secretary and humanist Colocci, which included Roman sculptures, funerary and monumental inscriptions, coins, and many other specimens of epigraphic interest, was displayed in his garden near the Trevi fountain.

Mazzocchi (or his fellow compilers) also visited the collections of the great and powerful. There are also inscriptions from the celebrated sculpture collection of the de’ Rossi, which was dispersed in 1517. And on folio clviii, we find the famous “Sleeping Nymph” epigram, which is recorded as being found in the “viridario reverendissimi Cardi. S. Clementi” (possibly the garden of Cardinal Domenico della Rovere, where the inscription accompanied the sculpture of a sleeping nymph.)

Mazzocchi also visited smaller collections, such as those held by the booksellers Stéphane Guillery and the obscure “Peter the Frenchman”, in whose houses Mazzocchi saw and recorded inscriptions.

Many of these private collections were destroyed or dispersed during the Sack of Rome in 1527 (for the destruction of Colocci’s collection, we have an account by his friend Antonio Tebaldeo.) Thus, Mazzocchi’s publication is an important primary resource for reconstructing –befittingly, only in a fragmentary way- those early collections of antiquities.

“The nucleus of the ‘Epigrammata’ may be the ‘epythapiorum opusculum’ promised in Mazzocchi’s colophon for Francesco Albertini’s ‘Opusculum de mirabilibus novae et Veteris Urbis Romae’ (1510). The compilation and printing of the ‘Epigrammata’ took some years; the privilege for the work was granted on November 30, 1517. In the preliminary leaves, Mazzocchi reprints the ‘De notis antiquarum litterarum of Valerius Probus.’”(Mortimer 297).

Ascarelli, Mazzocchi no. 144; Sander Vol. I, no. 2554; Cicognara Vol. 2, no. 3789; Olschki Choix 16878; Mortimer 297; Brunet II. 1016-1017. See: R. Lanciani, Storia degli scavi di Roma, vol. I, p. 202-204; Sparrow, Visible Worlds, p. 25-6; Builders and Humanists: the Renaissance Popes as Patrons of the Arts, 1966 p.200 (“remains the fundamental book on Roman and early Christian epigraphy”)