Lot 2
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Flavius Josephus

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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  • Flavius Josephus
  • De Antiquitate Judaica; De Bello Judaico. Augsburg: Johann Schüssler, 28 June and 23 August 1470
  • ink, paper, sheepskin
Royal folio (388 × 280 mm). Collation: De antiquitate Judaica [1-312 4-1610 178 18-1910 208]: 201 of 202 leaves, lacking only the first blank; colophon (28 June 1470) on 202v. De bello Judaico [1-710 8-98]: 86 leaves, colophon (23 August 1470) on 86v. 2 columns, 50 lines, type 1:117G. Spaces for initials. Rubricated (lombard initials, paragraph marks, underlining) and handsomely illuminated with border on first printed page, book initials in red-blue interlock or in pigments with acanthus moulding, penwork infill and extensions, some with additional colors.
Late 18th or early 19th-century polished marbled sheep, gilt spine, red and green leather gilt labels, gilt dentelle border, marbled paper endleaves, sprinkled edges.
A gouge on upper cover; first leaf browned, part of lower margin of I 3/10 replaced, not affecting text.


Charles Pierre Joseph Le Candele, baron de Gyseghem, 1761-1830 (bookplate) — Dukes of Arenberg (dealer annotation) — Albert Natural, Swiss diplomat, 1918-2002 (bookplate)


Goff J-481; Hain 9451*; BMC II 327 (IC.5612); BSB-Ink I-615; Bod-inc J-218. See Franz Blatt, The Latin Joephus I (Copenhagen 1958).

Catalogue Note

First edition of Josephus in Latin, and the first book printed by Johann Schüssler. In the Latin west, from late antiquity onward, Josephus was awarded the status almost of one of the church fathers and worthy of refectory reading, partly because of a particular commendation of him by St Jerome. In the incunable literature the Latin version of Josephus’s Antiquities is commonly associated with Jerome’s contemporary, Rufinus of Aquileia (d. 410), but it belongs to the second half of the sixth century, and the circle of Cassiodorus. The translation of the Jewish War is apparently earlier, and Cassiodorus wrote that it had been attributed variously to Jerome (d. 420), Rufinus, or Ambrose (d. 397). The Greek editio princeps of Josephus was published by Froben and Episcopius in Basel, 1544, with facing Latin translation.