Paris, Pierre Le Petit, 1668.
5 12mo volumes [152 x 87 mm] of: I/ (14) ll., 500 pp., (5) ll., 6 engravings, handwritten notes on the half-title and title; II/ 509 pp., (19) pp.; III/ 398 pp., (43) ll.; IV/ (15) ll., lxvi pp., (4) ll., 368 pp., (8) ll.; V/ 550 pp., (19) ll. Citron morocco, triple gilt fillet on the covers, spines ribbed and decorated with gilt fleurons, red morocco lettering pieces, inner gilt border, gilt over marbled edges. Contemporary binding.
Edition enlarged with the engravings compared to the first one “published the previous year of this translation by Arnauld d’Andily” (Rothschild Catalogue). It is decorated with 6 engravings in the text. Dictionnaire de bibliographie catholique, F. Pérennès, 373; Graesse, Trésor de livres rares et précieux, 483; Picot, Catalogue Rothschild, 2066.
“This work was widely spread among the Ancients; Josephus was called the Greek Livy. Today he is the only source teaching us about the long periods of the history of the Jews and he is also very useful for the Roman history.” (T. F. Leroux).
Jew born around 37 after J-C, Flavius Josephus reaches Jerusalem in 66 in a state of open insurrection against Rome. The Sanhedrin of Jerusalem sends him in Galilee where local intrigues are raging with the mission to restore some order and to reorganize the political life. It is as Galilee’s military commander that he will resist the offensive of the Romans in Gamala. Defeated, he surrenders to the Romans, then joins forces with them. He is said to have witnessed the slaughter of 2000 Jews and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. The Emperor Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus frees him, appoints him translator for his son, and settles him in Rome where he would lead his life of senior official until his death, around 100.
“About the Hasmonean dynasty, about the reign of Herod, about the time of Roman procurators in Judea, he is our main and often single informant. This is the only testimony of a Jew author of that time about Jesus.” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres).
“For the initiated, Flavius is the symbol of the Jews conversion; for the masses, his work is a fictional and dramatic subject. But Flavious is above all the catalyst of the popularization of the Holy Scripture and of the dogma. For him, the history of the Jews is like an anecdote or a classical tragedy.” (G. N. Deutsch).
Precious copy preserved in its contemporary citron morocco binding.