Strasbourg, Wolfgang Cephalaeus, 1525.
8vo [165 x 100 mm] of 277 ll., (3) ll. Lower blank margin of the title-page cut. Contemporary brown morocco, covers decorated with a framing of gilt-stamped border surrounded on both sides by triple blind-stamped fillets, on the inside motif of Greek crosses repeated 6 times, blind-stamped fleurons on the corners of the central framing, spine ribbed and decorated with blind-stamped crosspieces, red edges. Small loss of skin on one of the ribs of the spine. Italian contemporary binding.
Very rare first edition given by Johann Lonicer (1499-1569) and dedicated to his friend and master Philipp Melanchthon.
Printed in Greek, it is based on the third Aldine edition.
Dibdin, II, 46; Schweiger I, S. 156; Schoell I, 155; J. W. Moss, I, pp.483-484.
“This edition, published by J. Lonicer, coincides with the second and third Aldine, but in the end we added variants from the first edition and the Aldine from 1504.” (Graesse, III, 326).
“This edition, given by J. Leonicerus, who dedicated it to Phil. Melanchthon, coincides with the second and the third of Aldus, of which it reproduces the text. At the end are added the variants of the editions of 1488 and 1504.” (Brunet, III, 270)
“Edition very difficult to find even rarer than the second from 1534” (Brunet).
« This edition is very rare and very little known. » (J. W. Moss).
« This edition, which was unknown to Harwood, and is found in very few collections, is preferred by Heyne to that of Junta and Martinus… Hardwood notices the Iliad only which he calls “liber rarissimus”. All the works of Cephaleus are rare. » (Dibdin).
Despite its magnitude, the architecture of the Iliad is both simple and solidly balanced; Ariosto already praised the originality of its plan: instead of dealing with the whole Trojan War, Homer chose a specific episode, the anger of Achilles. Around this episode, he constantly covers perspectives on the entire war, and it is thus that the epic of the war becomes as well the epic of the Trojan War. The characters of the Iliad, like human archetypes set once and for all, have never ceased to inspire creators, from the ancient times to the present day. It will serve as a basis for the education in Greece, then in Rome.
A humanist scholar, Protestant theologian and professor of Greek and Hebrew in Marburg, Johan Lonicer (1497-1569) taught the Hebrew language in Frankfurt an der Oder, Freiburg and Strasbourg. He worked there as a proofreader at the printing press. He was close to Luther and Melanchthon to whom he dedicated this edition of the Iliad.
“The prince of Greek poets. The model and despair of all the others.” (Furne)
The title is illustrated with a superb wood-engraved framing by Hans Weiditz depicting scenes from the Iliad with Achilles, Hector, Homer with his lyre…
Precious copy of this rare edition of the “Iliad” preserved in its very interesting Italian contemporary binding in brown blind-stamped morocco.
Handwritten ex-libris Ferdinandus Reinman on the inside cover repeated on the title-page.