Leiden: Jacob Hackius, Cornelius Boutesteyn, Johannes Du Vivie, Pieter and Johannes Vander Aa, and Jordan Luchtmans, 1696. Hardcover. Folio (376 x 245). 2 works in one volume, each with separate title-page. Text in the original Latin, with some use of Greek and Hebrew types. Pagination:  ff., 676 cols.,  ff., 685-772 cols.,  ff., (Index);  ff., 928 cols., 1 p. (numbered "929"). Collation: *7 **2 ***1 A-Lll4; [pi]2 A-Qqq4. COMPLETE. With an allegorical frontispiece + 9 engraved plates (of which 2 are double-page and folding). Bound in contemporary sprinkled calf (worn along extremities), sympathetically rebacked with new spine in the style of the period, corners renewed, original pastedowns and endleaves preserved. Early blind-stamps of the Theological Institute of Connecticut (now known as the Hartford Seminary) on first two and final two leaves. NB: in 1976 a collection of more than 200,000 books from the Hartford Seminary Library were sold to Emory University, including this one --> deaccessioned from Pitts Theology Library. Minor even browning. Very good. Item #629
THE ORIGINS OF 16TH-CENTURY MYTHOGRAPHY, and the FINEST EDITION of the works of Giraldi (1479-1552), Renaissance Italian polymath, poet, and classical scholar; this imposing folio volume was finely printed and illustrated with engraved plates of high quality by Jan van den Aveelen after drawings by F. Boitard.
"Lilio Gregorio Giraldi was one of the most important humanist scholars of the 16th century. He left an impressive core of scholarly works written in Latin, among which is not only the most learned and complete Renaissance mythography, but also the most advanced and complete literary history of antiquity, both Greek and Latin authors ('Historia poetarum tam Graecorum quam Latinorum dialogi decem'), a most interesting contemporary literary history ('De poetis suo rum temporum dialogi duo'), and a series of works on Greek and Roman antiquity. From the moment when his works appeared in print, Giraldi was highly admired by his contemporaries and later humanists, like Alciato, Josephus Justus Scaliger, Robortelli, Montaigne, Casaubonus, Daniel Heinsius and Salmasius. When the Duke of Florence, Cosimo I. de' Medici, opened in 1547 his new ducal printing press, run by Lau rentius Torrentinus, a treatise by Giraldi was chosen as the first work to appear. Giraldi's works received much attention and were widely read by Renaissance students of antiquity, as is shown by the great number of preserved handwritten excerpts drawn from his works. His fame was also widely spread by many printed editions of classical authors which included excerpts of Giraldi's works, for example his literary history. By contrast, modem scholarship has not shown much interest Giraldi." SOURCE: Karl A.E. Enenkel, The Making Of 16th-Century Mythography: Giraldi's "Syntagma De Musis"(1507, 1511 and 1539), "De Deis Gentium Historia" (ca. 1500-1548) and Julien Dehavrech's "De Cognominibus Deorum Gentilium" (1541), in: Humanistica Lovaniensia, Vol. 51 (2002), pp. 9-53.
¶ Giraldi was clearly a man of great erudition. His 'Historia de diis gentium' was the first systematic study of Greek and Roman mythology, and his 'De annis et mensibus' and 'Calendarium Romanum et Graecum' helped to bring about the reform of the calender. It is a remarkable fact that Giraldi names CHAUCER ("Galfredus Chauserus") in his text (vol. II, col. 557 - G), noting Chaucer's high esteem in Britain and his many works, and describing him as a "Knight." Giraldi's information probably taken from John Bale (see George B. Pace, "Giraldi on Chaucer" in: The Chaucer Review, Vol. 7, No. 4, Spring, 1973, pp. 295-296).
¶ The 'Historia de diis gentium' (first published in 1548) is an influential encyclopedic manual of the Greek gods and goddesses, and forms the first part of Vol. 1. Henry Hallam praises this treatise "A work of considerable merit for the times, by Lilio Gregorio Giraldi, one of the most eminent scholars of that age, entitled 'Historia de Diis Gentium.' It had been preceded by one of inferior reputation, the Mythologia of Natalia Comes." According to the Biographie Universelle, "Giraldi is the first who has treated properly the subject of Classical Mythology, so difficult on account of its extent and complexity. He made use not only of all Greek and Latin authors, but of ancient inscriptions, which he has explained with much sagacity. Sometimes the multiplicity of his quotations renders him obscure, but the 'Historia de Diis Gentium' is still consulted."
¶ This edition features a double-page engraving which acts as a pictorial table of contents to assist the reader in locating each gods' entry. In the text, Giraldus refers to the works of Didodorus Siculus (Greek historian, 1st c. BCE) and his great work on mythology A second double-page engraving depicts medallions of ancient Greece and Rome. A section on The Muses has a full-page engraving; the section on Hercules features a spectacular engraving of the life and labors of Hercules including the infant Hercules strangling snakes put in his crib by Juno, his struggle with Atlas and his battles with the Gorgon, the bull and Cerberus the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades. The other fine engravings include a plate for De navigiis libellus, the funeral of Carolum Milthzienum Germanum, a mythological convocation of famous Greek and Latin poets, and a plate of the signs of the Zodiac, flanked by Bacchus, Ceres and Janus.
¶ Giraldi's life was filled with ill-health, poverty, and neglect. He lost all his property in the Sack of Rome (1527), which coincided with the death of his patron Cardinal Rangone. "He is alluded to with sorrowful regret by Montaigne in one of his Essais (I, 34), as having ended his days in utter destitution. His epitaph makes touching and graceful allusion to the sadness of his end. Numerous testimonies to his profundity and accuracy have been given both by contemporary and by later scholars" (E-B). Giraldi was a likely prototype for the mysterious Renaissance writer 'Giraldus' which William Butler Yeats described in "A Vision." Therein Yeats bases his mystical doctrine of "gyres" on an imaginary treatise "Speculum Angelorum et hominis," supposedly printed at Cracow in 1594.
¶ Other works by Giraldi contained in this massive folio include studies of the sacrificial rituals of various religions; the Ten Muses; Hercules and his famous 'labors'; ships, shipbuilding, navigation and other naval affairs of the ancients; funeral rites and customs of various ancient cultures; a biographical and literary encyclopedia of ancient poets; an interpretation of the mystical symbols used by Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans; a very curious work on the famous 'Aenigmata' riddles; an assessment of contemporary (i.e. Renaissance) Italian poets; and a collection of Giraldi's own poetry.
¶ LITERATURE: Maia W. Gahtan, "A Renaissance treatise on time: Lilio Gregorio Giraldi's De annis et mensibus" in: Acta conventus Neo-Latini Cantabrigiensis: proceedings of the Eleventh International Congress of Neo-Latin studies, Cambridge, 30 July - 5 August 2000 (2003), pp. 207-216). Idem, "Giraldi's Aenigmata" in: Acta conventus neo-latini Bonnonensis: proceedings of the twelfth international congress of Neo-Latin Studies (Bonn 3-9 August 2003), (2006), pp. 315-323. F. Secret, "Gianfrancesco Pico delia Mirandola, Lilio Gregorio Giraldi et l'alchimie" in: Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 38, 1976, p. 93-108. Henry Hallam, Introduction to the literature of Europe, in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, London, 1864, vol. II, p.55). See also James D. Johnson, "Identifying Chaucer Allusions, 1953-1980: An Annotated Bibliography" in: The Chaucer Review, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Summer, 1984), pp. 62-86.
Incredibly, JHU has only a microfilm copy.