Catalog Archive
Auction 165, Lot 32

"Aur. Theodosii Macrobii V. Cl. & Inlustris Opera. Accedunt Integrae Isacii Pontani, Joh. Meursii, Jacobi Gronovii Notae & Animadversiones...", Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodo

Subject: Ancient World

Period: 1694 (published)


Color: Black & White

4.8 x 7.5 inches
12.2 x 19.1 cm
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This is a much later edition of this work, written by Ambrosius Macrobius, and is a commentary on Cicero's Dream of Scipio. It includes a simplified version of the original woodcut map of the world (2.7 x 2.7") illustrating Cicero's interesting theories. This diagrammatic map shows two regions of equal size and shape in the northern and hemispheres, each containing both a "Temperata" (temperate region) and a "Perusta Inhabitabilis" (torrid zone) which are separated by an unnamed ocean. It was this notion of antipodean balance and landmass equivalence that continued to attract Renaissance minds to the otherwise outmoded geographical ideas of Macrobius. Distinguished cartographers like Mercator and Ortelius incorporated Macrobius' model into an immense southern continent (Australis Incongita) to balance the known lands of the world, and the division of the world into climactic zones is still in use today.

Macrobius was a 5th century Roman neoplatonic philosopher. His commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Sciponis was of great influence in the Middle Ages and gained popularity with the advent of printing. First published in Brescia in 1483, numerous editions appeared throughout the 16th century (and here in the late 17th century). His commentary includes several chapters dealing with his own conception of the world and the universe. It also contains references to many facets of the scientific knowledge of his time, including references to physics, astronomy, and mathematics.

Decorative frontispiece, title page, 491 pages (map at p. 106), and extensive index. Hardbound in full, contemporary leather with raised bands, gilt decorations, and gilt title label on spine.

References: cf. Shirley #13; cf. King (2nd ed.) pp. 34 & 193-4; cf. Moecker (MapForum #4), pp. 26-30.

Condition: B+

Text and illustrations are mostly clean and bright, with the signatures in the first third of the book somewhat loose. There is a previous owner's bookplate on the front pastedown. The spine is cracking, the hinges are starting, and the edges are bumped. Covers have light wear and a small stain on the front cover.

Estimate: $400 - $500

Sold for: $300

Closed on 11/15/2017