Scholarly compendium including numerous classical works, Aesop's fables and a lengthy account of European geography in Latin and Greek, manuscript on paper in Royal French binding [France (Paris), late seventeenth century].
Hardcover, full leather, 220 x 154 mm, 241 leaves (plus doublures), evidently complete, in single column of up to 40 lines in a single scrawling italic hand, titles and some opening words in larger version of same, numerous calligraphic pen swirls, stunning original binding of brown leather over thick pasteboards bound with 5 thongs at spine, gilt-tooled with arms of kings of France (in form of 1578-1790) below a crown and within the collars of the Orders of St. Michel and ‘du roi’ as central cabouchons, each board also with gilt floral border with large fleur-de-lys set at corner, spine gilt-tooled with fleur-de-lys and foliage in compartments, title “RHETO/RICA”, finely marbled doublures, gilt edges decorated with green marbling. Condition: GOOD. Bumped at edges, slight scuffs, some splits at spine, but solid in binding, slight discolouration and a few small spots throughout.
Note: This is a curious volume in that its humble contents do not on first impression sit easily with the grandeur of its royal binding. The main contents of this volume are those of a late seventeenth-century scholar (excerpts from Cicero, Coriolanus, with sections on the Roman wars with Carthage, the ancient kings of Prussia and Bithnia, Theodoric the Ostrogoth, Attila the Hun, Nero’s crushing of a revolt in Roman Britain, as well as the animal fables Cicada et Formica, Vulpes et Felis, Vespersilio et Mustella, Vulpes et Hircus, Felis et Simia, and Canis cum Lepore). There is also topical material on the Duc de Chaulnes and the public display of the corpse of St. Francis Borgia (1510-72, canonised 1670). Some material on St. Genevieve, including an account of the procession of her relics in 1694, points towards Paris, and verses on King Louis XIV’s attacks on heresy, perhaps point towards the royal court. The final part, which contains a lengthy Geographia ascribed to the Jesuit Joseph de Jouvancy (1643-1719), adds that the geographic text was written in 1694 in Paris in the royal college or lycée of Louis XIV. This book may have come from the royal library, alternatively it may once been part of the library of the royal lycée. The school was founded by the Jesuits in 1563 as the Collège de Clermont, but renamed in Louis XIV’s honour after he extended it his direct patronage in 1682.