MEURSIUS (Joannes)

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MEURSIUS (Joannes)

Athenae Batavae. Sive, De urbe Leidensi, & Academiâ [...]: libri duo. Leiden, Andries Clouck and Elsevier, 1625.
In-4, 22 ff.n.ch. (including the frontispiece) and 351 pp.: marbled vellum, remnants of laces, edges speckled with red (binding of the period).
Partly original edition of this important monograph on the University of Leiden, published by Jean Meursius (1579-1639), a Dutch scholar and philologist who professed Greek history and language there as early as 1610. It is the first and only edition of this work published under the title Athens Batave.
The dedicatory epistle is addressed to King Christian IV of Denmark, who appointed Meursius as royal historiographer.
The work begins with a brief description of the city of Leiden, taken from the Beschrijvinge der Stad Leiden (1614) by Jean Orlers. The rest of the volume is devoted to a description of Leiden, the university and its outbuildings, and above all to numerous biographies of the most illustrious professors and other personalities attached to this institution, accompanied by epigrams, epitaphs, etc.
Very nice intaglio engraved illustration, including a title-frontispiece by Swanenburg, 8 (out of 9) folding plates, 2 of which relate to the cartography of Leiden and one representing the siege of the city by the Spaniards in 1574, 10 figures in the text (the university library, the botanical garden, the anatomical amphitheatre that Descartes would frequent a few years later, etc.), and a number of other illustrations (the university library, the botanical garden, the anatomical amphitheatre that Descartes would attend a few years later, etc.).), one full-page figure (p. 170: Scaliger's epitaph), and 52 full-page portraits (William of Orange, to whom we owe the foundation of the university in 1575, Janus Dousa, Bonaventure Vulcanus, Justus Lipsius, Scaliger, Merula, Charles of the Lock, Grotius, Heinsius, Vossius or even Meursius himself).
Copy by Nicolas Chorier (1612-1692), with his manuscript ex-libris dated 1653 at the head of the frontispiece.
Attractive provenance when we know that this historian and lawyer of the Dauphiné clandestinely published libertine texts falsely attributed to the humanist Meursius.
Curious binding of time in marbled vellum.
The marbling was placed on the skin as on a sheet of paper, i.e. it was dipped in a tray containing the paint. We do not know of any other copy of vellum marbled in this way.
Libraries Eugène Chaper (1827-1890), a bibliophile from Dauphiné, part of whose library is in Grenoble, and Charles Vander Elst.
The captioned plate Gratiarum actio is missing. Small repairs on the back of the map plates, engraving page 170 slightly trimmed at the top. Notebooks a little yellowed.
(Bibliotheca Belgica, VII, col. 872-873.- Rahir, Les Elzévier, no. 200.- Willems, no. 237).
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