Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2010 Issue

Books of Classical Antiquity from Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta

Fragmenta102

Classical Antiquity - A to K.


By Michael Stillman

Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta of Amsterdam has issued their Catalogue 102 Classical Antiquity (A-K). There are obviously lots of works about classical antiquity as this collection includes almost 1,600 items just to get to the letter "K." There are very few books that cost much here, lots of material designed more for learning than building a collection of expensive collectibles. Books come in many languages - English, French, German, Latin, and Greek. You are sure to be fluent in at least one (we will focus on books in our fluency - English). For a trip back in time, way back in time, there are hundreds of books awaiting you.

It's not easy to construct an intimate biography of someone who died 3,350 years ago, what with issues of access to contemporaries and the like. Nevertheless, Joan Fletcher has done a remarkable job with the challenge in Chronicle of a Pharaoh. The intimate life of Amenhotep III. Amenhotep's long reign, almost 40 years, was a time of prosperity, great art, and tranquility. Many rulers try to build their reputations through military conquests, but there seem to have been few wars during his reign, though he was said to have personally killed 100 lions with his arrows. His time is now regarded as perhaps the peak of ancient Egypt in terms of power and prestige. His rule ended with his death around 1350 BC. Fortunately, many tablets and statues from Amenhotep's time have survived (as has his mummy), enabling Fletcher to write a year-by-year account of his life. Item 905. Priced at €20 (euros, or approximately US $28).

Hannibal did not make his reputation during peacetime. He was a military leader from Carthage, and he retains the reputation as one of the most brilliant military strategists ever, even though he has been gone almost 2,200 years. Hannibal attacked the mighty Roman Empire and held it to a standstill for years, at times coming close to conquering Rome, but eventually was driven away. Still, his achievements against the mightiest empire the world had known remain a testament to his superior skills, and he would be highly respected, though unloved, by his enemy. Item 1122 is Hannibal's campaigns. The story of one of the greatest military commanders of all time, by T. Bath, published in 1981. €8 (US $11).

Item 549 is a book about Roman history and ruins near Cirencester, a town in England about 100 miles from London. In the day, it was something of a center, one of the larger Roman cities in England. Back then, it went by the name of Corinium. The title of the book is Early Roman Occupation at Cirencester, by J.S. Wacher and A.D. McWhirr. It was published in 1982, but there are still many ruins yet to be excavated in the area. €22 (US $30).

Item 169 is a copy of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. This English translation is a little closer to being contemporary than, say, a copy printed today, as it was published in 1926, only around 2,300 years removed from his lifetime, rather than 2,400. In this work Aristotle describes his standards of ethics, all logically deduced from a few basic principles. It is remarkable that such a high standard of ethics could come from such an early time, but ancient Greece was a remarkable place. €11 (US $15).

So, now that we know about Aristotle's deepest thoughts, let's get to some surface issues. What did the man look like? This is not easy with a man who died more than 2,300 years ago, or more than 2,100 years before the invention of photography. Item 935 is Fulvio Orsini's imagines and the portrait of Aristotle, published in 1960. Orsini was a 16th century historian and archeologist who built a collection of antiquities. This work describes 16th century books that contained portraits of ancient leaders and notable personalities. €8 (US $11).

Item 408 is a book about Julius Caesar by a political leader of much later times: Histoire de Jules Cesar, published in 1865-66. The author was Napoleon III, Emperor of France, and its last monarch. He was the nephew of the first French notable with the Napoleon name, President of the Second French Republic, and Emperor of the Second French Empire after staging a coup. He was something of a Caesar in his time, though at least he was able to escape to exile when overthrown, rather than being assassinated. His work does tie together two leaders who were admired by their friends, but hated by their enemies, whose careers ended in defeat. €175 (US $245).

Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta may be reached at +31 20 4185565 or mail@fragmentaselecta.nl. Their website is located at www.fragmentaselecta.nl.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Extremely Fine Copy of Fantasy Classic. Tolkien (J.R.R.) <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again,</i> L. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Museum Street) 1937. €20,000 to €30,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Incunabula. [Sirectus, Antonius] O’Fihely (Maurice)Abp. <i>Formalitates de Mente Doctoris Subtilis Scoti Nec Non Stephai Burlifer cum novis additionibus…</i> Venice 14th December 1051 (ie. 1501). €3,000 to €4,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Original Book Illustrations by Pamela Leonard. Illustrations: Regan (Peter) Touchstone, 8vo D. (Mount Salas Press) 1989. €3,500 to €4,500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> [Petit (Jean), Prevel (Jean) & Gregory (Pope)] [Gregorius]. <i>Compendium Textuale Compillationis decretalium Gregorri noni sine qua…</i>, Paris [Dec. 1524]. €350 to €500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Excessively Rare – V. Fine Copy. [Mac Mahon]. <i>Jus Primatiale Armacanum, In Omnes Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, et Universum Clerum</i>… [n.p.] 1728. €750 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Madden (R.R.). <i>Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia and Palestine in 1824, 1825, 1826 and 1827,</i> 2 vols. 1822. €500 to €700
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Early English Herbal. Gerarde (John). The Herball or General History of Plants, thick folio L. (John Norton) 1597. €700 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The Tehran World War 2 Conference Photograph: [Tehran Conference 1943] An important and iconic Group Photograph showing Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. €80 to €120
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Natural History Specimens from Jersey Jersey Islands: Westacton [Mrs Acton] Collection of 53 original dried examples of Seaweed collected in Jersey, c. 1860. €300 to €400
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Plyglot Bible: Hutteri (Eliae). <i>Biblia Sacra, Ebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, Latinae, Germanice, Sclavonice.</i> Lg. folio Nurimberg 1599. €250 to €350
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The American Invasion 1888: “First Ever G.A.A. Hurling Match in America” Medal: G.A.A., The Invaders, 1888. €2,000 to €3,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> “Babe” Ruth and the G.A.A. G.A.A. & Baseball: A unique and early Sporting Association. An original Spalding B12 Baseball Bat. €4,000 to €6,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions