Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2010 Issue

Reliving Classical Antiquity with Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta

Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta offers books related to classical aniquity.


By Michael Stillman

Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta has released their Catalogue 101 Classical Antiquity. While these are not primarily antiquarian books, they are the books of antiquity. By "classical antiquity," they are referring to the periods of the Greek and Roman Empires, along with the Byzantine Era, which takes us up to the end of the Middle Ages, and, of course, the invention of printing. There are no books from classical antiquity, at least not printed ones, and surviving manuscripts from these times range from nonexistent to very rare. Most of what we know of these times comes from copies of copies, made by scribes long ago from originals or earlier copies long since lost. Their accuracy may not always be perfect, but this is the best available source of the history and knowledge of our ancestors many generations removed. Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta offers over 1,200 titles in their latest catalogue, valuable for research, learning, entertainment, and collecting. Those were the days.

Item 1078 is a later reprint of an 1891 look at one of the earliest archeologists of ancient Greece: Schliemann's Discoveries of the Ancient World, by Karl Schuchhardt. Heinrich Schliemann was not really an archeologist by today's standards. Then again, neither was anyone else in the 19th century. Schliemann was a German businessman who made a fortune in Gold Rush California, sold it and made another one in Russia. With more than enough money to live happily ever after, he devoted the remainder of his life to excavating ancient ruins, looking to establish his belief that ancient Greek writings were based on historical fact. He uncovered many artifacts in an area he correctly identified as the site of ancient Troy, though his sometimes less than careful excavations may have destroyed other evidence and confused the dating of things he found. Priced at €35 (euros, or roughly $43 in U.S. dollars).

Item 1077 is a more recent book (1991) about the aforementioned excavator: The Gold of Troy. The Story of Heinrich Schliemann and the Buried Cities of Ancient Greece, by Robert Payne. €7 (US $9).

Item 222 is a fictional account of travels in ancient Greece, not that even the more accurate accounts of this time don't contain much fiction. The title of this, at the time very popular book by Jean Jacques Bathelemy, is Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis en Grece, a fictional 4th century B.C. account of the travels of a descendant of Anacharsis in Greece. Anacharsis is a historical figure from the 6th century B.C., though none of his writings survive and he is known only through later accounts and supposed letters he wrote. Anacharsis came from Scythia, along the Black Sea, to explore Athens, and learn from and make friends with its people. He came to be regarded by the Greeks as something of a philosopher, a man of simple tastes who preached friendship and moderation in all activities. Offered is a set of the five-volume 1834 edition of the historical novel first published in 1778, which did much to stir interest in ancient Greece at the time. €125 (US $153).

Item 922 is the catalogue for the auction of the letters of one of the men who did much to spread the modern knowledge that closed out the Byzantine Era and classic antiquity. Abraham Ortelius was the first of the great Dutch mapmakers. His atlases provided maps of the various lands of the world as accurately as possible based on explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries. The collection consisted of 376 letters, mostly sent to Ortelius, but 32 sent by him. The letters were given by Ortelius' nephew to the Dutch Church in London in the early 17th century. In 1955, the collection was put up for auction at Sotheby's, and offered is the catalogue from that sale, Catalogue of the Highly Important Correspondence of Abraham Ortelius (1528-98). The letters would come back to Sotheby's for a second auction in 1968 and are now dispersed, most in libraries. €45 (US $55).

Aristoxenus may have been as great a philosopher as the far better known Aristotle, but it is unlikely we will ever know. Despite being a prolific writer, virtually all of his works are lost. Aristoxenus was a student of Aristotle, and he wrote in much the same philosophical vein based on the titles of his lost works. However, he also wrote about music, and this is where his one text survives. Item 179 is a 1902 translation of his fragmentary survival, The Harmonics of Aristoxenus. €70 US $86).

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

  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.

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