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

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1032. RATZER, BERNARD. Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1011. [BROADSIDE]. Life, Last Words and Dying Confession, of Rachel Wall... $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1055. BEATON, CECIL. Scrapbook prepared by Cecil Beaton over the period 1935-1944, with some later inclusions. $800 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1051. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "I hope the power doesn't go out until after Masterpiece Theatre." $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1037. The Campaign Speeches of Nixon of Kennedy, inscribed to William Safire by Richard Nixon and secretarially for John Kennedy. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1036. Celebration of the Commencement of Work on Rapid Transit Railroad. March 24th 1900, one o'clock, City Hall Park, New York. $200 to $300.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1005. 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers signed baseball including Jackie Robinson. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 12. OKLAHOMA! Celeste Holm's vocal score for Oklahoma! inscribed by Richard Rodgers. $3,000 to $5,000.
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    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 79. Original production script of the Broadway musical CATS with notes written by Claude Tessier. $600 to $900.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 139. STEPHEN SONDHEIM. Autographed musical manuscript signed for "Broadway Baby" from Follies. $500 to $800.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 180.<br>Cecil Beaton. Headdress for Liza at the Ball, from My Fair Lady, circa 1962. $700 to $900.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 177.<br>Cecil Beaton. Set Design for The Gainsborough Girls, 1951. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
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    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
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    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
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    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000

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