Horatius Opera Cum Quisdam Annotationibus

Calliope (detail)Calliope (detail) Item: Incunabula Book
Title: Horatius Opera Cum Quisdam Annotationibus. Horatii Flacci Venusini, Poete Lirici Opera Cum Quibusdam Annotationibus.
Author: Horace
Commentary: Jacob Locher

Printer: Johann Gruninger
Place of Printing: Argentorati (Strassburg)
Date of Printing: 1498
Format: Folio
Language: Latin
Reference: Hain 8898, BMC I p.112, Stillwell H397


Liber PrimusLiber PrimusIllustration (detail)Illustration (detail)

Horace [Quintus Horace Flaccus] (65 B.C. – 8 B.C.] was the most noted Roman poet. As a young man he accepted military tribune position with Brutus’ army in its fight with Octavian and Mark Anthony. When Brutus lost at Philippi in 42 B.C., Horace’s position was desperate. He was considered a traitor, his estate was confiscated and his life was in danger. However, he was pardoned in the general amnesty by Octavian (later Augustus Caesar). Horace obtained a position as a clerk and began to write his verses in his free time. Augustus Caesar offered Horace the position of Caesar’s clerk but Horace declined. Horace’s fame grew throughout the empire. Some of his works include the Satire, the Odes, the Epistles and Ars Poetica.

Jacob Locher

Printmark and ColophonPrintmark and ColophonPrintmark (detail)Printmark (detail)

Jacob Locher (1471-1528) was a Poet Laureate (1497) of King Maximilian I of the House of Habsburg. He was born at Ehingen on left the bank of the Danube. He was professor of poetry and rhetoric in Ingolstadt and taught at the University of Freiburg.

Horace’s Works with Commentary by Jacob Locher

This was the complete works of Horace with commentary by the scholar Jacob Locher. It was the first edition of Horace printed in Germany. Numerous woodcuts are used in the volume but not all are new to this edition. The portrait of Locher was previously used in the 1497 edition in Johann Gruninger’s printing of Locher’s Panegyricus ad Maximilian Tragoedia De Turcis et Soldano (Turks and their Sulton). Some of the woodcuts were used in Gruninger’s 1496 edition of Comoediae- Directorio Vocabulorum by Publius Terentius After (Terence 190-158 B.C.). Many of these illustrations are narrow cut woodblocks which show dramatis personae and scenery. They are joined together up to five blocks at a time to make different illustrations throughout the book.

Our Copy

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The book contains up to 52 lines of text and 74 lines of commentary per page. There is both Roman and Gothic type. Index at end of the volume. There are quire signatures. The layout changes throughout the book, containing one, two and three columns per page. There are many woodcut illustrations repeated in the book. Printer’s device above the colophon.

Johann (Reinhard) Gruninger

Johann (Reinhard) Gruninger (ca 1455-1533). His real name was Johann Reinhard but he adopted the name of the city of his birth (Gruningen in Wurttemberg). Gruninger moved to Basle, then finally in 1482 he became a citizen of Strassbourg. He was a printer and a member of the goldsmiths’ guild. Although he was known for the fine woodcut illustrations in his many books, he was also known as a sloppy printer with pagination flaws.


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