APULEIUS, Lucius (c. 125-c.180 A.D.) – VIZANI, Pompeo (1540-1607). L’Asino d’Oro. Venice: Alessandro Zatta, 1668.

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12mo., (6 x 3 ½ inches). Title within woodcut border (slightly toned). 67 in-text woodcut illustrations. 19th-century half pebbled brown cloth, marbled boards, spine gilt (extremities a bit worn).


Provenance: 17th-century armorial bookplates to each pastedown; 20th century bookplates by Reynolds Stone (1909-1979) of Brian Douglas Stilwell and Robert Wayne Stilwell to recto of first free endpaper.

Published and reprinted many times since the 16th century. The “Metamorphoses” of Apuleius, dubbed “The Golden Ass” by St. Augustine, is the only ancient Roman novel in Latin to survive in its entirety. Upon the invention of the printing press, Latin editions of “The Golden Ass” were among the earliest narrative works to be printed, and was soon translated into other languages, including Italian, as here. “Newly” translated by Vizani, a Bolognese nobleman (it had previously been translated into Italian by Firenzuola and Boiardo in the mid-sixteenth century). Vizani is most famous for his chronicle of Bologna, “Diece libri delle historie della sua patria,” in which he describes the great famine of that region in the late 16th century. With many charming woodcut illustrations throughout.