Pindar goes Bongars
Jacques Bongars (1554-1612), a protestant humanist diplomat and scholar who edited a number of classical works including Justinus and Quintus Curtius Rufus, is a respectable candidate for the book’s original owner in any case, but in addition Paul Estienne addressed the dedicatory letter at the beginning of the Pindar to him. Bongars assembled a remarkable collection of books, manuscripts and papers, largely preserved in Bern University Library. He frequently recorded his ownership by writing his name, as Bongarsius, in his books and manuscripts. His signature varies considerably, but his ownership of the volume is the most likely explanation for the presence of his name here.
Pindar’s odes was possibly the first book printed by Paul Estienne after the death of his father, Henri. The Greek text, including the scholia, was revised by Paul Estienne with the assistance of his brother-in-law Isaac Casaubon. In 1601 he published one of the best early editions of the famously obscure ancient poem attributed to Lycophron, edited by Willem Canter, which takes the form of a prophecy uttered by Cassandra in which she predicts the fall of the Troy and the fates of the Greek and Trojan heroes. It was popular in the Byzantine world, and Estienne includes the valuable scholia of John Tzetzes, which preserves fragments of other lost works.
Pindar: Schreiber, The Estiennes, 268; Renouard, Annales de l’Impremierie des Estienne, 195, no 2. Lycophron: Schreiber, The Estiennes, 272; Renouard, Annales de l’Impremierie des Estienne, 196, no 10.
Condition & Materials
Two works bound as one, 4to. pp. [xvi], 487, [v]; [xvi], 211, [i], 58 [of 59]. Greek and Latin text. The second work, Lycophron, is defective: the final leaf (with blank verso) has been torn in half, leaving the column of Greek text but with the Latin translation now missing. There is some staining in the lower margin at intervals, and there are a handful of annotations in English inked in the margins. Contemporary vellun with title inked to spine, somewhat soiled, yapp edges. Ownership incriptions of Edward Cooper, vicar of All Saints, Evesham 1769-1807 (on title-page dated 1779 and on the front free endpaper dated 1787). An old ownership inscription has been carefully crossed through, and there are two old prices (5 shillings and 12 shillings). The pastedown carries a 20th century book label of FH Williamson, and the name Bongarsius written twice in an early hand, a Latinised form of the name Bongars, suggesting that this the dedicatee’s own copy.