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AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS. Rerum Gestarum qui de XXXI supersunt Libri XVIII. Ed. Jacob Gronovius. Leiden, Pieter Van der Aa, 1693.
Large 4to. [23.5 x 19.5 cm], (34) ff. [including engraved frontispiece], 724 pp., (10) ff. ; engraved portrait of Gronovius signed by A. von Zylvelt, 6 full-page numbered engraved plates, 11 unnumbered engraved plates (3 of them folding). Early vellum over boards, author and title inked on spine; upper hinge gone. Some toning; minor repair to several folding plates; last quire loosening. Early signatures in margins of frontispiece and title page; some marginal notes in an early hand. Good.
$950 First Gronovius edition, with extensive commentary and extensive illustrations; it remained the definitive edition for well over a century. This classic military history is the work of Ammianus Marcellinus (ca. 325–after 391) a retired soldier. In the surviving section of Rerum gestarum, which covers the years 353 to 378, he gives a vivid account (often eyewitness) of military campaigns on the crumbling frontiers of the late Roman Empire, from Scotland and England across Europe and on to Mesopotamia and North Africa. He was also an astute observer of the intrigues in the imperial court under several emperors, including Julian the Apostate. Gibbon described him as “an accurate and faithful guide, who composed the history of his own times without indulging the prejudices and passions which usually affect the mind of a contemporary.”
Jacobus Gronovius (Jakob Gronow, 1645–1716), a Dutch classical scholar, was “the most prolific and quarrelsome [of the Dutch antiquaries]—a great man despite an ‘ill temper’ that ‘render’d him odious to most Learned men’” (J. Levine, Dr. Woodward's Shield: History, Science, and Satire in Augustan England [Cornell, 1991], p. 161, quoting Valkenaer). Gronovius produced well over 40 annotated editions of Greek and Roman authors, among them the 13-volume Thesaurus antiquitatum Graecarum, 1697–1702
* Brunet I.237. On early and notable editions of Ammianus see Jan Willem Drijvers, http://odur.let.rug.nl/~drijvers/ammianus/editions.htm
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