The Two Greatest Medieval Histories of Troy
DICTYS CRETENSIS. Historia Troiana. [edited by Franciscus Faragonius] [with:] DARES PHRYGIUS, De excidio Troiae historiae. Messina: Guilelmus Schonberger , 1498.
First combined edition of these two important histories, thus uniting these two standard sources forever afterwards. (Fourth and sixth appearances in print individually.) Small (Chancery) quarto (7 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches; 199 x 140mm). 79 leaves (of 80, lacking final blank). a-f8 g-h6 i8 k12. Roman letter. 27 - 28 lines. Woodcut initials with profuse branch-work and floral decoration, printer's device on verso of last leaf.

Nineteenth-century calf. Previous owner's bookplate. Near fine in a custom full calf clamshell, gilt-stamped on spine.

The siege of Troy was one of the greatest subjects for medieval story-tellers. These two histories (though unreliable in their details) were the most significant sources for the medieval renditions of the Troy-saga, as often used as Homer, and in circulation before Le Fevre.

Dictys Cretensis, a Cretan of Knossus, companion of Ideomeneus at Troy, was the reputed author of a first-hand diary which was Latinized by L. Septimius (probably fourth century).

Dares Phrygius, a priest of Hephaestus at Troy (mentioned by Homer in Iliad 5.9) was reputed author of a lost pre-Homeric account of the Trojan War. A supposed Latin translation, attributed to Cornelius Nepos, from the fifth century, Daretis Phrygii de Excidio Trojae Historia, (with a supposed introduction by Sallust) is the closer source.

The medieval transmissions of these texts was greatly expedited in the thirteenth century by the Sicilian Guido della Colonne of Messina which adds further importance to this early (perhaps first?) example of Sicilian printing. (The priority claims of Palermo have never been fully established.)

From the renowned library the 6th Marquess of Bute.

HBS # 66436 $28,500