Item #3083 Traducion de los libros de Caio Plinio Secundo, de la Historia Natural de los animales. [BOUND WITH:]  Libro Nono de Caio Plinio Segundo, de la Historia Natural de los pescados del mar, de lagos, estanques y rios. Madrid, Pedro Madrigal, 1603. Gaius Plinius Secundus PLINY THE ELDER, Jerónimo Gómez de HUERTA, ed. and trans.
Traducion de los libros de Caio Plinio Secundo, de la Historia Natural de los animales. [BOUND WITH:] Libro Nono de Caio Plinio Segundo, de la Historia Natural de los pescados del mar, de lagos, estanques y rios. Madrid, Pedro Madrigal, 1603.
Traducion de los libros de Caio Plinio Secundo, de la Historia Natural de los animales. [BOUND WITH:] Libro Nono de Caio Plinio Segundo, de la Historia Natural de los pescados del mar, de lagos, estanques y rios. Madrid, Pedro Madrigal, 1603.
THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF PLINY’S BOOK IX ON THE ANIMALS OF THE SEA IN THE SPANISH LANGUAGE
Alcala, Justo Sanchez, 1602.

Traducion de los libros de Caio Plinio Secundo, de la Historia Natural de los animales. [BOUND WITH:] Libro Nono de Caio Plinio Segundo, de la Historia Natural de los pescados del mar, de lagos, estanques y rios. Madrid, Pedro Madrigal, 1603.

4to in 8s (19.5 x 14cm). [8], 334 (i.e. 318) ff.; [12], 156 ff. Numerous errors in foliation and signing in Traducion de los libros; clean 65mm tear on leaf A5 without loss; tear to lower right corner of leaf L7 with loss to a single letter of two words; misimpression over upper half of leaf 2G3 recto on account of paper flaw, making a few words difficult to read; small pale water stain on corner or gutter of a few leaves. Bound in contemporary flexible vellum, with ties partially present. Generally, a fresh, crisp and unsophisticated copy. Excellent.

Rare first Spanish edition of Book IX of Pliny’s Natural History devoted to fish, bound with the second edition (first 1599) of Books VII and VIII. All books are dedicated to King Philip III, with his armorial device on each titlepage. Their editor and translator, Jerónimo Gómez de Huerta (1573-1643), was physician to King Philip IV.

 With the exceptions of partial selections of this text by Pliny in earlier compilations (see Palau), Book IX constitutes the first appearance of this work on the animals of the sea in Spanish. It has a double dedication, to king Philip III, and to the Duque de Lerma, Marques de Denia, the most powerful political figure in Spain at the time. The text is preceded by an alphabetical index listing the fish and sea animals described in the book with their Spanish names, but also with special sections listing the names in Greek, Latin, Arabic, French and Italian. The text deals with fish, mammals (dolphins, orcas, whales, etc..), crustaceans, shellfish, and mollusks (sea urchins, oysters, etc..) large and small, inhabiting seas, oceans, lakes and rivers.

 Of specific interest are the detailed chapters on pearls (p.111 to 116, including details as how to fish them, the locations of the best pearls, and an amazing anecdote of Cleopatra and her pearls) and purpura ( p.116 to 119, with instructions on obtaining a royal purple dye and ink from the porphyria (murex) shell). Several entries include references to fish sauces which were served to enhance the taste —evidence for what was being cooked in Roman kitchens. “As a purveyor of information both scientific and nonscientific, Pliny holds a place of exceptional importance in the tradition and diffusion of Western culture”- (DSB).

 Popular among contemporary readers, Cervantes cited this vernacular translation by Huerta in his final and posthumous novel, Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda, Historia setentrional (1617).

Bound first, Book VII, devoted to humankind, includes astute observations about infants, human development, and men’s characters, and Book VIII focuses on animals of the earth.

Pliny (AD 23-79) compiled his 37-book Natural History, an innovative encyclopedia of the whole of nature, motivated by his conviction that he was serving mankind and simultaneously saving the science of past ages from the forgetful indifference of the present: “Indeed, what is there that does not appear marvelous when it comes to our knowledge for the first time? How many things, too, are looked upon as quite impossible until they have been actually effected?” (Book VII, section 6). (DSB).

Palau consider Books VII and VIII and Book IX, respectively, to be separate publications, and the two works have different publishers. However, the presence of all three books in a contemporary binding in the present copy, and the apparent circulation of the three books in several institutional copies, irrespective of the date of the binding, suggest that they may have been issued together. In the dedication to Philip III in Book IX, the translator Huerta envisions a future publication containing additional separate books, but this project never saw the light of day. Instead, much later, Huerta completed a translation of all 37 books of Pliny, which was printed in Madrid in 1624-29. Francisco Hernández (1517-1587) produced a Spanish translation of Pliny several decades prior to Huerta, but he died before it could be published.

For the 1602 edition of Traducion de los libros (i.e., Books VII and VIII), OCLC lists U.S. holdings at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pennsylvania (the 1599 edition is held by Harvard, the Hispanic Society and Indiana). For the first (1603) edition of Libro Nono (i.e., Book IX), OCLC indicates U.S. holdings at the University of Pennsylvania only.

* Palau y Dulcet, 229067 (Traducion de los libros, 1602) and 229068 (Libro Nono, 1603); Penny, p. 431 (1693); Perez Pastor 645 (1599) & 848 (1603); on Cervantes’ use of Huerta’s edition, see Juan Bautista Avalle-Arce, “Persiles and Allegory” in Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 10.1 (1990), pp. 7-16.

Price: $6,500.00