Valerius Maximus: FACTA ET DICTA MEMORABILIA. Venice, 1497


(Facta et dicta memorabilia). Valerius Maximus cum commento Oliverii Arzignanensis Vicentini.

Venezia, Bartholomaeus de Zanis, 1497

In-folio (28,5 x 20,5 cm). Leaves 3 nn., 206, Roman type, text surrounded by the commentary; lacking last blank; some staining (title stronger), title and last 3 leaves with small mended defective spots (lightly affecting text), inner front joint slightly weak. Woodcut initials. Bound in XIX century vellum over boards with title on spine.

Provenance: Famiglia Balduini di Trento, with handwritten coat of arms dated 1552 e 1559; other notes of possession by Franciscus Balduini dated 1560. The noble family’s Renaissance palace, the eldest frescoed residence of the the city, is still visible in the Trento main square.


Fine Venetian edition of Valerius Maximus’ only known work with the commentary surrounding the text and white-on-black woodcut initials. Valerius Maximus lived during the reign of the emperor Tiberius (14-37). Facta et dicta memorabilia (Memorable deeds and sayings) is a collection in nine volumes of about a thousand short stories, illustrating the Romans’s life in that period. His sources included some of the best known historians of the period, including Sallust, Livy and Cicero. Unusually for the time, he arranged his stories thematically, addressing such topics as bravery, dreams, omens, fidelity, modesty, prestige, revenge and even female lawyers. Criticized for his florid writing style Valerius Maximus’ work was extremely popular, perhaps because of its moral content, as a school text in the medieval and renaissance period. More than 600 manuscript copies of the complete work survive, with 30 different printed editions recorded from the incunabula period.

Bibliography: GW M49194. – Hain 15795. – Goff V 42. – BMC V, 433. – BSB V-24.


Additional information





Balduini family, Trento