Principal source for the history of ancient Greek philosophy

DIOGENES LAERTIUS. De vita, & moribus philosophorum libri decem, nuper ad vetusti Graeci codicis fidem accuratissime castigati, ….. Basel, Valentin Curio, 1524. With woodcut printer’s device on verso last leaf and several woodcut initials. [20], 391, [1] pp. Small 4to. Contemporary blind stamped half pigskin, spine with raised bands, boards partly covered with purple paper decorated with gilt floral ornaments, clasps absent, catches present

€ 1400

Adams D-486; Graesse 397; BMSTC (German), 244. Rare Latin edition of this famous work of which the Greek editio princeps was not published until 1533 (by Froben). This is a nice Basle edition of the first history of Greek philosophy and this translation is based upon that of the Camaldolese priest Ambrosius Traversarius (1386-1439) which work appeared in Venice, Nicolas Jenson, in 1475. The present edition was edited by Curio and Michael Bentinus and is the first to be printed in the 16th century and the first to be printed in the German speaking countries. – Spine slightly damaged at foot and with some loss in one compartment, and a bit loose from book block at foot but not detached and still solid, boards somewhat stained, some minor blemishes, first leaves with a stain in upper margin, two small wormholes throughout touching the occasional letter. Handwritten name on title (D.V. Stack ?) and stamp “Ex bibliotheca Lycei Vittenbergensis” in blank portion of title. Colophon: Basiliae apud Valentinum Curionem Calendis Septembris An. M.D. XXIIII. The present work is a principal source for the history of ancient Greek philosophy: unlike many other ancient secondary sources, Diogenes Laërtius generally reports philosophical teachings without attempting to reinterpret or expand on them, which means his accounts are often closer to the primary sources. Due to the loss of so many of the primary sources on which Diogenes relied, his work has become the foremost surviving source on the history of Greek philosophy. “….the author of the only extant continuous account of the lives and doctrines of the chief Greek philosophers.” The work is “chiefly important for some of its biographical material and for the fragments from the works of the philosophers and poets.” (Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ii, p. 408.)