ESTIENNE, HENRI. 1528?-1598.
Thesaurus Graecae linguae. [Geneva]: Henri Estienne, 1572.
5 volumes bound in 4. Folio (380 x 245 mm). 20, xx,  pp + v-xxiv, 1946 columns;  pp + v-xii, 1700 columns;  pp + 5-1793 columns + [2 blank] pp;  pp + 834 columns;  pp + 5-1746 columns + [2 blank] pp + 212 columns. Double column, Greek and roman type. Woodcut device on title. Decorative initials, headpieces; initial letter at beginning of each section enclosed within a woodcut cartouche. 18th century tree calf, spines gilt, red and green morocco spine labels. Some narrow staining to top margin, scattered foxing or toning, two small inkstamps to titles, light shelfwear, corners just bumped.
Provenance: unidentified Jesuit seminary (partially effaced inkstamps on ownership inscriptions on titles).
FIRST EDITION OF HENRI ESTIENNE'S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT, first, dated issue and on fine, large paper. Henri Estienne's Greek dictionary is the bedrock of his reputation as one of the greatest classical scholars who ever lived. Henri began this work with his father, Robert, who had published a Dictionarium seu latinae linguae thesaurus in 1531, but was left to complete it and to publish it at his own expense after his father's death in 1559. "There has been to this day no substitute to the Thesaurus Graecus" (PMM).
From a financial perspective the Thesaurus was ruinous for Henri, he had sapred no expense (his xylographic Greek signature appears here for the first time) and sales were hurt by the coincidence of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. Adams S1790; Renouard 135; PMM 62 note; Schreiber 181.
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