Pointer, John

Britannia Romana, or Roman antiquities in Britain, viz. coins, camps, and publick roads (etc) ; An account of a Roman pavement lately found at Stunsfield in Oxfordshire, prov’d to be 1400 years old ; A rational account of the weather, shewing the signs of its several changes and alterations, together with the philosophical reasons of them.

Oxford, Leon(ard) Lichfield for Anth(ony) Peisley 1724 ; Leonard Lichfield for Anth(ony) Peisley 1713 ; L(eonard) L(ichfield) for S.Wilmot 1723.

Reference: 10030
Price: £980 [convert currency]

Full Description

8vo. (20) + 55 + (5)pp, folding engraved map of Roman roads in Britain ; engraved frontispiece, (6) + 39 + (1)pp ; (12) + 76pp. Contemporary full panelled calf, gilt spine, small split at top of front hinge. From the library of the Earls of Macclesfield, with mid nineteenth century Macclesfield bookplate, dated 1860, and armorial Macclesfield blindstamp towards top of first three leaves (as customary with books from this library). A good copy.

A volume combining three of the principal published works of Rev.John Pointer (1668-1754), Chaplain of Merton College, Oxford, and Rector of Slapton, Northamptonshire. The first to be published of these, an account of a Roman mosaic pavement unearthed in 1712 at Stunsfield, Oxfordshire, takes issue with the historical and artistic interpretations of the same pavement just previously offered by Thomas Hearne in a supplement to his edition of the writings of John Leland, and posterity has judged Pointer to have been correct in identifying the principal figure represented on the pavement as Bacchus rather than Apollo, the deity suggested by Hearne. Pointer’s Britannia Romana, published in 1724, is an early attempt to use the evidence of coins, earthworks and roads to elucidate the history of Britain under Roman occupation, and remains of value for its lists of parcels of coins from Roman coin hoards found in Britain, as well as for remarks by Pointer based on personal observation of surviving traces of Roman roads in the vicinity of Oxford. The remaining work, an agreeably written essay on the weather, shows Pointer’s familiarity with references to the weather in classical authors such as Virgil and Pliny, and also his knowledge of more recent weather-related essays printed in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions. Volumes such as the present one show how it was still possible for an educated clergyman in the early eighteenth century to write intelligently on a range of wide range of scholarly topics, both antiquarian and scientific.