Dialoghi di D. Antonio Agostini Arcivescovo di Tarracona intorno alle medaglie inscrittioni et altre antichita. Tradotti di lingua Spagnuola in Italiana da Dionigi Ottaviano Sada e dal medesimo accresciuti con diverse annotationi, & illustrati con disegni di molte medaglie, e di altre figure.
Roma, Filippo de’ Rossi 1650.
Folio. Decorative woodcut title leaf, (18) + 318 + (38)pp, many woodcut text illustrations. Contemporary full vellum. From the library of Martin Bowes (1670-1726), with his ink ownership inscription and largest-size armorial bookplate. Some intermittent browning owing to quality of paper stock, but a good, fresh copy.
A handsome mid-seventeenth century edition of the Dialoghi of the eminent Spanish scholar Antonio Agustin (1517-1586), Archbishop of Tarragona. They were long the most readable introduction to the study of the coinage of classical antiquity, concentrating on the issues of the Roman imperial period but also discussing the coinage of the Roman Republic and the local coinages struck at that date in Spain. The book was originally published in Spanish in Tarragona in 1587, just after Agustin’s death, but it was soon translated into Italian, and the text of the present edition is based on that of an Italian translation first used for an edition published in Rome in 1592 (it also reuses the woodcut title leaf used for that edition). This edition, like all later editions of Agustin’s book, incorporates the glowing tribute to Agustin delivered at Agustin’s funeral by his friend and disciple the Flemish Jesuit André Schott, and it also includes an additional twelfth dialogue, set in Antwerp, in which the participants are, interestingly, Schott himself, the cartographer Abraham Ortelius and the humanist Laevinus Torrentius (Lieven van der Beke), Bishop of Antwerp from 1586 to 1595. The importance of Agustin’s book was that it was aimed not just at numismatists but at a wider audience of educated readers interested in the history and antiquities of the classical world, and as such it was a customary feature in the libraries of those who made the Grand Tour. Cicognara 2726.