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Queens' College : Scriptores Historiae Augustae

Erasmus, Desiderius, -1536

Queens' College

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This collection of biographies by classical authors on the emperors of Rome was edited by Erasmus and published in Cologne by Gottfried Hittorp, having first been published in Basel by Erasmus’ friend and associate Johann Froben in 1518. The Queens’ copy is of particular interest on account of the numerous annotations made in it by its former owner, Queens’ scholar, humanist and Tudor politician, Sir Thomas Smith (1513-77). Throughout, we see key words hand-written in the margins as well as drawings and imagined portraits of characters mentioned in the text (see, for example, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(173);return false;'>p. 123</a>, Nile delta <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(337);return false;'>p. 287</a>). Alongside the numerous depictions of male figures there are, however, only three of women. Each are wives of great men and two of them (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(218);return false;'>168</a>, <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(247);return false;'>197</a>) are labelled by Smith as adulterers. This is one of several volumes in the Smith collection bound by the famous Cambridge binder Garrett Godfrey (d. 1539). </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>This copy was one of the highlights in the library’s exhibition, <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>‘Books and Power: The Renaissance Library of Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577)’</a> (Sept-Dec 2017).</p>

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