Marci Hieronymi Vidae Cremonensis, Albae Episcopi, Opera

Author: Vida, Marco Girolamo (c1490-1566)

Publisher: Antonium Gryphius

Location: Lugduni (Lyon)

Year: 1566



573 pages. Sixteenmo (5" x 3 1/4") bound in original vellum. Rare small-format edition. The present edition contains: Christiados, De arte poetica de Bombyce, de ludo Scacchorum (pages 520-542) and Hymni , Bucolics and Epistola ad IM Gybertum. (Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana: 4563) First published in 1527.

Marco Girolamo Vida was an Italian Humanist. He came to Rome under Julius II; as a priest and canon regular, he presented, in the rather lax Court, the greatest example of severity of morals. The Humanists were called upon to produce a great Christian epic. Vida undertook it, and in order that he might work at it Leo X gave him the priory of St. Sylvester at Frascati. The work, the Christias, was not finished until after the death of Leo X. The subject goes beyond the life of Christ and is in reality the establishment of Christianity, for Vida accords much space at the end of his poem to the spread of the Gospel. There is no mythological element in the six cantos; hence the unity of tone is more perfect than in Sannazaro's De partu Virginis. Vida was also the author of short poems, such as De Bombyce, De ludo scaccorum (on chess), and of a second serious and extensive work, De arte poetica, written before 1520 (published in 1527). This didactic poem is interesting as an expression of the ideas of Humanism concerning poetry and because of its great influence. Vida dealt only with the ancients and their imitators, wholly neglecting writers in the vernacular. The general conception of his Ars poetica is inspired by Qunitillian. The writer takes the future poet almost at the cradle, and describes the education and care which he should receive. He instructs him in invention, composition, and especially style, emphasizing particularly the harmony of the verse and defining imitative harmony, examples of which, taken from Virgil, have passed into classical teaching. While Boileau exaggerates the difficulties of poetry and multiplies the duties of the poet, Vida undertakes to cultivate a taste for poetry and to remove the obstacles from the poet's path. In consequence of his plan Vida treats only of poetry in general. To him the model and prince of poets was Virgil, while he depreciates Homer, criticizing his prolixity, repetition, and low style. He was the source of arguments later made use of in France by the partisans of the moderns; Vida was the first to assert that the word "ass" used by Homer did not belong to the noble style. He carried prejudice so far as to congratulate the Latin language for being ignorant of compound words so frequent in Greek. Vida's own style is elegant, clear, harmonious, and ordinarily simple. He was warm in admiration, especially in his eulogies of Virgil, but he is verbose, and if by chance he imitates Horace he dilutes him. The poem is now of interest only as a manifestation of Classicism in modern literature.

Vida's poem Scacchia Ludus [Chess Game], contained herein (pages 520-542), first published in 1527 is among the earliest and most influential works related to the game of chess. This compelling didactic poem centers on a game played between Apollo and Mercury on Mount Olympus. Because of its high artistry, it is said the poem made a tremendous impression on anyone who read it including the renowned Dutch humanist of the Renaissance, Desiderius Erasmus. Scacchia Ludus [aka Scaccia Ludus] did much to spread the game's popularity, and in the process directly inspired many other popular works on the game including Jan Kochanowski's poem Chess (c 1565), in which the game is described as a battle between two armies; and William Jones' Caissa, or the game of chess (1772), a poem which popularized the pseudo-ancient Greek dryad Ca´ssa as the "goddess of chess". Another lasting effect Vida's poem had on the game of chess was the introduction of a tower as the Rook. Originally, the queen had a somewhat limited role in chess. At the end of the fifteenth century however, the rules changed, and the queen was granted the power of unlimited moves in all directions that had previously belonged to the bishop. (The king only retained his power to move one square at a time.) In an influential and wildly popular Virgilian-style epic, the Scacchia ludus, Vida celebrates the transformation of the game and the power of the queen. He refers to his martial queens both as 'virgo' and 'Amazon', invoking a tradition that views chess as a battle of the Amazons. The language of this influential poem is thus suggestive not just in comprehending the significance of the sisters playing chess, but in understanding the symbolism of the pieces themselves


Ties lacking, edge wear with back upper edge chipped, rubbed, previous owner's name in neat old pen to title, raised bands to spine with a crack at the middle band else about very good.