Poetae Latini Minores

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Poetae Latini Minores: ex Editione Petri Burmanni Fideliter Expressi

Title page from Poetae Latini Minores: ex Editione Petri Burmanni Fideliter Expressi, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

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Published Glasguae: In aedibus Academicis : Excudebant Robertus et Andreas Foulis
Date 1752
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language Latin
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages [4], 151, [1]
Desc. 8vo (15 cm.)
Location [[Shelf {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

This work is a collection of significant works by minor Latin poets. The first poet featured is Gratius (Grattius) whose poem Cynegeticon describes a hunt or “The Chase,” as well as the proper offerings and prayers which must be given to the gods to achieve success.[1] Second, is the poet M. Aurelius Olympius Nemesianus whose first work presented is the remaining fragments of his own Cynegeticon. This is then followed by fragments of his Bucolicon, a common pastoral theme for Roman poets. The third poet is T. Calpurnius Siculus who writes his own Bucolicon. Then comes Rutilius Claudius Namatianus who “was a wealthy and distinguished Gaul” residing in Rome in the fifth century CE.[2] Two of his books of poetry are extant, with over seven hundred lines in the elegiac meter.[3] Included in this work is Namatianus’ Iter, which follows the bucolic theme of the other works included in this collection. At this point in this collection of Latin poetry, the theme changes to medicine. The two Latin poets, Q. Serenus Samonicus and Marcellus, each have a set of poems entitled De Medicina, which are included. In a somewhat similar scientific theme, Q. Rhemnius Fannius’ poems have the overall title of Palaemonis de Ponderibus et Mensuris (“Palaemon of weights and measures"). The final Latin poet included is Sulpicia whose short Satyra (“Satire”) ends the poetic compilation.

This work is a collection of poems by minor Latin poets published in Latin by two well-known and regarded Scottish publishers. Robert and Andrew Foulis (ne Faulls) were brothers who opened their own publishing company and printing press in 18th century Glasgow.[4] Robert was a barber before enrolling in University of Glasgow courses, while Andrew “received a more regular education…[as] a student of Humanity” who taught Greek, Latin and French for a time after he graduated.[5] The brothers began as booksellers and then transitioned to publishing and printing books, with Robert initiating each endeavor before later being joined by Andrew.[6] In 1740-42, Robert had other printers print what he chose to publish, but began printing his own books in 1742 which continued until his and his brother’s deaths in 1775 and 1776, respectively, when Andrew’s son Andrew took over The Foulis Press.[7] The Foulis Press primarily produced text books and other “works of learning…and of general literature,” as it was the printer to the University of Glasgow.[8] The press is unique for the plethora of variant issues and editions of published books on special paper, in special font, or even on copper plates.[9]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Poetae minores. 12mo Foul. and given by Thomas Jefferson to his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The Foulis Press published an octavo edition of the minor Latin poets in 1752. It is the only edition they published.[10] Both George Wythe's Library[11] on LibraryThing and the Brown Bibliography[12] list this edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary full calf. Spine elaborately decorated with gilt flowers and red morocco label with gilt lettering. Boards feature triple fillets, edges gilt.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

External Links

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  1. “Grattius: Cynegeticon.” by Bill Thayer at the University of Chicago.
  2. Gilber Norwood, “Rutilius Claudius Namatianus.” Phoenix 1, supplement to vol. 1 (Spring 1947): 37.
  3. Ibid.
  4. David Murray, Robert & Andrew Foulis and the Glasgow Press with some account of The Glasgow Academy of the Fine Arts (Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons, Publishers to the University), 8.
  5. Ibid 3.
  6. Ibid 6-10.
  7. Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 190.
  8. Ibid 17-18.
  9. Ibid 18-19.
  10. Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 174.
  11. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on November 13, 2013, http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe
  12. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433