Publisher Information: Paris: Ascensius, 1514.
Budé, Guillaume (1467-1540). (1) De asse et partibus eius libri quinque. , CLXXII ff. Woodcut title. Paris: Venundantur in edibus Ascensianis, 1514 [i.e., 1515]. Bound with: (2) Annotationes Guilielmi Budae parisiensis secretarii regii in quatuor et viginti pandectarum libros ad Ioannem Deganaium cancellarium Franciae. , CLXXIIII ff. Woodcut title and criblé initials. Lacking final signature x2 (colophon and final blank), as in several other recorded copies. Together 2 works in 1, folio. 315 x 205 mm. 16th-century blindstamped calf over wooden boards, rebacked, front endpaper renewed, corners repaired, remains of brass clasps, some wear and rubbing. Minor marginal worming to the volume’s first and last few leaves, faint dampstains on first leaves of the Annotationes, but very good. Early annotations in ink in the margins of both works.
First Edition of no. (1); second edition of no. (2). Budé, the foremost French humanistic scholar of his day, was influential in founding the library at Fontainebleau, which became the nucleus of the Bibliothèque Nationale, and in establishing what is now the Collège de France. He made his reputation with the publication of De asse, an erudite treatise on ancient coins and measures that remained an authority on the subject for many years. The work takes its name from the Roman as or pound, originally equal to a pound of copper or bronze.
"In De asse, Budé collected and analyzed all kinds of classical economic data, in order to restore the original and precise sense to the ancient coins and measures. He sought to establish their values in contemporary French money by comparing weights of precious metals with what they could buy in each period. In this way he established the prices, for example, of Alexander’s horse, Cicero’s head, the dowry of Scipio’s daughter, Solomon’s temple, the dinner Lucullus gave Pompey and Cicero, and, surprisingly, of as relevant an economic index as a loaf of bread! . . .
"Budé took considerable pains to make his study more than a literary exercise; he did some careful empirical research. In his enthusiasm for the classical era he had collected a number of ancient silver and gold coins, which he examined most carefully. He determined the average weight of the silver denarius, which was equal to sixteen asses. He then computed the as as equivalent to three quarters of a livre parisis. He did the same for the gold aureus of Caesar’s time; he weighed twenty-four specimens and concluded that its value was equivalent to 7.9 grams of gold, an error of slightly less than 1.3%! Budé was thus able to calculate the equivalence of a gold Roman libra and the ratio of the values of gold and silver (D. O. McNeil, Guillaume Budé and Humanism in the Reign of Francis I, pp. 26-28).
Although the colophon is dated 15 March 1514 (Old Style), De asse was actually published in 1515, after the death of Louis XII and the ascension of Francis I. Half of the work had been printed prior to Louis’s death, but Budé revised its text to take account of the regime change.
Also included in this volume is the second edition of Budé’s influential Annotationes in Pandectas (1st ed. 1508), containing annotations and commentary on the first 24 books of the “Pandects” or Digest of Justinian. The Annotationes, an attack on the narrow scholasticism of medieval jurisprudence, revolutionized legal and literary studies and “represents the beginning of legal humanism in France” (McNeil, p. 17). Adams B-3076 (Annotationes). See Printing and the Mind of Man 60 (Budé’s Commentarii linguae graecae ).Book Id: 44626