London: William Stansby, 1619. First Edition. 1st edition in English of Edmund Bolton’s translation. Contemporary polished calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule large blind arabesque at centers, spine with three blind ruled raised bands, joints and spine tips worn, 17th century autograph ‘York’ on pastedown, imaginably, James, Duke of York, later James II, but no proof of that here, a very good copy. Roman letter, some Italic, text within box rule, engraved architectural title border signed "Sim Pass scu." (Simon van de Pass), small floriated woodcut initials, woodcut head pieces. On p. 503 Bolton signed the work (in type) with his initials "translated into English by E.M.B.", i.e. Edmund Maria Bolton, and he also signs the dedication with his pseudonym "Philanactophil." Collation: [xxiv], 503, . last blank. RBH list no copies at auction since 1965. Very good. Item #981
Florus’ history, known as the ‘Epitome of all the Wars during Seven Hundred Years’, is an abridgment of Roman history up to the age of Augustus with special reference to war. The style is rhetorical, and Florus is sometimes brief to the point of obscurity. His identity and names are not known for certain, though he is commonly called Lucius Annaeus. He lived in the 2nd century AD and is variously identified with the Florus who was poet-friend of the emperor Hadrian. This work is often described as an epitome of Livy, and no doubt owes much to that author, who is sometimes quoted verbatim, but Livy is by no means the only source, and Florus frequently makes statements at variance with Livy’s. The works of Sallust and Caesar were certainly employed, and there are reminiscences of Vergil and Lucan. It is probable that Florus imitated the division of the history of Rome into 4 ages, infancy, youth, manhood and old age, from Seneca. Florus is strikingly free of any political bias, except that in the Civil War he appears to side with Julius Caesar rather than with Pompeius.
Bolton was the friend of Cotton and Camden, whose antiquarian researches he shared, and as a writer of verses he was associated with Sidney, Spenser, Raleigh, and others in the publication of "England's Helicon” and also wrote commendatory verses to Camden’s Brittania and Ben Jonson’s Volpone. Many influential friends, including the Duke of Buckingham, tried to help him in his pecuniary difficulties, but there seems no doubt that his Catholicism (which would have endeared him to James) stood in the way of his making a living by literature. For instance, a life of King Henry II which he had prepared for an edition of Speed's “Chronicle” then in course of publication, was rejected on account of the too favourable aspect in which he had depicted St. Thomas of Canterbury. In 1617 Bolton proposed to the king a scheme for a royal academy or college of letters which was to be associated with the Order of the Garter, and which was destined to convert Windsor Castle into a sort of English Olympus. James I gave some encouragement to the scheme, but died before it was carried into execution. With the accession of Charles I, Bolton seems to have fallen on hard times. The last years of his life were mostly spent either in the Fleet or in the Marshalsea, as a prisoner for debt, to which no doubt the fines he incurred as a "recusant convict" largely contributed.