Nonnus Panapolitanus / Gregory of Nazianzus
Μεταβολὴ τοῦ κατὰ Ἰωάννην ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου — Paris 15412.200 €
Νόννου Ποιητοῦ Πανοπολίτου Μεταβολὴ τοῦ κατὰ Ἰωάννην ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου. [Gregory of N.:] Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι. Τὰ Χριστοῦ θαύματα. Παραβολαὶ δι΄ ἰάμβων. [Colophon:] ἔν τῇ τῶν παρισίων. μεταγειτνιῶνος μηνός, ἔτι [sic] πρώτῳ καὶ τεσσαροκοστῷ ἐπὶ τοῖς χιλίοις καὶ πεντακοσίοις.
Paris, Émonde Toussain, July 1541
8vo (155 x 101) mm. α-ι8 κ4: 63 ( = 76) leaves. Modern vellum.
The editor of the Nonnus is Scipione Forteguerri. As Σκιπιῶν καρτερομάχος he has added three distichs at the end of the Nonnus. Renouard suggests Jacques Toussain as editor of the Gregory.
Provenance: Deleted contemporary ownership entry on title; contemporary notes in Latin, interlinear and marginal, on leaves 1-11 and 60b.
Ex-libris of Henri Focillon (1881-1943), the French art historian, taught at Yale University. And of Jurgis Baltrosaitis (1903-1988), the Lithuanian art historian.
Renouard, Imprimeurs … V, no. 109; Adams B-1898; ustc 116747. Rare like all Greek books printed by Neobar, his widow Émonde Toussain and her second husband Jacques Bogard.
¶ Nonnus of Panopolis was the most notable Greek epic poet of the Imperial Roman era. He was a native of Panopolis (Akhmim) in the Egyptian Thebaid and probably lived in the 5th century CE. He is known as the composer of the Dionysiaca, an epic tale of the god Dionysus, and of the Metabole, a paraphrase of the Gospel of John. There is almost no evidence for the life of Nonnus. (Wikipedia)
On verso of title the editor placed a distich on Nonnus of an unknown author (Greek Anthology, Estienne 1566 p. 96; recent editions: IX, 198; transl. from Loeb/Tusculum):
Ἄδηλον [εἰς Νόννον τὸν ποιητήν]
Νόννος ἐγὼ· Πανὸς μὲν ἐμὴ πόλις· ἐν Φαρίῃ δὲ
ἔγχεϊ φοινήεντε γονὰς ἤμησα γιγάντων.
I am Nonnos. My native city was Panopolis; but in Alexandria I mote down by my vocal sword the children of the giants.
Nonnos bin ich, geboren in Pans Stadt; in Pharia hab ich mit dem Schwerte des Wortes die Brut der Giganten erschlagen.
„The epigram, written in perfect Nonnian style, is apparently an ‚advertisement‘ once prefacing an edition of N.’s works … it refers to both the Dionysiaca and the Paraphrasis … γονὰς ἤμησα γιγάντων glances [here] at N.’s ‚victory‘ over the heretics often designated as Giants. The poet’s ‚vocal sword‘ recalls the scene of Jesus‘ arrest in which Christ dashes his enemies to the ground ‚without a sword … with man dattering voice‘ and ‚with the unarmed hurricane of his voice‘. (K. Spanoudakis, Nonnus … Oxford 2015, p. 1)
„The Paraphrasis and the Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis are two parts of a great cultural project which aims at recounting the history of the world. The plan is historically conscious and is conceived sub specie aeternitatis. The diverse subjects of the poems need not imply a diverse audience. Either poem within itself contains features and allusions to the ‚other‘ heritage. A ‚mixed‘ poetry is addressed to a ‚mixed‘ audience, in which religious conviction is less important than cultural identity. The Paraphrasis seals the conclusion of this deterministic evolution usually called ‚history‘ celebrating the inauguration of a new era and looking on to the end of time initiated by the Second Coming. Conversely, the story of a son of Zeus, as yet an imperfect god, who only after his ordained accomplishment on earth is translated to the skies and symbols which were to play a major role in future events were first conceived. The arrival of Christ verified the truth and validity of these old symbols for those able to recognize them.“ (Spanoudakis, p. 4)
“ … one of most powerful and puzzling poems from late antique Egypt.“ (Enrico Livrea, who initiated a series of new editions and commentaries of the poem in 1988; 14 (!) volumes by different scholars have been published so far.