MARTIAL [Marcus Valerius MARTIALIS]. Epigrammaton libri, animadversi, emendati, et commentariolus luculenter explicati. Sedan: Jean Jannon, 1624.
8vo. 17th-century calf with raised bands, spine lettered and ornamented in gilt, covers with gilt-ruled double-fillets; pp. [viii], 342, woodcut printer's device to title, a few woodcut head-pices and initials; binding worn, but stable, a few faint marginal waterstains, otherwise a very good and still crisp copy; early 18th-century French ownership inscriptions and one armorial seal to title.
First Jannon edition.
Printed in the independent (up to 1651) Protestant Principality of Sedan in the Ardennes, close to the modern French border with Belgium, this collection of verses by the greatest Latin epigrammatist is a sensational achievement of French typography and Protestant book production. In 1610 the Parisian master printer Robert III Estienne recommended the printer, librarian and typecutter Jean Jannon to the Prince of Sedan as a talented and Protestant man of the book. Sedan developed into an academy of Protestant erudition with an impressive collection of printed books, manustcripts and works of art. Jannon began to print academic theses, classics and religious works, whilst designing and cutting types in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Syriac. The type used here, la petite sedanoise, as it became known later, after it had been pirated by a Parisian typecutter, was the smallest type created since the invention of printing. It measures a mere 4.9 points. Jannon reserved this particular type solely for his own use and did not sell it to other printers as he did with other types of his design. The French government seized Jannon's printshop in 1641 and the Imprimérie Royale used this particularly small type, which was later mis-attributed to Garamond.