Paris: Jocodus Badius Ascensius, 1508. First Editions. Small quarto (186 x 135 mm) in 18th century calf with gilt to spine. Rebacked and preserving old spine. Monmouth complete excepting for the final blank, N6. Large woodcut printer's device on the title of a printing press, and large woodcut coat of arms on AA8. A5 and A6 bound out of order.
Bound with Major, Joannes. Historia maioris Britanniae... Paris: Jocodus Badius Ascensius, 1521. Major collates complete with large woodcut printer's device on title, and armorial woodcut on title verso. Overall excellent copies of two of the most important sourcebooks in English mythology, which respectively introduced King Arthur and Robin Hood to the public. Housed in a custom leather clamshell.
Printed centuries after Monmouth's death, Britanniae transformed a scribal manuscript into a publicly accessible and highly popular history. Credited with laying the foundation for the legends of King Arthur and his Round Table, the book also recorded the tales of monarchs such as King Lear. A favorite text among the Latin grammar schoolboys of Shakespeare's day, Monmouth's history served as an inspiration and a source for some of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies. Bound with Major, which complements Monmouth's text insofar as it includes the first printed reference to Robin Hood and his merry band. Both works have influenced countless authors, songwriters, playswrights, and filmmakers.
Adams G444 and M228. (Item #2404)