Guillaume du Choul / Guillaume Rouille / Pierre Vase (Pierre Eskrich, Pierre Cruche) - Discours de la religion des anciens Romains, de la castrametation et discipline militaire. Bains. - 1581
One of the most beautiful works published by the printer from Lyon, Guillaume Rouillé, devoted to ancient civilization and especially Roman civilization, concerning respectively the Roman religion, castrametation, i.e., the art of choosing and arranging the location of a camp or a stronghold, and baths.
Rare second collective edition after the first of 1567 with the same place of publication. The three works printed by the humanist and antiquarian from Lyon, Guillaume du Choul (1496-1560) are gathered together.
Abundantly illustrated with gorgeous vignettes and plates engraved on wood by Pierre Eskirsch, still known as Pierre Vase or Cruche, who was one of Guillaume Rouillé’s favourite artists and the author of incomparable engraved series.
Includes 1. Discours de la Religion des Anciens Romains, armes de Du Choul, 42 half-page figures, and 5 in full page, and with 554 medals (published in 1556) .2. Discours sur la Castrametation et discipline militaire des Romains, 37 figures in full page including the Légionnaire Romain Légionnaire antique - Soudars - Cheval harnaché - Hommes d'armes du temps - Chevaux légers- Archers à cheval - Enseigne des chevaux etc. (published in 1555) 3. Des Bains et Antiques exercitations grecques et romaines, 6 figures, 3 of which are in full page: Ordonnances de l'édifice - Bains voûtés des anciens romains - Combat des Cestes entre Dares.(published in 1555)
The book is dedicated to Claude d’Urfé in gratitude for the services rendered to the author and his family in Rome, allusion to Jean Du Choul’s stay in the suite for the ambassador of the King of France. This text served as an iconographic repertoire for several painters such as Nicolas Poussin.
The "Discours sur la castrametation" is essentially a commentary on the Roman army. It is thought that Du Choul was inspired for this engraved series by the drawings of Trajane Column that he had observed during his stay in Rome. The "Discours de la religion des anciens romains" is famous for the abundance of its illustration.
Author: Guillaume Du Choul; Guillaume Rouillé
Title: Discours de la religion des anciens Romains, de la castrametation et discipline militaire d'iceux. Des bains et antiques exercitations grecques et romaines, escript par noble S. Guillaume du Choul... Illustré de medailles et figures retirées des marbres antiques, qui se treuuent à Rome, et par nostre Gaule.
Publishing information: Lyon: A Lyon par Guillaume Roville, A l'escu de Venize, 1567. 2 books (parts) in 1 vol. quarto 23 x 17 cm; (339, [1 bl], , 154 pp [missing the table of part 2 with 5 ff or 9 pages.].
Posterior binding (late 17th or early 18th century) in full brown glazed calfskin, spine with raised bands adorned with a rich decoration of fleurons in the compartments and gilded stamping.
Sturdy and clean volume, first joint split over bout 10 cm, the leather is in good condition despite light signs of handling, bright gilding. Interior: nicely printed title adorned with the printer’s mark, handwritten ex-libris from 1692 at the head (unidentified) and a “De Lières” in the lower margin. Angular fragment missing on the first 7ll. In part 2, there is a hardly visible dampstain starting on page 31, more pronounced from page 63 onward, present until the last leaf, nothing serious (see photos). The rest is fresh and clean. The wood engravings look great.
Bibliography: Discretion is undoubtedly a quality of true scholars. We have little information about Guillaume du Choul. He came from a distinguished family in the Lyon region.
To write his book on the religion of the ancient Romans, Du Choul brought together abundant documentation accumulated in the “books” that he had prepared and to which he sometimes refers. The longest part of these works is entitled “Antiquitez de Rome” in twelve books, that he refers to about ten times, speaking as if he drew the best examples from this corpus for the Religion des Romains.
Following J. Baudrier, two very talented illustrators worked in the studio of G. Rouille, Pierre Eskreich dit Vase and Georges Reverdy. He would be the first to have drawn vignettes later printed in the studio of Philibert Rollet, to provide the remarkable illustrations that Du Choul used for documentation on the Roman religion.
See Félix Bourriot "Un ouvrage lyonnais de la Renaissance: Discours de la religion des anciens Romains par G. du Choul, Lyon, 1556".