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Les Vies des Hommes illustres,

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The most beautiful and renowned edition
of Plutarch’s La Vie des hommes illustres,
translated by Jacques Amyot,
dedicated to king Henri II, printed in Paris in 1567.

A precious and extremely rare copy
preserved in its old morocco binding
with arms and cipher L(ouis) B(izeau).
(O. Hermal, plche. 486)


Plutarque. Les Vies des Hommes illustres, Grecs et Romains, comparées l’une avec l’autre par Plutarque, Translatées premièrement de Grec en François par Maitre Jaques Amyot…
Paris, Vascosan Imprimeur du Roy, m.d.lxvii (1567). Avec privilège.

6 volumes 8vo [162 x 107 mm]. Red morocco, double frame of triple gilt fillets à la Duseuil on the covers, cipher (L)ouis (B)izeau in the corners, arms in gilt in the center, ribbed spine very richly decorated and bearing five times the cipher LB, gilt fillet on leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, marbled edges. 17th century armorial binding.

The most beautiful and renowned edition of Plutarch’s La Vie des hommes illustres, translated by Jacques Amyot, dedicated to king Henri II.

Brunet, IV, 738 ; Adams, 1623-1643 ; Graesse, V, 367 ; Rahir, Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 587.

“A very beautiful edition of which the well-preserved copies are always sought-after by amateurs.” (Brunet)

“Part VI of the “Vies des hommes Illustres”, a part made up of 150 pp., includes the “Vies d’Annibal et de Scipion l’Africain”, translated by Ch. L’Écluse. The copies where this part is missing lose a lot of their value.” (Brunet). This 150-page part is here present.

Often bound with these six volumes are the “Œuvres morales et meslées de Plutarque, translatées de grec en françois par Jacques Amyot… reveues et corrigées en ceste seconde édition en plusieurs passages par le traducteur. Paris, par Vascosan, 7 vol. pet. in-8” printed 7 years later, in 1574.

Amyot translated into French all of Plutarch’s work but the most esteemed part of this vast endeavor is the collection of the “Vies des Hommes illustres”, of which was said, rightly so, that he had made a French book out of it, which one always reads with pleasure, despite the profound modifications endured by the language. Amyot was in effect one of the creators of this beautiful 16th century language, original and naïve, abundant, colorful, natural, picturesque and harmonious, and his translation, despite some infidelities, has not been abandoned since and has remained one of the most beautiful monuments of our old literature.

Amyot has transformed Plutarch into a French book, written in a flowing, harmonious and naïve style, a superb model of 16th century French.” (Hector de Backer)

A unique contribution to French Literature, this work established Amyot as a scholar and stylist with Rabelais and Montaigne.” (Mortimer, p.548)

A superb copy, covered in an elegant old red morocco, from the library of Louis Bizeau, advisor to the Parlement de Paris, with his arms in the center of the covers and his cipher LB in the corners and spines of the volumes.

Louis Bizeau lived at the beginning of the 17th century, if one considers the style of the tools and the date of the bindings and books on which they were stamped; he must have owned an important collection… Unfortunately, despite our research, we have been unable to collect any information.” (O. Hermal, plche. 486)


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