Firenze: Per Leonardo Ciardetti, a spese del Gabinetta Letterario, 1817. 12mo. 108 pp., engraved frontispiece. Contemporary binding, probably English: green calf sides with diapered panels framed by gilt filets and corner-pieces around elaborate blind centerpieces of massed scroll, leaf, and flower tools; spine panels and bands tooled in gilt and blind, dark red morocco title label; green marbled endpapers and edges; owner's name (Frances FitzHerbert) in ink on verso of front free endpaper. A very good copy in a handsome binding (lightly rubbed). Item #48314
First thus, one of a succession of editions following the first in 1713. Maffei, an archaeologist as well as man of letters, encouraged and contributed to Italian drama, literature, and history, sufficient to fill 28 volumes of collected works. This play's plot is based on Euripides' lost tragedy Cresphontes, and centers upon Messenian Queen Merope's subjugation by her murdered husband's usurping successor and the return of her exiled son, who prevails against the tyrant and claims his rightful throne. Maffei's play was one of two versions to inspire dozens of 18th and 19th century operas.