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L'Antiquité Expliquée, Et Représentée En Figures. Tome Premier ... Premiere Partie ... (- Tome Cinquieme ... Seconde Partie ...) Par Dom Bernard de Montfaucon Religieux Bénédictin de la Congrégation de S. Maur.

Bernard de Montfaucon

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Antiquitas Explanatione Et Schematibus Illustrata


A Paris,: Chez Florentin Delaulne, Hilaire Foucault, Michel Clousier, Jean-Geoffroy Nyon, Etienne Ganeau, Nicolas Gosselin, Et Pierre-François Giffart., M.DCCXIX.

Physical Description

10 vols.; 440 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Vol. 1: [vi], civ, 194 p., frontis. (port.), 122 (6 dble.), [3] (1 dble) pl. The three unnumbered plates appear after p.24, after pl. 72 and after pl.122. - Vol.2: [iv], 195-452 p., 123- 224 (6 dble.), [1] (dble.) pl. There is a bis plate 145; plates 150 and 151 have been transposed; plate 223 is misnumbered 123. - Vol.3: [ii], 267, [1] p., 104 pl. (15 dble.). Plates are misnumbered: 55 as 54, 84 as 134, 86 as 136, 89 as 90. - Vol.4: [iv], 269-472 p., 105-194 (5 dble.), [1] pl. Plate 176 is misnumbered as 166 and inserted before pl. 175. - Vol. 5: [ii], 198 p., 121 (12 dble.) pl. There is a bis pl. 26, and a bis pl. 97 (dble.). - Vol. 6:[ii], [199]-390 p., 122-197 (16 dble.) pl. - Vol. 7: [ii], 174 p., 113 (35 dble) pl. There is a bis pl.7; three plates are inserted after pl. 108 (2 dble.). Plate 78 is inserted after plate 80. Plate 96 is misnumbered 94. - Vol. 8: [ii], [175]-316 p., 114-145 (9 dble.), [2] (1 dble) pl. - Vol. 9: [ii], 170 p., 131 (10 dble.) pl. - Vol. 10: [ii], [171]-437, [] p., 132-204 (2 dble.) pl.


Each Tome is printed in two volumes - all containing Title-page, Half-title, Text with plates; the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth containing also the index to the Tome (but the index in volume 10 is the index to the whole work). The first volume has additional matter: [Title-page; portrait; Dedication] - Avertissement - Preface - Table Des Chapitres de Tout L'Ouvrage [Tomes 1-5] - Fautes A Corriger - Approbation; Privilege - Discours Preliminaire - [Text & plates].

Responsibility Note

The portrait of the Comte d'Estrées in Volume I is signed as painted by N. Largilliere and engraved by J. Audran. None of the plates is signed.

The printer is named in a colophon at the end of volume 10: 'De l'Imprimerie de Florentin Delaulne, Libraire-Imprimeur. M.DCCXIX'.

The work is dedicated by Montfaucon to Victor-Marie, Comte (afterwards Duc) d'Estrées.


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, I (1993), no. 120, p.356-60.

The context of Montfaucon's work is explored in C. Grell, Le dix-huitième siècle et l'antiquité en France 1680-1789 (1995). For studies of the iconography of classical mythology see the bibliographic note on V. Cartari, Les Images des dieux (1581).

Summary Note

In this innovative contribution to archaeology the textual critic Montfaucon presents the social history of the ancient world from visible remains rather than from literary sources. He reproduces ancient monuments (sometimes drawing on earlier publications), illustrating ancient gods and heroes (vol. 1), religious cults (v.2), social life (v.3), military institutions and transport (v.4), and funeral rites (v.5), with explanatory text in French and Latin. Each plate has a brief caption and indication of the source of the image.

Such was the interest in the work that the whole ten-volume edition, of 1800 copies, was exhausted in two months. In 1722-1724 a second edition was published; and in 1724 a five-volume Supplément. An English translation by D. Humphreys, Antiquity explained, and represented, was soon published (London: J. Tonson & J. Watts, 1721-1722, 5 vols., with supplement, 5 vols. in 2, 1725).


Acquired by 1802. Recorded in Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Copy Note

Imperfect; lacks plates 16 and 81 of vol. 3 (Tom. II: 1); 116, 189 of vol. 4 (Tom. II:2); 36, 43, 45, 47, 60 of vol. 7 (Tome IV:1); 144 of vol. 8 (Tom. IV:2); 90 of vol. 9 (Tom.V:1).

Binding Note

18th-century sprinkled calf; gilt-decorated spine, black morocco spine-labels lettered 'Montfaucon. L'Antiquité Expliquée Tom. 1. P. 1. (-Tom. 5. P.2.)'.


Antiquities - Antiquities, Greek - Antiquities, Roman - Mythology, Greek - Mythology, Roman - Civilization - Social life and customs - Greeks - Romans - Greece - Rome - History - Iconography
Treatises - Instructional materials - Reference works - France - 18th century
Pictorial works - France - 18th century