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To the Right Honourable DANIEL, Earl of Not
tingham, President of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council.
IT being by your recommendation to your noble father, that I was by him made prebendary of the
cathedral church of Norwich, while he was Lord Chan
cellor of England, and it being also by your Lordship’s like favourable recommendation of me to her late
majesty Queen Anne, that I was promoted to be Dean of the same church, I humbly offer unto your Lordship this product of my studies, in a grateful acknowledgment of the favours I have received from you. And, if the public receive any benefit from it (as I hope some may,) nothing is more just and reasonable, than that they should receive it through your Lord
ship’s hands, who, in having been so much a patron to
the Author, have acquired thereby the best title to all
the fruits of my labours. What I now offer unto your Lordship is only the first part of what is intend
ed. If God gives life, the second shall follow, and beg its passage into the world under the same patronage. The only additional favour I am now capable of receiving, is your Lordship's kind acceptance of this expression of my gratitude; which I humbly pray from your hands; and I am,
Your most obedient, and
Most obliged humble Servant,
AUTHOR'S LIFE. .
DR. HUMPHREY PRIDEAUX was born at Padstow, in the county of Cornwall, on the 3d of May, A. D. 1648, being the third son of Edmund Prideaux, Esq. by Bridgett his wife, who was the daughter of John Moyle of Bake, Esq. in the same county. He was by both his parents descended from ancient and honourable families, well known in that county. The doctor being a younger brother, and designed by his parents for the church, as soon as he was of fit age he was sent abroad to school, first to Liskard, in Cornwall, then to Bodmin, in the same county, and from thence removed to Westminster, under the famous Dr. Busby, where he was soon chosen king's scholar; and after having been in that college three years, was from thence elected to Christ-church, Oxford, and admitted into a student's place in the year 1668, by Dr. John Fell, dean of that college ; and in Trinity Term, A. D. 1672, he commenced bachelor of arts.
As soon as he had taken that degree, he was employed by Dr. Fell, who had at that time the management of the public printing-press in that university, in an edition of Lucius Florus, and directed to add notes thereto, which he did accordingly. These notes contain only references to other authors, shewing where other ancient historians have treated more at large of matters, which Florus has only related in epitome.
After this, there was put into his hands, out of the Bodleian library, a manuscript copy of Johannes Antiochenus Malela, a Greek historian, in order to have it fitted for the press by his care: but he, on perusing it, thought it a very fabulous and trifling book, not worth the printing; and upon his giving this judgment of it, the design was quite laid aside. This book, however, has been since published, by the learned Dr. Hody, professor of Greek in the same university.
About this time, the doctor had the misfortune to lose his brother Nicholas, for whom he had conceived
a particular affection, on account of his promising parts, and the great progress he had made in literature. He died of the small-pox, in the eighteenth year of his age, at Corpus Christi college, Oxon. where he had been a scholar three years; and lies buried in the cloister near the chapel, with a mural monument erected to his memory, which is still to be seen there.
It was about this time that the lord Henry Howard, then earl of Norwich, and afterwards duke of Norfolk, made a present to the university of Oxford, of those marbles, which are called the Arundel marbles, being the collection of his grandfather Thomas, earl of Arundell: and these being set up in the court before the theatre, as there were several very curious and valuable inscriptions upon them, it was thought proper, that they should be published with a comment to explain them; and Mr. Humphrey Prideaux, at that time the only bachelor of arts, was appointed to this work. Accordingly he undertook it, and two years afterwards, in May, 1676, published his book, entitled Marmora Oxoniensia, in one volume in folio, printed at the university press, and dedicated to the said earl of Norwich. In this work he has given us all the aforesaid inscriptions at large, with a comment after each, tending to illustrate and explain them, and has added by way of appendix, an account of some marbles collected by Mr. Selden, and Sertorius Ursatus' Commentarius de notis Romanorum. This book being published when he was but twenty-six years of
age, a year after he had taken his master of arts degree, gained him great reputation in the university, and was well received in the world, especially among foreigners in Germany, France, and Italy; and the demand for it among the learned was such, that it grew very scarce within a few years after it had been printed, and was not to be had, but at an advanced price. The learned Huetius in his Demonstratio Evangelica, prop. 4. cap. 2. § 14, says of it, “ Plurima hujusmodi suppeditat Liber Inscriptionum Gruteri: at nihil in hoc genere marmora Oxoniensia æquiparate queat, quibus Insigniores Priscorum Græcorum Epochæ, Fædus Smyrnæorum et Magnentium, aliaque egregia vetus