"The Best and Most Luxurious" Four-Language Edition of Catherine the Great's Nakaz Catherine II, [1762-1796], Empress of Russia. Kozitzki, Grigorii Vasil'yevich, [d. 1775], Latin translation. Nakaz Eia Imperatorskago Velichestva Ekateriny Vtoryia, Samoderzhitsy Vserossiiskiia Dannyi Kommissii o Sochinenii Proekta Novago Ulozheniia... [Instructions of Her Imperial Majesty Catherine II to the Commission on the Work of the Projected New Code of Laws]. St. Petersburg: Imperatorskaya Akademii Nauk, 1770. [viii], 403 pp. Four title pages, one in each language. Printed in double columns, Russian and Latin on one page and German and French on the opposite page. Allegorical engravings by C. M. Roth at head and tail pieces. Latin translation by Grigorii Vasil'yevich Kozitzki. Quarto (9-1/2" x 8"). Contemporary calf, raised bands, lettering piece and black-stamped ornaments to spine, edges rouged, patterned endleaves Light rubbing, faint stains, scratches and ink marks to boards, which are slightly bowed, moderate rubbing to extremities, corners bumped and worn. Large copperplate vignettes at beginning and end of text. Light toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, faint dampstaining to margins in a few places, internally clean. A nice copy. $4,500. * Only four-language edition, the fourth, and best, edition overall. Described by Count M.A. Korf, then director of the Imperial Library, as "The Best and Most Luxurious Edition." The Nakaz, or Instruction, is a statement of legal principles written by Catherine II between 1764 and 1766. It was among her most ambitious and significant undertakings. Infused with the ideas of the French Enlightenment, and copied mostly from the work of Voltaire, Montesquieu and Beccaria, it was compiled as a guide for the All-Russia Legislative Commission convened by the Empress in 1767 to create a new code to replace the 1649 Muscovite Code. Revised in consultation with Frederick the Great and Voltaire, the Instruction proclaimed the equality of all men before the law and denounced torture and the death penalty. Unfortunately, her proposed code was never completed. Catherine's manuscript was written in French, and she later produced a Russian translation. Editions in German and Russian were published in Moscow in 1767. The book was initially banned in.
Book number 64824