ARISTOPHANES (c.450 - c.385 B.C.). Comoediae novem, in Greek. With the Scholia. Edited by Marcus Musurus (c. 1470-1517). Venice: Aldus Manutius, 15 July 1498.
Super-chancery 2° (312 x 200mm). Collation: 8 (1r title in Greek and Latin with list of plays, 1v-8v preliminary texts including letters by Aldus and Musurus, and a life of the author); \ka\K-\kg\K8 \kd\K10 (Plutus, \kd\K10v blank); \ke\K-\kk\K8 (Nebulae, \kk\K7v-8 blank); \kl\K-\kx\K8 o10 (Ranae); \kp\K-\ku\K8 \kf\K6 (Equites); \kc\K-\kv\K \kA\K8 (Acharnes); \kB\K-\kE\K8 Z6 (Vespae, Z6v blank); H-\kL\K8 \kM\K4 (Aves); \kN\K-\kO\K8 \kP\K10 (Pax); \kR\K-\kS\K8 \kT\K6 (Contionantes, \kT\K4v-5r sheet register, \kT\K5v quire register, colophon, T6 blank). 347 (of 348) leaves (without final blank). Mostly 41-42 lines of commentary surrounding varying numbers of lines of text. Types: 1:146Gk (text), 7:114Gk (commentary), 2:114R (title, dedication, etc.). Woodcut floral and interlaced headpieces and initials, 3-line initial spaces with guide-letters. Bearer type on \Kc\k1. Crimson morocco gilt by Courteval, Paris, 1810, covers with roll-tool border within double fillets and central lozenge imposed on a lobed rectangle, the lozenge tooled with two circular patterns of stars and fleur-de-lys in gilt and blind, outer areas of the rectangle with all-over tooling of leaves, stars and delicate pointillé work, spine in six compartments with raised bands, gilt-lettered in the second and dated at foot, the remaining compartments with repeat floral tooling within a mantle of pointillé tools, gilt inner dentelles, signed and dated on the front board, blue silk doublures, limp vellum inner wrappers, gilt edges (extremities lightly rubbed, some light scratch marks to lower cover).
EDITIO PRINCEPS OF NINE OF ARISTOPHANES' ELEVEN EXTANT COMEDIES, SUPERBLY BOUND BY COURTEVAL. Aldus had intended to include a tenth play, Lysistrata, but was unable to find a manuscript containing the complete text. In his dedicatory letter to Daniele Clario, professor of Greek and Latin at Ragusia, Dalmatia, he stresses the importance of Greek philosophy, medical writing and mathematics, and the impossibility of relying on corrupt Latin texts of Aristotle, Galen and Euclid. Now is also the time to turn to fine Greek literature, and Aristophanes is sent to Clario as the best guide to learning pure Attic. Aldus reminds him that Theodore Gaza, on being asked which Greek authors it would be most profitable for learners to read, answered: 'only Aristophanes'. Courteval lives up to his reputation as 'one of the greatest binders of his day' (Ramsden) in the finely-conceived pointillé binding on this copy, signed and dated 1810. HC *1656; BMC V, 559 (IB. 24467-70); GW 2333; IGI 790; Flodr 18:1 (Aristophanes); Renouard Alde 16:3; Essling 1163; Goff A-958.