DIDYMUS of Alexendria (attributed to). [Homeric Scholia on the Iliad:] Homeri interpres pervetustus, in Greek. Edited by Janus Lascaris (1445-1535). Rome: [Vittore Carmelio and/or Zacharias Callierges] at the press of the Greek Gymnasium ('caballini montis gymnasium'), [not before 7 September 1517].
2° (266 x 196mm). Collation: \Ka-x\k8 \Kh\k10 \Kq-u\k8 \Kf\k10 (\Ka\k1r To the reader in Latin, \Ka\k1v verses by Lascaris on Homer, \Ka\k2r Greek text, \Kf\k10r Latin address to Pope Leo X dated 7 Sept. 1517, colophon and register in Greek). 172 leaves. 34 lines. Type: Alopa Greek 5c:111 with large and small capitals, Roman type 81. 3 initial spaces, 2 with guide-letter. Red straight-grained morocco tooled in gilt and blind, panelled sides with border of intertwining foliate rolls, spine in compartments with criblé ground, gilt turn-ins, pale blue watered silk endpapers, gilt edges, blue silk ribbon marker, by François Bozerian (Bozerian jeune), his stamp at foot of spine. Provenance: [Paris,] Seminaire des Missions Etrangères (title stamps).
EDITIO PRINCEPS, and the first book printed at the press of the Greek Gymnasium at Rome. Pope Leo X (Giovanni de' Medici) called Janus Lascaris to Rome to found a Greek College in 1513, and three years later it began to issue Greek texts, principally edited by Lascaris. The printer was once thought to be Angelo Colocci, a rich Roman proponent of Greek learning in whose house the press almost certainly operated, but it was most likely Vittore Carmelio (Hobson), foreman to Callierges, first printer of Greek at Rome, or Callierges himself (Layton). The types were designed by Lascaris (cut possibly by Callierges), and first used in 1494-96 by Lorenzo di Alopa at Florence to print books Lascaris edited. Cf. A. Hobson 'The Printer of the Greek Editions "In gymnasio Mediceo ad Caballinum montem"', Studi di biblioteconomia e storia del libro in onore di Francesco Barberi, Rome: 1976: 331-335; E. Layton, The 16th-century Greek Book in Italy, pp.323-329; D.E. Rhodes, 'The Printing of a Group of Greek Books in Rome', Studies in Early Italian Printing, London: 1982, pp.111-113; Barker, Greek Script, pp.74-75.
This first edition of the Homeric scholia on the Iliad has no author attribution, although it is sometimes given erroneously to Didymus (c.65 B.C.-10 A.D.). It was a standard text in the study of Homer, and clearly a required text for the students at the Greek Gymnasium. Adams D-440; Hoffmann I, p.547 'sehr selten'.