EPISTOLAE GRAECAE -- Epistolae diversorum philosophorum, in Greek. Edited by Marcus Musurus (c.1470-1517). Venice: Aldus Manutius,  March 1499; [not before 17 April 1499].
2 volumes, super-chancery 4° (204 x 152mm and 201 x 146mm). Collation: I: *6 \ka\K-\kV\K12 \kz\K8 \kh\K8 \kJ\K10 \ki\K-\kt\K8 \ktt\K6 \ku\K-\kw\K8 \kA\K-\kG\K8 \kD\K4; II: \ka\K-\ke\K8 \kz\K6 \kh\K6 \kJ\K-\kr\K8 \ks\K6. Contents as in GW. 266 and 138 leaves. 26 lines. Type: 2:114Gk (text), 2:114R (titles, preliminary matter, colophons). Initial spaces with guide-letters. Possibly a mixed set, uniformly bound; English gold-tooled purple straight-grained (diagonal) morocco with Aldine dolphin-and-anchor on sides, flat spine with scrolling foliate fillets, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. Provenance: Ludovicus Stella (flyleaf inscription in vol. II) -- Fédéric Morel, Parisian printer (flyleaf inscription, a few annotations in Greek in vol. II) -- Poille (early title inscription, washed from vol. II) -- inscription written over and washed from vol. I title.
EDITIO PRINCEPS of the great majority of the letters. Letter-writing was an art and study allied to rhetoric, which formed part of a humanistic education, and compendia of letters circulated as model precedents. Musurus brought together 35 authors in his extensive collection, ranging from Plato, Isocrates and Aeschines from antiquity to 4th-century authors such as Gregory of Nazianzus and later to Procopius of Gaza. Also included are Synesius, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, and St. Basil; other letters are spurious or of doubtful authorship, such as those by Hippocrates and Euripides. The Aldine Epistolae Graecae 'was not replaced by an equally useful collection until 1873, the date of R. Hercher's Epistolographi graeci' (Wilson, Byzantium to Italy, p.150).
Volume II (labelled vol. I on the spine) bears ownership inscriptions of Ludovicus Stella (identified in a later pencilled inscription as corrector to the Aldine press), and Fédéric Morel, either pere (1523-1583) or fils (1558-1630), successive printers to the king at Paris. The younger Morel was a renowned Hellenist, who edited Plutarch, among other ancient Greek texts. The Morel shop printed an edition of the Epistolae Graecae in 1577.
HC *6659; GW 9367; BMC V, 560; Goff E-64; IGI 3707; Klebs 379.1; Hoffmann II, p.30; Renouard Alde, p.18, 1; Ahmanson-Murphy 24. (2)