ETYMOLOGICUM MAGNUM GRAECUM -- \kEtymologikon mega\K. Edited by Marcus Musurus (c.1470-1517). With poems by Musurus and Johannes Gregoropoulos. Venice: Zacharias Kallierges, first press, for Nikolaos Blastos and Anna Notaras, 8 July 1499.
Super-median 2° (355 x 245mm). Collation: A10 B-\kV\K AA-\kGG\K8 \kDD\K6 (A1r Greek verse by Musurus and Gregoropoulos, A1v editor's preface, A2r text, \kDD\K5v colophon, \kDD\K6r register, \kDD\K6v blank). 224 leaves; bifolium \kDD\K2.5 misbound after \kDD\K4. Type 1:121Gk. 50 lines, double column. Woodcut headpieces (3 blocks in 12, 10 and 1 impressions), one to each section of the alphabet (23) except \ku\K, woodcut devices of Blastos and Kallierges, 10- and 5-line woodcut initials. All woodcuts, headings, brackets, capital to each entry and signatures in first quire printed in red, the red printed before the black. (First two leaves extended at margin, small ink burn on A3, occasional marginal wormtrack, expertly repaired in several leaves, occasional light spotting, \kDD\K1.6 rehinged, small hole in final two leaves affecting a few letters.) 20th-century mottled vellum retaining earlier red leather spine labels. Provenance: a few neat marginal annotations.
FIRST EDITION of a 12th-century etymological dictionary published to serve as a reference book for the reading of poetry, especially Homer. THIS EDITION IS KALLIERGES' FIRST TYPOGRAPHICAL PRODUCTION. It was an all-Greek enterprise, with editor, printer and one of the publishers all being Cretan. It took Kallierges five years to develop this Greek fount, whereas Blastos solved the problem of casting accents in one piece with a letter to create different sorts. (Aldine type mostly included separately cast accents.) For full discussions of Musurus's preface and verse, the privilege taken out by the partnership with the Venetian authorities, the technicalities of casting the Greek type and accents, and Aldus's role in marketing the book, see Proctor, Printing of Greek and Barker, Greek Script & Type. The paper for this edition is an uncommon size, between royal and imperial, and may have been specially commissioned from the mill for this edition. HC *6691; GW 9426; BMC V, 580 (IC. 24733-35); IGI 3720; Sander 7710; Essling 1184; Legrand I, 23; Goff E-112.