22 May 2001
PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
EURIPIDES (ca. 484-406 B.C.) Tragoedia septendecim, in Greek. Venice: Aldus Manutius, February 1503.
2 volumes in one, 8o (165 x 102 mm). All 5 blanks preserved. Woodcut Aldine device on title of first volume and last leaf of both volumes. (Lightly washed and pressed, occasional mostly faint residual staining, outer blank corner of f. OO1 torn away.) 19th-century brown morocco gilt, gilt edges, by Clarke & Bedford (slight wear to joints and extremities, inner hinges cracked). Provenance: Thomas Baring (armorial bookplate).
EDITIO PRINCEPS of most of the 19 extant tragedies: four plays had been previously published at Florence ca. 1495, and the Electra is omitted from Aldus' edition (it was not printed until 1545). Along with the Latin classics, Dante, and Petrarch, Aldus published Greek editions of Homer and the tragedians in his new "portatile" octavo format, in which the texts, unencumbered by commentary, were designed to meet the needs of an educated but non-scholarly public. Part of the copy-text for this edition has been identified (BnF suppl. gr. 212 and 393); the manuscript is in the hand of a member of the Gregoropoulos family, possibly John Gregoropoulos, one of Aldus' editors, who is thought to have been chiefly responsible for establishing this edition. In his preface to Demetrius Chalcondylas, Aldus announces the imminent publication of the scholia to seven of the plays, but these were not printed until Giunta's edition of 1534. Aldus' edition remained the most important printed text of Euripides until the 18th century. Adams E-1030; Ahmanson-Murphy 55; Renouard Alde 43,10.
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