13 June 2002
HERODOTUS (c.490 - c.425 B.C.). [Histories, in Greek]. Edited by Aldus Manutius (c.1452-1515). Venice: Aldus Manutius, September 1502.
Aldine 2° (313 x 200mm). Collation: AA-RR8 SS4 (AA1r Greek and Latin title, printer's woodcut anchor-and-dolphin device [Fletcher 2a], AA1v editor's dedicatory letter to Giovanni Planza dei Ruffinoni, called Calpurnius [1443-1503, professor of Greek at Padua University], AA2r text, SS4r register and colophon, SS4v device [Fletcher 2]). 140 leaves. Greek types 3:84 (text) and 4:79 (dedication), italic type 1:80 (title, dedication), roman type 10:82 (register, colophon). 55 lines and headline, initial-spaces with guide-letters. (First leaf slightly affected by damp.) 18th-century mottled calf gilt, anchor-and-dolphin device stamped on both covers, gilt edges, marbled endpapers, (binding rebacked). Provenance: Jesuit College (inscription on title washed out) -- Beriah Botfield, purchased for 3 gns (pencil inscription).
EDITIO PRINCEPS of Herodotus's history of the Persian Wars, one of the most important texts edited by the great scholar-printer-publisher himself. Aldus claims in the dedication that he corrected the text from multiple exemplars, one of the few instances where such a claim by him is justified and can be verified. He was the first to have access to the 'Florentine' codices, where Valla had used the so-called Roman family of manuscripts for his translation. The printer's copy was discovered in Nuremberg by Brigitte Mondrain in 1993 (Scriptorium 49 , pp. 263-273). The Herodotus was designed to match the Aldine Thucydides of four months earlier: they share a paper stock, all types and the number of lines per page. Isaac 12782; Renouard 35.8; Murphy 50; Sansoviniana 67; Laurenziana 64; Dionisotti & Orlandi XL.
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