HOMER. [Volume I of the Opera:] Ilias. - HERODUTUS; PLUTARCH. Vitae Homeri, in Greek. Edited by Aldus Manutius. [Venice: Aldus Manutius, not before 31 October 1504].
Aldine 8o (163 x 100 mm). 278, 56 leaves. Types: 1:80 Italic, 90 Greek. Woodcut device on title. Initial spaces with guide letters. (Edges of title slightly frayed, narrow marginal dampstain to first few leaves, light spotting to title, marginal paper flaw in P2.) Sixteenth-century ?Italian brown ?goatskin gilt over pasteboard, covers panelled in blind with triple fillets, central panel decorated with Fortuna stamp (boy with sail) in gold within double gilt fillet cartouche composed of a rectangle with triangles at top and bottom, outlined with blind double fillets, gold fleurs-de-lys at angles, "Homeri Ilias" lettered in gold at top, a later (?19th-century) blind-tooled floral roll frame added, evidence of 6 ties, two at fore-edge and one each at top and bottom edges, edges blue stained (rebacked in the 19th century, covers detached, old restorations to corners). A large copy, preserving a few deckle edges. Provenance: "Jakob [second name illegible] Ferrarius and his companions" (early inscription in Greek on front flyleaf); Samuel Putnam Avery (bookplate).
Volume I of the second edition in Greek, FIRST ALDINE EDITION, printed from Demetrius Chalcondylas' 1488 editio princeps (Florence). Having at his disposal only fairly corrupt manuscripts, Chalcondylas had established the text with the aid of the massive 12th-century commentary of Eustathius. Aldus was apparently unaware of the existence of a superior 10th-century manuscript at the Marciana, part of Bessarion's magnificent bequest to the Venetian Republic in 1468. Adams H-741; Ahmanson-Murphy 68.1; Renouard 46.6.