PSALTER, with canticles, in Greek and Latin. Edited by Joannes Crastonus (fl. 15th century). Milan: [Bonus Accursius], 20 September 1481.
Royal half-sheet 4° (281 x 207mm). Collation: π. a-x8 y-z6 (π1-2 editor's dedicatory letter to Ludovicus Donatus, Bishop of Bergamo, a1r text, z6r colophon). 180 leaves (of 182, lacking 2-leaf preliminary quire). 28-30 lines, Greek and Latin text in parallel columns. Types: 3:125 Greek, 1:119(125)R. 2-, 4- and 5-line initial spaces with guide-letters. (First leaf lightly browned and with splits at hinge, paper flaw on h8 and n8 affecting a few letters, extreme upper corner of first quire renewed, small wormhole in first and final few quires, very occasional light stain.) 18th-century calf-backed red stipple-paper boards, flat spine diapered in blind or with gilt ornament (rebacked preserving original backstrip, few scuffs on sides). Provenance: Albericius XII (armorial bookplate) -- Gian Giacopo Trivulzio (bookplate).
EDITIO PRINCEPS of the Greek liturgical Psalter, THE FIRST BOOK OF THE BIBLE TO BE PRINTED IN GREEK, and the EDITIO PRINCEPS of the Magnificat and the Benedictus - THE EARLIEST PORTIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT TO BE PRINTED IN GREEK. In addition to its obvious liturgical use, the parallel Greek-Latin text may have served some as a method of learning Greek. Earlier in the century, Ambrogio Traversari claimed to have taught himself Greek by studying a copy of the Greek Psalter, and he recommonded this method to others (N.G. Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy, pp.10 and 33).
It is printed with Accursius's second Greek type ('in many respects an advance on its predecessor' -- Proctor), which was used to print only 5 books; a recast of it was later used by Scinzenzeler. The fount may have been modelled on the hand of one of the scribes working for the Gregoropoulos family and Thomas Bitzimanos. (Cf. R. Proctor, The Printing of Greek in the Fifteenth Century, 1900, p.62 and N. Barker, Aldus Manutius and the Development of Greek Script and Type, 1985, p.35.)
RARE; a large copy, preserving two pinholes in each fore-margin in almost all leaves. HC *13454; BMC VI, 756 (IB. 26564-a); CIBN P-645; IGI 8123; Darlow & Moule 5490; Goff P-1035.