THUCYDIDES (c.460/455 - c.399 B.C.). [History of the Peloponnesian War, in Greek]. Edited by Aldus Manutius (c.1452-1515). Venice: Aldus Manutius, May 1502.
Aldine 2° (313 x 208mm). Collation: A8 (title, editor's dedication to Daniele Renier, Aphthonios Sophista's encomium of Thucydides from his Progymnasmata, anonymous biography, biography and critical note by Marcellinus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Thucydidean idiom, Suidas' biography, A8 blank); 2A-O8 P4 (text, P3v quire register and colophon, P4 blank). 124 leaves. Greek types 3:84 (text) and 4:79 (dedication), italic type 1:80 (dedication), roman type 10:82 (incidental). 55 lines and headline, initial-spaces with guide-letters. Ruled in red. (Small marginal wormhole.) Gold-tooled blue straight-grained morocco, floral border on sides, spine decorated and lettered in compartments, roll-tooled turn-ins, gilt edges, marbled endpapers, binding signed at foot of spine by Bozerian jeune. Provenance: Antoine-Augustin Renouard 1765-1853 (Botfield note in P. & F. Acquisitions p.87, binding, manuscript ruling) -- Beriah Botfield (10 gns from Payne and Foss).
EDITIO PRINCEPS of the most important work in Greek historiography. According to Enoch Powell (The Aldine Scholia to Thucydides 1936), Aldus edited the text from a Cretan manuscript, Paris BnF suppl.gr.256 from the Pantin Collection (nr 40); Martin Sicherl (Griechische Erstausgaben des Aldus Manutius. Druckvorlagen 1997) found no evidence in the manuscript of printer's use, suggesting that another Cretan copy of the same recension served as exemplar. In any case, the printer's copytext was undistinguished, much inferior to the lost manuscript from which Lorenzo Valla had made his Latin translation (Treviso: c. 1483 [Klebs 971.1]).
The recipient of Aldus's dedicatory letter, Daniele Renier, was a Venetian senator, procurator of San Marco and collector of Hebrew, oriental and classical manuscripts. The printer mentions how Renier frequently comes to his shop to see what Greek or Latin text might be under production. Pressed, but A FINE COPY. Isaac 12777; Renouard 33.4; Murphy 45; Sansoviniana 60; Laurenziana 60; Dionisotti & Orlandi XXXVII.