URBANUS BELLUNENSIS (Urbano VALERIANI, c.1443-1524). Institutiones graecae grammaticae, in Latin and Greek. Venice: Aldus Manutius, January 1497/98.
Super-chancery 4° (206 x 163mm). Collation: a10 b-z & A8 B10 C2 (a1 title, a2r dedicatory address from Aldo to Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, a2v Greek alphabet, Pater Noster and Ave Maria in Greek, a3 text, B9r register, B10r colophon, C1 errata). 214 leaves. 27 lines. Types: 2:114 roman and greek. Errata in first state with 28 lines per page (cf. Renouard), but with 3, not 4, lines of text on final page. Full-page woodcut and typographical diagram on a4v, woodcut vinework initials, initial spaces with printed guide-letter. (Some light spotting, very light dampstain in some foremargins at end.) Contemporary Italian quarter goatskin over wooden boards bevelled on inside edge, leather panelled in blind with triple fillets and border of repeat ropework tool, fastened to sides with overlaid leather strip attached with nails, two fore-edge clasps fastening on shaped brass catchplates on lower cover, endleaves from a vellum 14th-century theological manuscript, abbreviated author's name URB lettered along fore-edges (rebacked, upper section of border strip on front cover missing, one clasp missing, the other repaired, slight worming, faint crack in upper cover, backstrip somewhat worn). Provenance: numerous annotations in Latin and Greek by a contemporary Italian reader.
FIRST EDITION of an extremely influential Greek grammar, the first to give the rules in Latin. Aldus Manutius founded his press at Venice in 1495 with the express purpose of printing classical -- particularly Greek -- texts in the original language, and the Greek grammar of Constantine Lascaris was his first publication. That grammar, however, was written entirely in Greek, and therefore only accessible to scholars already conversant with the language. To encourage further the study of Greek, Aldus asked his friend Urbanus to compose a Greek grammar written in both Latin and Greek, thereby making accessible the language of Aristotle and Homer to a significantly wider public. HC *2763=*16098; BMC V, 558 (IA. 22427-29); CIBN U-27; IGI 10029; Ahmanson-Murphy 20; Renouard, Alde, pp. 11-1; Goff U-66.