HOMER (?8th century B.C.). Opera, in Greek. Edited by Demetrius Chalcondylas. Florence: [Printer of Virgil (C 6061), perhaps Bartolommeo di Libri, and] Demetrius Damilas for Bernardus and Nerius Nerlius (with the financial support of Giovanni Acciaiuoli), 9 December 1488 [but not published before 13 January 1488/89, date of the dedication].
Editio princeps of all texts (with the exception of Batrachomyomachia, which was printed earlier in a Greek-Latin edition). The most important first edition in Greek Classical literature; ‘the first perfect poetry of the western world’ (PMM). In preparing his text the humanist scholar Chalcondylas consulted Eustathius' monumental 12th-century commentary, which enabled him to clarify uncertain readings in the Iliad and the Odyssey, but he warns in his preface that the texts of the Hymns and of the Batrachomyomachia still leave much to be desired. For the complications in trying to find an existing Florentine printing shop, which Damilas and the Nerli brothers might have employed for their Homer – the most ambitious Greek production until the Aldine Aristotle – see Proctor (Printing of Greek p. 66-69) and R. Ridolfi (La Stampa in Firenze nel secolo XV ch. 7).
A large, handsome copy. HCR 8772; BMC VI, 678; CIBN H-173; SBS-Ink H-321; IGI 4795; Flodr, Homerus I; PMM 31; ISTC ih00300000; Goff H-300.
2 volumes, median folio (325 x 210mm). Greek and roman types. 250 and 189 (of 190; without final blank) leaves. 10- and 2-line initial spaces. (light small stains in I: 2A1-2B4, N4, [con]7, and II: II1r and Ll6v, darker stain on TT8v, faint dampstain at a few upper margins of vol. II, ETET5 upper blank corner repaired.) 19th-century green straight-grained morocco, gilt fillet border on sides, spines richly gilt and with red leather on-lays, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. Provenance: contemporary annotations in Greek and Latin in first 5 leaves of the Iliad – Giovanni Zauli (early title inscription) – Susanna Zauli (‘nobilissima et castissima’, inscription recording her gift to the abbey library at Sittich, Carinthia [present day Slovenia] in 1642; she also owned a 1532 Terence, now at Ljubljana, Slovenia).