Tragaediae septem.Venice: Aldus Manutius, August 1502 Stock Code: 144136
Editio princeps, the first of Aldus's Greek texts to appear in his new octavo format. Aldus's small Greek cursive appears here for the first time; Francesco Griffo's fourth type, the most delicate of the Aldine Greek types, it was modelled on Aldus's own Greek hand. Later in 1502 Griffo left Aldus's employ, and no new fonts were cut after this.
One of the most important of Aldus's Greek editions both textually and typographically, this remained the best available edition of Sophocles' text until the 19th century. The commentaries listed on the title-page were not in fact included in this edition and were later published in 1518 by the Gymnasium Mediceum, the Greek college in Rome whose press was established by Janus Lascaris, the dedicatee of this edition.
This is also the first book in which Aldus's Greek Academy is mentioned, in both the preface and the colophon: "in Aldi Romani Academia". Aldus's preface describes a fire-lit meeting of the academy, where Greek alone was spoken.
Octavo (157 x 95 mm). Nineteenth-century French red hard-grain morocco gilt, spine gilt in compartments and gilt-lettered direct, sides with gilt frames, marbled endpapers, gilt turn-ins and edges.
Types 1:80 italic, 4:79 Greek, cut by Francesco Griffo. General title, Latin dedication to Janus Lascaris, epigrams of Simonides, Erucius and Dioscorides the Alexandrian from the Anthology, 6 divisional titles, woodcut dolphin and anchor device (Fletcher
Gift inscription from Ch. DeBrun to his friend W. Bürger, dated 5 April 1860, to front free endpaper; collector's bookplate of Dr Desnos to front pastedown. General title leaf skilfully restored in gutter, a touch of very light spotting at head of first few leaves, contents otherwise clean and well-margined, an excellent copy.
Adams S-1438; Ahmanson-Murphy 48; Renouard 34.6.
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