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Lot 35: Aldus Manutius.- Anthologia Graeca, Venice, Aldus Manutius, November, 1503.

Important Books, Western Manuscripts and Works on Paper: Day One

by Forum Auctions

November 15, 2016

London, United Kingdom

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  • Aldus Manutius.-  Anthologia Graeca, Venice, Aldus Manutius, November, 1503.
  • Aldus Manutius.-  Anthologia Graeca, Venice, Aldus Manutius, November, 1503.
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Description: Anthologia Graeca. Florilegium diversorum epigrammatum in septem libros. Ἀνθολογία διαφόρων ἐπιγραμμάτων...,, collation: A-Z8, AA-MM8, NN10, 290ff., Greek and Roman type, Aldine anchor device on title and verso of final leaf, blank spaces for capitals, with printed guided letters, overall a good copy, old repairs to inner and upper margins of first leaf and to inner margin of second leaf, lightly foxed, pale water-stain to outer margin of first and final quire, wormhole in blank margin of fol. A3, without any loss of text, contemporary Greek and Latin annotations, especially in the first quires, the same hand has numbered the first 54 leaves, fol. NN10v an unknown owner has copied the Italian translation of an epigram ascribed to Plato, included in the third book of the Greek Anthology, on fol. NN6r a curious manuscript recipe for making glue from the fruit of the quince tree, overall a good copy in a fine Venetian contemporary brown leather over wooden boards, covers framed within three borders of fillets, knotworks and roundels, knotwork motifs at the centre, spine with three raised bands, compartments blind-tooled with roundels and cross-fillets, traces of clasps, original pastedowns (probably from a vellum manuscript) removed, leather turn-ins visible on inside of boards, rear cover becoming detached, spine scuffed at extremities, minor wear to corners, a few wormholes, 8vo (166 x 102 mm), Venice, Aldus Manutius, November, 1503. ⁂ First Aldine edition and second overall of the Anthologia Graeca, in a handsome Venetian binding. For his collection Aldus adopted the new title Florilegium diversorum epigrammatum and the volume was issued in the easily portable octavo size, the revolutionary series of Aldine classical texts with the inaugural Greek book being the Sophocles of 1502. From a textual point of view the edition largely follows the Florentine editio princeps of 1494 edited by Ianos Laskaris; however it includes numerous variants, 19 additional epigrams, the first edition of the 6th-century Byzantine In Thermas Pythicas et aquarum miracula by Paulos Silentiarios, and a final Greek letter by Scipio Forteguerri in praise of Aldus. The text is printed in the smallest and finest Aldine Greek type, modelled on Aldus's own hand and designed and cut by the Bolognese punchcutter and typefounder Francesco Griffo. "This final achievement of Francesco Griffo fully deserves the praise accorded to it by Mardersteig. It is true that our eyes turn to it with grateful welcome, unaccustomed as they are to the ligatures and abbreviations of the earlier types. But by any standards it is a masterpiece, not only of engraving skill executed with marvellous homogeneity on a minute scale, but also of exquisitely planned letter fit" (N. Barker, Aldus Manutius and the Development of Greek Script and Type in the Fifteenth Century, New York 1992, p. 89). Literature: Adams A1181; STC Italian 313; Renouard Alde, 42,9; Ahmanson-Murphy 79; Marciana 87-88; Laurenziana 81; J. Hutton, The Greek Anthology in Italy, Ithaca 1935, pp. 39-40, 148-149, 151-154.

Notes: Category: Literature, Manuscripts and History

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