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Medium folio (388 x 257 mm), 224 leaves. Eighteenth-century diced russia, sometime rebacked (apparently 19th century) with brown goatskin, six raised bands, double gilt rules either sides, red and tan morocco labels, marbled endpapers. Rubbed, lower corners just worn, sprinkle of worm at head of spine not affecting contents, minor browning to top edge of alpha1-2, small brown stain to omicron8, tiny hole to alpha1 affecting single letter on verso, very occasional minor marginal foxing, an excellent copy. Prefatory poem by Musurus and Johannes Gregoropoulos. Double column, Greek type. 23 woodcut headpieces for each section of the alphabet except theta (3 blocks in 12, 10 and 1 impressions), woodcut devices of Blastos and of Kallierges, 10- and 5-line woodcut initials. All woodcuts, headings, brackets, capital to each entry and signatures in first quire printed in red, the red printed before the black. Sixteenth-century ownership inscription of Prospero Podiani (Perugia) on first and second leaves, one or two instances of early Greek marginalia in red; small monogrammed bookplate. First edition, an important landmark in the history of Greek printing, intended as a guide for readers of Homer; a superb production and an exceptional piece of printing for the incunable era, splendidly achieved in red and black. "It is justly said by De Bure, 'that the present is one of the most magnificent publications which ever issued from the press.' Whether the appearance of it damped the ardour, or rendered useless, the exertions of Aldus, we cannot perhaps accurately determine; but it is certain that his promise of publishing the Etymologicon magnum . was never carried into execution . Even if it had been executed under the care of Aldus himself, it would not have been more correctly, or perhaps so beautifully, printed; since, with all his zeal for the cause of literature . Aldus never produced any thing, for solidity and skill of workmanship, at all comparable with the Ammonius and Simplicius . the Therapeutica of Galen . and the Etymologicon Magnum; each printed by Callierges in the XVth century. The frequent and successful introduction of the red letter, gives a splendour as well as peculiarity to the efforts of the printer whose work is now under consideration" (Dibdin Bibliotheca Spenceriana III, p. 65). Callierges spent five years developing the Greek type which was first used to print the Etymologicum. In contrast to the Aldine Greek type, it was cast in one piece with its accents. Callierges, Blastos and Musurus were all fellow-Cretans. Anna Notaras was a leading figure among Byzantine expatriates in Venice. Musurus's prefatory poem is one of the most substantial early treatises on the technicalities of type-casting (see Proctor The Printing of Greek in the Fifteenth Century, 1900, pp. 120–24). BMC V 580; Goff E112; GW 9426; HC *6691; Pellechet 4629; Proctor 5644. N° de ref. de la librería
Título: Etymologicum magnum graecum.
Editorial: Venice: Zacharias Callierges for Nicolaus Blastos & Anna Notaras, 8 July 1499
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