Aldine Press

The Aldine Press was the printing office started by Aldus Manutius in 1494 in Venice, from which were issued the celebrated Aldine editions of the classics (Latin and Greek masterpieces, plus a few more modern works). The first book that was dated and printed under his name appeared in 1495.[1]

The Rylands copy of the Aldine Vergil of 1501, the first of the standard octavo Aldines
First location of the Aldine Press
The true first location of the Aldine Press, civico numero 2343 Calle della Chiesa, San Polo on the campo Sant'Agostin

The Aldine Press is famous in the history of typography, among other things, for the introduction of italics.[2] The press was the first to issue printed books in the small octavo size, similar to that of a modern paperback, and like that intended for portability and ease of reading.[1]:82–84 According to Curt F. Bühler, the press issued 132 books during twenty years of activity under Aldus Manutius.[1] After Aldus’s death in 1515, the press was continued by his wife Maria and her father, Andrea Torresani (Andrea Torresano [Wikidata]), until his son, Paulus Manutius (1512–1574) took over. His grandson Aldus Manutius the Younger then ran the firm until his death in 1597. Today, the antique books printed by the Aldine Press in Venice are referred to as Aldines,[3] as are the letterforms and typefaces pioneered by the Aldine Press.[4]

The press enjoyed a monopoly of works printed in Greek in the Republic of Venice, effectively giving it copyright protection. Protection outside the Republic was more problematic, however. The firm maintained an agency in Paris, but its commercial success was affected by many counterfeit editions, produced in Lyons and elsewhere.[5]


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