Printing: Renaissance & Reformation

An Exhibit for History 101: European Civlization I

Introduction | Island 1 | Island 2 | Island 3 | Island 4 | Island 5 | Island 6

Island 4 - Printing and Renaissance Humanism

Desiderius Erasmus, d. 1536
The praise of folie. Moriae encomium a booke made in latyne by that great clerke Erasmus Roterdame. Englisshed by sir Thomas Chaloner knight.
London: Thomas Powell, 1557.

Erasmus, who edited the first printed text of the Greek New Testament (Basel, 1516), wrote this brilliant satire on kings, popes and other authority figures during his stay in England, in the house of Sir Thomas More. As late as the early seventeenth century, the poet John Milton, still found it "in every hand" in Cambridge. It was first published in Latin in Paris in 1511.

Cicero, Marcus Tullius
In hoc volumine haec continentur. Rhetoricum ad C. Herennium lib III. . . .
Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1521.

Aldus, active as a printer in Venice from about 1490, was one of the great Renaissance publishers of Greek texts. His trademark logo ("colophon") was the Aldine anchor. This fine example of an Aldine classic is of the Latin rhetorician and lawyer Cicero, whose writings heavily influenced Renaissance self-presentation. Aldus recognized a new book market of gentlemanly readers — "Renaissance men" — and produced books that were both more legible and easier to handle than the tradition heavy folio "incunabula," derived from manuscript codices. This volume uses the Italic typeface Aldus championed in place of German black-letter.

Q. Horatii Facci Opera cu cometariis
Vendundantur Parrhisis in vico Divi Jacobi, 1516.

The title-page of this fine Venice edition of the Roman Latin poet Horace carries a woodcut showing a typical Renaissance printing shop.

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