The First Printed Edition of Aristotle
Aristotle (384–322 BCE).
Haec Artistotelis volumina in hoc libro impressa continentur: Ethicorum ad Nicomachum, Politicourm, Oeconomicorum, Magnorum moralium Moralium ad Eudemum.
Venice: Aldus Manutius, June 1498.
Aldus Manutius (ca. 1450–1515), a native of Bassiano, Italy, was a scholar and teacher for whom printing represented a further means of disseminating classical languages and literature. Establishing a press in Venice in 1494, Aldus printed Greek and Latin classics as well as the works of contemporary writers, including immigrant scholars from Thessaloniki and Constantinople. Aldus published the editio princeps of more than thirty Greek texts, designing his own Greek typefaces based on contemporary manuscript fashion. Aldus employed Francesco Griffo (1450–1518) to cut punches based on the handwriting of friends and associates, including Immanuel Rhusotas (active 1465–1500), Ioannes Gregoropoulos (active 1493–1503), and Marcus Musurus (ca. 1470–1517). Although criticized for their complexity by scholars in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Aldus’s fonts proved to be popular with contemporary readers.
Aldus published the editio princeps of the complete works of Aristotle in five volumes between 1495 and 1498, the last volume of which is held by Bridwell Library. It was the largest work to be printed in Greek since the beginning of printing with moveable type in Europe. Each section opens with an elaborate woodcut initial and decorative headpiece.