The First Printed Edition of Homer

Florence: Bernardus Nerlius, Nerius Nerlius and Demetrius Damilas, 9 December 1488.
One of two volumes.

This Florentine edition of Homer is considered one of the most significant editions of Greek literature. Edited by Demetrius Chalkokondyles (1423–1511), this is the first book printed in Greek in Florence and is the editio princeps of the works of Homer, with the exception of the Batrachomyomachia, which had been printed in Venice in 1486. This publication therefore represents the introduction of Homer to readers in Western Europe who were being newly exposed to classical literature through print. The type was developed in 1476 and recast with modifications for this 1488 publication by Demetrius Damilas (active 1476–1488), whom Robert Proctor credits with developing the first typeface “of genuinely Hellenic character.” [1] Based on what was at the time an older and more conservative manuscript hand, the font eschewed complex abbreviations in favor of simplicity.

[1] Robert Proctor, The Printing of Greek in the Fifteenth Century (Oxford: Printed for the Bibliographical Society at the Oxford University Press, 1900, p. 11).

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Classical Literature
The First Printed Edition of Homer