The First Printed Editions of Theodorus Gaza, Herodianus, and Apollonius
In hoc volumine haec insunt: Theodori introductivae grammatices libri quatuor, eiusdem De mensibus opusculum sane quam pulchrum, Apollonii grammatici de constructione in libri quatuor; Herodianus de numeris.
Venice: Aldus Manutius, 25 December 1495.
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.
In the interest of promoting classical education, Aldus also published the grammars and lexica of Greek scholars of his day. The first two titles in this volume are by the grammarian Theodorus Gaza (circa 1400–1475) who fled to Italy from his native Thessaloniki in 1430 when it fell to the Turkish Empire. Thessaloniki had been the second greatest center of scholarship in the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople. Gaza had worked there as a professor of Greek and as a translator of Greek literature into Latin. The first text in the displayed volume is Gaza’s Greek grammar, followed by the editio princeps of his work on the months. Gaza’s works are supplemented by the editiones principes of two second-century grammarians, De numeris by Aelius Herodianus and the Syntax of Herodianus’s father Apollonius Dyscolus. This is the first appearance of Apollonius in print.