Suidas (Lexicon). Milan, 1499
SUIDAS [Greek Lexicon]. Edited by Demetrius Chalcondylas (1423–1511).
Milan: Johannes Bissolus and Benedictus Mangius, for Demetrius Chalcondylas, 15 November 1499. (06658)
The Suidas (Greek for “fortress”), a tenth-century Greek encyclopedia with more than 30,000 entries, was valued by Renaissance philologists for its authoritative definitions and etymologies, as well as its quotations from many Classical and early Christian sources that otherwise had been lost. This first edition was printed at the expense of its Athenian-born editor, Demetrius Chalcondylas, one of the preeminent Greek scholars of the Renaissance. His contract for printing this edition called for 800 copies on paper “a little larger than median,” to be sold for three gold ducats per copy. The special paper size enhanced the book’s grandeur and provided wide margins for notes.
The margins in Bridwell Library’s copy bear copious annotations in Latin and Greek. Three of the longer notes were signed by Daniel Cajetanus (1461–1528) of Cremona, a scholar best known for his Latin commentary on Seneca’s Tragoediae, first printed in Venice in 1493. On the colophon leaf, Cajetanus noted his ownership of the book: “Iste Suidas est Danielis Caietani de Cremona.” Below this inscription he added a long note concerning his family on 1 June 1512, the day his father Alexander died at the age of 75.