Cicero, 1465

CICERO, Marcus Tullius (c. 104–43 BCE).
De officiis, and Paradoxa stoicorum. Hexasticha XII Sapientum de titulo Ciceronis; with: Horatius Flaccus (65–8 BCE). Ad T. Manlium Torquatum (Carmina IV 7 ).
[Mainz]: Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer, 1465. (06236)

Among the last and greatest achievements of the joint Fust and Schoeffer press was the publication of Cicero’s “On Moral Duties” and “Paradoxes of the Stoics,” the first dated printing of any works of Classical literature. This edition also marked a triumphant return to normal productivity for the Fust and Schoeffer press, for after the completion of the Biblia Latina on 14 August 1462, the war between the archbishops in Mainz had prevented them from printing anything of significance.

This edition of Cicero's works contains what is believed to be the first attempt to render the Greek alphabet in print. However, this Greek type does not constitute an entire alphabet, and it is not particularly faithful to traditional Greek letter forms, even to the point of substituting Gothic types of similar shape. The Greek elements and the unusually spacious format of the book were intended to appeal to humanist scholars.

Bridwell Library’s fine copy, one of the largest surviving, was inscribed on its first leaf by the monks of the Carthusian Charterhouse at Mainz, whose library also possessed the Gutenberg Bible now at the Hofbibliothek in Aschaffenberg.

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Detail of Greek printing

Early Masterpieces
Cicero, 1465