Aldus Manutius

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Aldus Manutius

Aldus Manutius (ălˈdəs mənyo͞oˈshəs) or Aldo Manuzio (älˈdō mäno͞oˈtsyō), 1450–1515, Venetian printer. He was educated as a humanistic scholar and became tutor to several of the great ducal families. One of them, the Pio family, provided him with money to establish a printery in Venice. Aldus was at this time almost 45 years old. He devoted himself to publishing the Greek and Roman classics, in editions noted for their scrupulous accuracy; a five-volume set of the works of Aristotle, completed in 1498, is the most famous of his editions. He was especially interested in producing books of small format for scholars at low cost. To this end he designed and cut the first complete font of the Greek alphabet, adding a series of ligatures or tied letters, similar to the conventional signs used by scribes, which represented two to five letters in the width of one character. To save space in Latin texts he had a type designed after the Italian cursive script; it is said to be the script of Petrarch. This was the first italic type used in books (1501). Books produced by him are called Aldine and bear his mark, which was a dolphin and an anchor. Aldus employed competent scholars as editors, compositors, and proofreaders to insure accuracy in his books. Much of his type was designed by Francesco Griffi, called Francesco da Bologna. The Aldine Press was later managed by other members of his family, including a son, Paulus Manutius (1512–74), and a grandson, Aldus Manutius (1547–97), who was best known for his classical scholarship.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Manutius, Aldus


(Aldo Manuzio, Aldo Manucci). Born circa 1450 in Bassiano, near Rome; died Feb. 6, 1515, in Venice. Italian publisher and typographer. Renaissance scholar and humanist.

Aldus Manutius was the founder of the Aldine Press, which continued to operate for almost 100 years. Settling in Venice circa 1490, Manutius gathered around him Greek language experts to prepare editions of classical Greek authors. His largest edition consisted of the works of Aristotle in five volumes (1495-98), followed by the works of Aristophanes, Thucydides, Sophocles, Herodotus, Xenophon, Euripides, Demosthenes, Plutarch, and Plato, as well as editions of the letters of Greek philosophers and orators.

In 1499, Manutius published the War of Sleep and Love (Hypnerotomachia Poliphili) a work attributed to his contemporary Francesco Colonna. This edition is a masterpiece of printer’s art; the numerous woodcuts and beautiful type (antique) form a harmonious whole. From 1501, Manutius published collections of Roman classics in octavo form and for the first time printed in italics, a clear and capacious type that imitated the lettering of the documents issued by the papal office. Among the editions of Manutius were also the works of his contemporaries, such as Erasmus of Rotterdam. Manutius’ publications—the Aldines—were imitated and forged; to guard against this Manutius stamped his books with the firm’s hallmark, a dolphin entwined about an anchor.

In 1500, Manutius founded the New Academy (modeled after Plato’s Academy), whose members helped to collect and study the manuscripts of ancient authors and carefully prepared the texts of works to be printed. Manutius’ press was continued by his father-in-law, Andreas Torresanus, his son Paulus Manutius (1512-74), and his grandson Aldus Manutius, Junior (1547-97). Aldine editions are kept in the world’s largest libraries and in bibliophilic collections.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Aldus Manutius

1450--1515, Italian printer, noted for his fine editions of the classics. He introduced italic type
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
This edition opens with a Latin preface by Aldus Manutius, followed by Musurus' poem.
Aldus Manutius, the Venetian printer and publisher, invented the smaller octavo volume along with italic type.
Part 2.9, edited by Felix Heinimann, contains the Collectanea, a collection of 823 proverbs with a short commentary (published in 1500 and again in 1506), which can be considered as a finger exercise for the magnum opus, put to press for the first time now almost 500 years ago by Aldus Manutius during Erasmus's stay in Venice.
Among individual names with detailed coverage are William Blake, Benjamin Franklin, Gutenberg, Martin Luther, Aldus Manutius, Christophe Plantin, and Lord Stanhope.
Bembo's first book, De Aetna, inspired by his education in Greek in Sicily, was published by Aldus Manutius in 1496 using a new font, forever after to be known as 'Bembo'.
He cut it in Venice in 1495 for his boss, the publisher Aldus Manutius, who used it to print a work by a cardinal named Pietro Bembo.
She writes, for example, in the chapter on commas about her discovery of Aldus Manutius the Elder, who invented the italic typeface (and the semicolon).
That man was Aldus Manutius the Elder (1450-1515) and I will happily admit I hadn't heard of him until about a year ago, but am now absolutely kicking myself that I never volunteered to have his babies." Eats, Shoots & Leaves (The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation) by Lynne Truss
But it was the Italian printer, Aldus Manutius (1449-1515) who put colophons on the map.
In that case John Baskerville is probably due a spot of posthumous fame beyond that usually accorded to printers, for Baskerville is arguably the greatest printer these islands have ever produced, a man who could rub shoulders with Plantin, Jensen and Aldus Manutius (hardly household names, I know).
This lavishly and beautifully produced book, translated and edited by the Professor of Music at Colgate University, New York, was published on the 500th anniversary of the text's first printing by the famous Venetian printer, Aldus Manutius. (The same date also, happily, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Thames & Hudson.) This is the first complete translation into English because that published in the sixteenth century only included about two-fifths of the text.