The Works of Horace

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"Horativs," Venetiis: Apvd Aldvm Romanvm, Mense Maio. M. DI. [1501] Edited by Aldo Manuzio. Bound in dark red morocco. Gilt stamped. Printed by the greatest of Venetian printers, Aldus Manutius, this is only the second book ever set in an italic, or cursive, type. The first, an edition of Virgil’s Aeneid, preceded it by only a few months. Note also the “pocket book” format – hitherto, printed books were likely to be large bulky folios, inconvenient to carry around and expensive, as well. Observing the increased interest in classical writers and also in contemporary authors, Aldus decided to produce a series of books which would be scholarly, compact, easily available and cheap; these volumes were also admirably served by the newly cut sturdy italic type. The new type was immediately popular and Aldus made a request to the city authorities to protect his intellectually property from piracy. The government readily complied and issued a stern edict forbidding anyone from copying the new typeface. Unfortunately for Aldus, the legal boundaries of the Venetian city-state were not very large, and blatant copies of his italic were soon appearing in books published in other cities, especially Lyons.

Italy, italic, Aldus, 16th Century
16cm high