Subject and Keywords:
Aldus Pius Manutius Romanus (1449-1515) – an Italian humanist scholar, editor and publisher, printer and bookbinder, author, commentator, founder of the Aldine Press (1494) and Aldi Neacademia (ca 1500) in Venice – credited with producing classical works in a new elegant pocket-sized format (octavo), bearing a high intellectual value. As an ardent advocate of the culture of classical antiquity, the Greek language and literature in particular, Manutius greatly contributed to the development of textual criticism of print editions of classical texts. His legacy also includes the creation and design of italic and antiqua typefaces. The fonts were not based on the Greek writing style found in Byzantine manuscripts. Instead they imitated the finest contemporary humanist calligraphy. The Manutius press produced a great number of the first and most important editions of Greek texts (editiones principes), e.g. critical editions of Aristotle, Plato, Aristophanes, Thucydides, Sophocles and Euripides, which had been earlier known as translations into Latin. As a printer and publisher he cooperated with members of his Academy (Pietro Bembo, Mark Musuros and Erasmus of Rotterdam). The Aldine collection of PAN Biblioteka Gdańska contains at least 50 books (according to preliminary estimates), considerable number of which are within the book-collection originally belonging to the Neapolitan aristocrat - Giovanni Bernardino Bonifacio (1517-1597). The humanist donated his library to the Gdańsk City Council. On the basis of the typical Renaissance collection the Library of the Gdańsk City Council (Bibliotheca Senatus Gedanensis) was founded in 1596. Bonifacio’s Aldine collection includes among others editiones principes of Thucydides and Herodotus, collected works by Statius published in an elegant pocket-sized format and Seneca’s tragedies. Apart from classical works Manutius published also works by contemporary Italian humanists, examples of which are well preserved in Bonifacio’s book-collection, including e.g. collected works of Angelo Poliziano edited by Alessandro Sarti. A number of items belonging to the Aldine collection probably still retain the original bindings, while others received new covers, e.g. a book of poetry by Marcus Valerius Martialis (ca 40-104) was rebound in black goatskin leather with gold tooling. For today’s readers the Aldine editions are not only a source of aesthetically and intellectually valuable experiences, but they also allow the users to explore cultural achievements of the Classical world. The exhibition features 12 items which are a part of an interesting collection of books both printed and written by Manutius preserved in PAS Gdańsk Library.