1559 Aldine Calepino Dictionarium Renaissance Latin Dictionary Italian / Binding

1559 Aldine Calepino Dictionarium Renaissance Latin Dictionary Italian / Binding

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1559 Aldine Calepino Dictionarium Renaissance Latin Dictionary Italian / Binding:

[Early Printing - Venice - Aldine Press] [Linguistics - classical languages] [Dictionaries - Latin] [Paolo Manuzio]

Printed in Venice by Paolo Manuzio, 1559.
Fifth Paolo Manuzio edition.
Text in Latin, with some Greek and Italian.

A fine Aldine printing of the celebrated Calepino: undoubtedly, the most popular Latin dictionary in the Renaissance Europe.

This edition contains valuable additions and notes by Paolo Manuzio ("Additamenta in Calepino"). For most Latin words Greek and Italian equivalents are given.

First printed in Reggio Emilia in 1502, the work proved extremely popular. Between 1542 and 1583, the celebrated Aldine press produced at least 16 editions.

Calepino's name became nearly synonymous with dictionary in 16th century Europe, as Webster's was in twentieth-century America. It accumulated additional languages as it went through dozens of sixteenth century editions. By 1785 it had been reissued some 150 times: the longest-running dictionary of the early modern period!

The celebrated Italian lexicographer Ambrogio Calepio (c. 1435 - c. 1510), called 'il Calepino', also known under the latinized name of Ambrosius Calepinus, "was the natural son of Count Trussardo, first feudatory of the Calepio valley near Bergamo. Born around 1435, he was baptized Giacomo [...] In 1458 he entered the order of the Augustinian hermits, taking the name Ambrogio. After a novitiate at Milan he was transferred in turn to Mantua, Cremona and Brescia. He was ordained priest in 1466 and returned to the convent at Bergamo, where he dedicated himself to study until his death in late 1509 or 1510. The most important product of Calepino's study was his Latin dictionary, first published in 1502 by Dionigio Bertocchi at Reggio, in Lombardy. Although it contained many gaps, the dictionary was an attempt at pure classical Latin and was inspired by the Elegantiae of Lorenzo Valla and the Cornucopia of Niccolo Perotti. It proved immensely successful; nine editions appeared between 1502 and 1509, fifteen between 1509 and 1520, and many thereafter. Italian, French and other vernacular translations were later added and the name Calepino became synonymous with dictionary. Erasmus spoke highly of Calepino's dictionary..." (Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation, Vol.I, p.224)

Paolo Manuzio, latinized as Paulus Manutius (1512 - 1574), was a noted Venetian printer and a humanist scholar, the third son of the famous printer Aldus Manutius and his wife Maria Torresano. Aldus died when the boy was two, and his grandfather and two uncles, the Asolani, carried on the Aldine Press. After a thorough education, in 1533 Paolo assumed direction of his father's business, which had been damaged by the elder generation's refusal to collaborate with scholarly editors. Paolo determined to revive the reputation of the press, and parted company with his uncles in 1540, devoting his output to the Latin classics. He was a passionate Ciceronian, and perhaps his chief contributions to scholarship are the corrected editions of Cicero's letters and orations, his own epistles in a Ciceronian style, and his Latin version of Demosthenes' Phillipics. Throughout his life he combined the occupations of a scholar and a printer. As a scholar he is remembered for four elegant Latin treatises on Roman antiquities. His correct editions of the classics, printed in a splendid style, were highly esteemed.

Bibliographic references:

Renouard 177:5; Aldine Press: Ahmanson-Murphy Collection, 579.

Physical description:

Folio, textblock measure 317 mm x 204 mm. Eighteenth-century full brown calf, spine richly tooled in gilt and with a gilt-lettered black morocco label (eatly rebacked retaining the original backstrip). Turn-ins with gilt dentelles. All edges dyed red. Marbled endpapers.

Unfoliated; [496] leaves (of [498]), forming 992 pages.

Signatures: A-Z8 Aa-Dd8 Ee-Ff10 [-Cc8, Dd1] a-z8 2A-2I8 2K6 (Ff10 blank and present).
Lacking two consecutive leaves Cc8 and Dd1 (containing the entries between 'Lacus' and 'Lanuculus'), otherwise complete.

Woodcut Aldine device on title page and on verso of the final leaf 2K6v.
Historiated woodcut initials; a few woodcut diagrams in Manuzio's notes.
Printed in double columns, in roman types (Manuzio's notes printed in larger roman type).

Manuzio's "Additamenta" occupy leaves 2G1r-2K5r.

Includes a prefatory epistle from Paolo Manuzio to Luigi Garzoni on A2r,v and his note to the reader (regarding an error) on 2K5v.


Engraved armorial bookplate on front pastedown with the coat of arms of the French aristocratic Bauffremont-Courtenay family, with mottos: "Dieu ayde au premier chrestien", and "Plus de deuil que de joye."

Two other unidentified bookplates on front free endpaper (verso).


Good antiquarian condition. Lacking two leaves. Binding slightly rubbed, rebacked retaining original backstrip. Outer margin of title-page repaired without loss. Closed tears at bottom of leaves F6 and r2 with somewhat amateurish attempts at repair, but without loss. Occasional light marginal dampstains and some minor soiling; a few leaves with ink-blots or smudges (not impairing legibility).

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1559 Aldine Calepino Dictionarium Renaissance Latin Dictionary Italian / Binding:

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