Aldus Manutius (ca. 1452–1515) is widely held to be the most famous scholar-printer of the Italian Renaissance. A teacher and private tutor throughout his earlier years, he moved to Venice in the summer of 1490 to seek his goal of creating printed editions of all the works of Greek and Hellenistic antiquity. In the score of years between the spring of 1495 and his death on the 6th of February in 1515, he largely achieved this heroic enterprise. Along the way, he and his colleagues were responsible for a vast array of publications in the works of classical antiquity and the major Italian poets of the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. To achieve this, Aldus had to inspire and oversee the creation of the typefaces needed to turn manuscripts into printed books. He began to do so in the first half of the 1490s, and continued the process until the end of his life, although the basics were in place by the early years of the 16th century. The creation of the typefaces required to print Greek was the most challenging and the most complex, but his roman typefaces are still an inspiration today, and his italic proved to be the proverbial better mousetrap. These developments are explored in this lecture.
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