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Editio Princeps

A name given to the first printed edition of any classical author. The editio princeps often has a special value to text-critics in that its text is sometimes derived from a MS. that has since been lost. The oldest printed edition of any classic is that of the De Officiis of Cicero, which appeared at Mainz in 1465. Soon after the invention of printing (about 1440), the great publishing houses of Aldus Manutius (son and grandson, 1449-1597) in Venice, of Giunta in Florence, and others in Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Low Countries, sent out printed copies of the ancient texts with commentaries and grammars, as well as Latin translations of Greek authors, thus aiding in the revival of letters known as the Renaissance. Many of the editiones principes are not dated; sometimes the date is given in a chronogram (see Chronogram) in the preface. (See Hilson, Chronograms [London, 1882], and id. Chronograms Continued [London, 1885]). The place of publication is usually in its ancient or mediæval Latin form, but sometimes in Greek (as Enetiai for Venice), and rarely in Slavonic (as Bnezieh, Mnezik, or Mletka, for the same place). For the benefit of the student, the following list is given, comprising the names oftenest found on the title-pages of early editions: Argentorātum (Strassburg); Augusta or Augusta Vindelicōrum (Augsburg); Basilēa (Basel, Bâle); Bipontum (Deux Ponts, Zweibrücken); Bononia (Bologna); Cadomum (Caen); Caesaraugusta (Saragossa); Cantabrĭga (Cambridge); Corōna (Cronstadt); Dortrăchum (Dort, Dordrecht); Eborācum (York); Eleutheropŏlis or Francavilla (Freystadt); Gratianopŏlis (Grenoble); Hafnia or Haunia (Copenhagen); Hala (Halle); Herbipŏlis (Würzburg); Holmia (Stockholm); Insŭla or Insulae (Lille); Ispalis (Seville); Leodĭcum (Liège); Lipsia (Leipzig); Lugdūnum (Lyons); Lugdunum Batavorum (Leyden); Lutetia (Paris); Massilia (Marseilles); Matisco (Macon); Mediolānum (Milan); Moguntiăcum (Mainz, Mayence); Mons Regālis (Mondovi); Mussĭpons or Pontimussum (Pont-à-Musson); Neapŏlis (Naples); Neapŏlis Casimiriāni (Neustadt); Oenĭpons (Innsbruck); Olisĭpo, Ulyssĭpo, or Ulyssipŏlis (Lisbon); Oxonia (Oxford); Petropŏlis (St. Petersburg); Probatŏpolis (Schaffhausen); Regiomontium (Königsberg); Rotomăgus (Rouen); Sarum (Salisbury); Tarvisium (Treviso); Tournăcum (Tournai); Traiectum, Traiectum Rheni, or Ultraiectum (Utrecht); Trecae or Civĭtas Tricassōna (Troyes); Tridentum (Trent); Turŏni or Caesarodūnum (Tours); Venetia or Enetiai (Venice). See Deschamps, Dictionnaire de Géographie à l'Usage du Libraire (Paris, 1870).

Greek type (very imperfect) was first used in the edition of the De Officiis mentioned above. The first edition of a work in Greek minuscules was an edition of the grammar of Lascaris by Paravinus (Milan, 1476). In 1494 the Anthologia Graeca of Lascaris appeared at Florence, printed wholly in Greek capitals. The first edition of a classical Greek author is that of the Idyls of Theocritus (i.-xviii.), with the Works and Days of Hesiod, which was published in 1481.

The following list of the most famous of the editiones principes is taken from Gudeman's valuable Outlines of the History of Classical Philology (Boston, 1894):


1481. Theocritus (bks. i.-xviii.), together with Hesiod, Works and Days.
1488. Homer (ed. Chalcondylas). (Valla's Latin transl. of the Iliad was printed as early as 1474.)
1495. Hesiod, Opera omnia (Aldus).
1495-98. Aristotle (Aldus).
1496. Euripides, Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, Andromaché (I. Lascaris); Apollonius (Lascaris); Lucian (Florence).
1498. Aristophanes (except Lysistrata and Thesmophoriazusae), Opera omnia (Basle, 1532).
1499. Aratus (in Astronomi Vett. ap. Aldum).
1500. Callimachus, Hymns (Lascaris).
1502. Herodotus, Thucydides, Sophocles (Aldi).
1503. Euripides, Opera (except Electra, edit. by Victorius [1545], from Cod. Laurent. xxxii. 2).
1513. Plato, Oratt. Att. [Hyperides, papyrus discovered 1847]; Pindar (together with Callim., Perieg.Dionys. , Lycophron) (Aldus).
1514. Athenaeus (Aldus).
1516. Xenophon (except Agesilaüs, Apologia, Πόροι [Iunta]); Opera omnia, 1525, ap. Aldum; Strabo (transl. printed in Rome, 1470); Pausanias.
1518. Aeschylus (Aldus).
1530. Polybius (by Vincent. Opsopocus, i. e. Koch). Latin transl. by Perrotto Nic. (bks. i.-v.), printed 1473.
1533. Diogenes Laertius (Froben, Basle).
1539. Diodorus (bks. xvi.-xx.). Latin transl. (bks. i.-v.) by Poggio, 1472.
1544. Josephus (Basle).
1548. Dio Cassius (R. Stephanus).
1551. Appian.
1572. Plutarch (H. Stephanus). Latin transl. by Campanus (1471).

1465. Cicero, De Officiis (Mainz); Lactantius (Rome).
1469. Caesar, Vergil, Livy , Lucan, Apuleius, Gellius (Rome).
1470. Persius, Juvenal, Livy , Martial, Quintilian (Rome); Tacitus, Juvenal, Sallust, Horace (Venice); Terence (Strassburg).
1471. Ovid (Rome and Bonn); Nepos (Venice).
1472. Plautus (G. Merula), Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, Statius (Venice).
1473. Lucretius (Brescia).
1474. Valerius Flaccus (Bonn).
1475. Seneca's Prose Works.
1484. Seneca's Tragedies (Ferrara).
1485. Pliny the Younger (Venice).
1498. Ciceronis Opera omnia.
1520. Velleius Paterculus (Basle).

Bibliography.—See Saxe, Onomasticon (1775- 1790); Schweiger, Handbuch d. class. Bibliographie (1830-34); Hain, Repertorium Bibliographicum, 4 vols. (1838); Hoffman, Lexicon Bibliographicum, for Greek authors only, 3 vols. (1832); Brunet, Manuel du Libraire (1880); Egger, Histoire du Livre (Paris, no date); Bouchot, The Printed Book (1887); Sotheby, Principia Typographica (1858); Berjean, Early Printers' Marks (1866); Silvestre, Marques Typographiques (1867); Brunet, Connaissances Nécessaires à un Bibliophile (1872); Legrand, Bibliographie Hellénique (1885); Hawkins, First Books and Printers of the Fifteenth Century (N. Y. 1884); Humphreys, Hist. of the Art of Printing (1867); the valuable monograph, s. v. “Typography,” in the Encyclopædia Britannica, by J. H. Hessels, vol. xxiii. pp. 681-697; and the articles Lexicon; Liber; Manutius; Stephanus, in this Dictionary.

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