The First Edition of Pindar’s Odes

Pindar; Callimachus; Dionysius Periegetes; Lycophron

[Title in Greek and Latin:] Pindar: Olympia. Pythia. Nemea. Isthmia. Callimachus: Hymni; Dionysius Periegetes: De Situ Orbis. Lycophron: Alexandra

Venice: Aldus Manutius and Andrea Torresani, January 1513


Octavo: 15.8 x 10 cm. Collation: *8, 1-24 in 8s. 188 leaves, including final blank. Types: 1:80 italic, 90 Greek.


Bound in 18th c. stiff vellum, possibly a deftly executed early 19th c. remboîtage. Attractive spine labels, gilt. Aldine device on title. A very fine copy, the text crisp and bright, with two bifolia uncut, and a few minor faults: title and second leaf lightly soiled and with small repairs, touching a few letters; just the faintest marginal foxing to 3 signatures, the lightest of damp-stains in the gutter of sig. 23, colophon leaf lightly soiled, slight ink mark to leaf 51. Complete with the final blank.

The editio princeps of Pindar’s odes. With the second editions of Callimachus’ hymns and Dionysius Periegetes’ “De Situ Orbis”, and the first edition of Lycophron’s “Alexandra”. This "particularly elegant edition" combines Aldus’s portable octavo format with his attractive large Greek typeface.” (Fletcher)

The text is dedicated to Aldus' friend Andrea Navagero. In the preface, Aldus writes of his decision to return to printing after leaving the business between June, 1509, and June, 1512, because of the French invasions. Of his unsuccessful attempt to secure his war-ravaged country estates he notes: "Although I got [to my estates] alive, the [new inhabitants] rudely said to me, 'This land belongs to me. You former owners, get out!' So since I was making no progress and my own ill luck and the fires of the war appeared to be starting all over again . . . I returned to Venice, which we might call 'another Athens.'"(BYU)

In a forthcoming article in the Princeton University Library Chronicle, Douglas Bauer draws new attention to Pindar’s ode Olympian 13, where the word αἰδῶ (“prestige” or “self-respect”) is misprinted ἀλδῶ, the Greek form of Aldus’s own name. That serves to turn the meaning of the passage into something like, “Zeus, grant the sweet good fortune of happiness to Aldus.” This is perhaps a simple typographical mistake, but Bauer suggests that it was a private signature on Aldus’s dedication of the book to his friend Andrea Navagero.(Grolier)

Ahmanson-Murphy 92; Renouard 64.9; Clemons and Fletcher 46; Aldo Manuzio tipografo 110; Adams P-1218