- Manutius, Aldus
- (vernacular name, Aldo Manuzio, ca. 1452-1515)Italian humanist and teacher who became the greatest printer and publisher of the Italian Renaissance. Born at Rome, he taught at Ferrara and Carpi, and about 1490 moved to Venice. There he gave up teaching and promoted a plan to publish editions of Greek classical authors. In 1495 he entered a partnership with an established publisher, Andrea Torresani, and later married his partner's daughter. The Aldine Press published editions of both Latin and Greek authors in a small format and at a cost low enough that the editions were affordable by great numbers of humanists. The small italic type faces used for Latin books, modelled on the cursive script used in chancery schools, and the cursive Greek letters of the Greek editions exerted strong influence on the appearance of classical and hu-manistic texts throughout the 16th century.The press published first editions of many ancient Greek authors. It also published Italian vernacular works and texts by postclassical authors, including the Latin stylist and vernacular poet Pietro Bembo, the collected works of the humanist Angelo Poliziano, and the letters of the popular religious writer St. Catherine of Siena. The editorial work on Aldus' publications was done by a talented group of local and visiting humanists, including a number of exiled Greek scholars and such non-Italian luminaries as Erasmus, who matured as a Greek scholar while working in the Aldine printshop. Aldus' dream of organizing a formal academy of humanists devoted to writ-ing and even speaking Greek was never realized, but the press did at-tract a significant community of scholars and became a major center for the editing and interpretation of ancient texts. The publication of classical editions was not particularly lucrative, and there were peri-ods when the press was not very profitable.After Aldus' death in 1515, his father-in-law Torresani continued to publish under the Aldine imprint. While humanists often charged that Torresani cared only about money and not scholarship, he had provided much of the capital that made the firm possible, and even though he kept an eye on the balance sheet, he continued the general program of producing editions of classical authors and modern writ-ers. Although the publishing activity was in abeyance after the death of Torresani in 1528, from 1533 one of Aldus' sons, Paulus, revived the firm and continued as a publisher at both Venice and Rome until his death in 1574. Under Aldus' grandson (also named Aldus) the Al-dine imprint continued down to the end of the 16th century.See also Printing.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.