INVENTION and DISCOVERY:
Printed Books from Fifteenth-Century Europe
An Exhibition at Bridwell Library, February 1 – May 3, 2010
|FIFTEENTH-CENTURY AUTHORS’ BOOKS||
59. SUIDAS [Greek Lexicon]. Edited by Demetrius Chalcondylas (1423–1511). Milan: Johannes Bissolus and Benedictus Mangius, for Demetrius Chalcondylas, 15 November 1499.
The Suidas (Greek for “fortress”), a tenth-century Greek encyclopedia with more than 30,000 entries, was valued by Renaissance philologists for its authoritative definitions and etymologies, as well as its quotations from many Classical and early Christian sources that otherwise had been lost. This first edition was printed at the expense of its Athenian-born editor, Demetrius Chalcondylas, one of the preeminent Greek scholars of the Renaissance. His contract for printing this edition called for 800 copies on paper “a little larger than median,” to be sold for three gold ducats per copy. The special paper size enhanced the book’s grandeur and provided wide margins for notes.
The margins in Bridwell Library’s copy bear copious
annotations in Latin and Greek. Three of the longer notes were signed by
Daniel Cajetanus (1461–1528) of Cremona, a scholar best known for his Latin
commentary on Seneca’s Tragoediae, first printed in Venice in 1493.
On the colophon leaf, Cajetanus noted his ownership of the book: “Iste
Suidas est Danielis Caietani de Cremona.” Below this inscription he
added a long note concerning his family on 1 June 1512, the day his father
Alexander died at the age of 75.
may not be published without the permission of Bridwell Library.