RARE GIUNTI EDITIONS IN GREEK
Stephanos Peri poleōn [Στέφανος Περὶ πόλεων], Stephanus De urbibus.
Florence, per haeredes Philippi Iuntae, 1521.
Iouliou Polideykous Onomastikon [Ἰουλίου Πολυδεύκους Ὀνομαστικόν], Iulii Pollucis Onomasticon.
Florence, apud Bernardum iuntam Mense Nouembri, 1520.
Folio. 1) ff. 69, (i), a-h8 i6; 2) ff. (viii), 87, (i), AA8 A-L8. Two works in one, separate title to each. Greek letter, double column. First title with 8 lines of early annotations in Greek, occasional early marginalia throughout. Giunti’s very handsome, large printer’s device at end of first work, second with elegant white on black headpiece at beginning of text. Similar initials throughout. Very good copies, crisp and clean, in a typical C17 Macclesfield binding of polished calf, triple border, fleurons at corners, all gilt, edges speckled red.
Fine, handsome, and uncommon editions of two most important ancient works of Greek lexicography. Sixteenth-century editions of Stephanus of Byzantium’s ‘Peri poleōn’ offered an abridged version of the original sixty-book text—entitled ‘Ethnika’ (Ἐθνικά)—fragments of which could be found in the works of other ancient authors like Eustathius, as often highlighted by the anonymous and learned annotator of this copy. The ‘Ethnika’ was a compendium of ethnic names of gentile peoples from places spanning Greece, Asia Minor, Sicily, and Ireland, enriched with material on topography, local history, and mythology drawn from ancient authors. The ‘Onomastikon’, composed by the Greek grammarian Ioulios Polydeukes in the second century AD, is a lexicon of phrases and synonyms in Attic dialect. It is divided by subject, and includes invaluable information on ancient customs, mythology, and everyday life, touching on themes as varied as oracles, poetry, horses, trees, and navigation. The ‘Onomastikon’ is prefaced by a dedication from the Humanist Antonio Francini to Henry VIII’s doctor Thomas Linacre, one of the first scholars of Greek in England and a member of Aldus Manutius’s Venetian Academy.
Printed by the Giunti of Florence, both editions reprise, with a few layout variations and the addition of fine typographical ornaments, the first impressions published in 1502 by Aldus, who intended ‘Peri poleōn’ and ‘Onomastikon’ to be bound together. The beautiful typeface, usually found in Giunti Greek texts and based on Francesco Griffo’s work, sought to compete with Manutius’s distinctive font, for which he had been granted a papal privilege contested by the Giunti. These rare editions testify to the way in which Pope Leo X resolved this long-standing dispute between the two printers, by conceding a similar privilege to the Giunti as long as they printed in a slightly different style to Aldus’s.
BM STC It. p. 647; Brunet V, 531; Graesse VI, 492: ‘Cette éd. faite sur la première Aldine est beaucoup plus rare. Elle n’a point de préface’; USTC 857538.
BM STC It. p. 531; Dibdin II, 389; Graesse V, 392: ‘Simple réimpr. de l’éd. précéd.’; Brunet IV, 786: ‘Cette édition, assez belle, est une simple réimpression de la précédente’ ; Sander 5828.