Aldus, ethnology, font, geography, italic, metallurgy, Petrarch, press, Strabo, typography
Strabon Peri Geografias. Strabo de Sitv orbis
Venetiis, in aedibvs Aldi, et Andreae soceri, 1516
First printed edition of the original Greek text
Strabo’s Geographia was the first attempt to collect all the geographical knowledge available at the time and to compose a general treatise on geography. Strabo designed his work for the statesman, rather than for the student, giving a general sketch of the character, physical peculiarities and natural productions of each country. The descriptions were invaluable for their wealth of information regarding ethnology, trade, and metallurgy.
The impact of early printers on their world was extraordinary. The works Aldus Manutius chose to print reflected the great diversity of the interests of his day. He printed Greek and Latin classical texts, grammars, religious writings, secular writings, political and scientific writings, histories, and geographies.
Aldus influenced his world with his craft as well as his scholarly pursuits. His work was recognized for its attractive and readable typography, clean lines and fine design. He designed and cut the first complete font of the Greek alphabet. He helped design a type after Italian cursive script said to be based upon the handwriting of Petrarch. This was the first italic font used in books. Well aware of the power of the press, he was particularly concerned with producing books of small format and low cost for the benefit of students.
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