Item #5000912 Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek]. PINDAR, c.522–c.443 BC.
Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek].
Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek].
Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek].
Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek].
Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek].
Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek].

Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek]…
Olympia, Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia [in Greek].

Rome: Zacharias Kallierges (for Cornelio Benigno), 1515.

Quarto, [480] pp., Greek types, printed in black and red; complete with the two blank leaves; woodcut devices of a caduceus and Kallierges's double-headed eagle on the title, eagle device repeated on final leaf; modern binding of period style.

The Cretan Kallierges' Pindar: the first Greek book printed at Rome

Produced in Rome by Zacharias Kallierges, a native Cretan, Renaissance humanist and scholar, who had set up the first Greek-owned printing press in Venice in 1499, subsequently moving to Rome to set up his press there. Pindar, the classical ancient Greek lyric poet, was a perfect choice for Kallierges to put into print: the first Greek poet to reflect on the nature of poetry and on the poet's role, he was hugely prized by later writers, not least the Latin poet Horace who admiringly compared the vigour of his writing to the "uncontrollable momentum of a river that has burst its banks".

Produced in Rome by Zacharias Kallierges, a native Cretan, Renaissance humanist and scholar, who had set up the first Greek-owned printing press in Venice in 1499, subsequently moving to Rome to set up his press there. Pindar, the classical ancient Greek lyric poet, was a perfect choice for Kallierges to put into print: the first Greek poet to reflect on the nature of poetry and on the poet's role, he was hugely prized by later writers, not least the Latin poet Horace who admiringly compared the vigour of his writing to the "uncontrollable momentum of a river that has burst its banks".

Pindar's four books of epinikia or "victory odes" represent one of "the great monuments of Greek lyric" (Mathiesen). The tradition of epinikia, written to honour victorious athletes at the games, dates back to at least the 6th century BCE with verses by Simonides of Ceos surviving in fragments. Pindar's four books, which were written between about 520 and 460 BCE, are associated with the four major festivals of the Panhellenic Games: Olympian, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean. Thomas Mathiesen has demonstrated how many of the odes can be identified by event, champion, and year.

Kallierges, a native Cretan, had already established two presses at Venice before he arrived in Rome to teach under Lascaris at the newly founded Greek Gymnasium, an academy created at the behest of Pope Leo X. When working in Venice he was not only a contemporary of but also must have been close to Aldus Manutius, who played the critical role in the publication of classical texts from surviving manuscript sources. Aldus's edition of Pindar of two years earlier, the editio princeps, had offered a text of the odes alone, without the comparatively huge apparatus of scholia which appear in Kallierges' printing for the first time, and which were crucial to the scholarly understanding of Pindar throughout the centuries to come. Their extent can be seen on every page where the comparatively small printing of text is surrounded by the extensive annotations and explanations. Kallierges' edition "has always been acknowledged as textually superior" (The Greek Book, 5).

Adams P1219-1221; The Greek Book: an exhibition of Greek printing & the book arts from the 15th to the 20th centuries (New York 1997), 5; E. Layton, The 16th-century Greek Book in Italy, pp.318-29; Thomas J. Mathiesen, "Epinikion and encomium", in Apollo's lyre: Greek Music and Music Theory in Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

See also: Nigel Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy; Steffan Fogelmark, The Kallierges Pindar: A Study in Renaissance Greek Scholarship and Printing; Nicolas Barker, Aldus Manutius and the Development of Greek Script & Type in the Fifteenth Century: Anthony Hobson, "The printer of the Greek editions 'in gymnasio mediceo ad Cabillinum montem'," Studi di Biblioteconomia … in onere di Francesco Barberi.

Condition Report: A little occasional very light foxing; a very good clean copy with good margins.

Price (AUD): $14,500.00

US$9,316.92   Other currencies

Ref: #5000912

Condition Report