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

Stock Code 111662

Rome, Zacharias Kallierges for Cornelio Benigno, 13 August 1515.

Original price $9,882.00 - Original price $9,882.00
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$9,882.00 - $9,882.00
Current price $9,882.00
The first Greek book printed in Rome. First separate edition, first edition with the scholia, and the first Greek book printed in Rome.

The editio princeps of Pindar's epinikia [victory odes] was published by Aldus Manutius in 1513 together with the works of Lycophoron, Callimachus, and Dionysius Periegetes. However, the Aldine edition lacked the correct text and accompanying explanatory scholia required by humanist readers; a requisite fulfilled for the first time by this separate edition printed by Zacharias Kallierges. It was this 1515 edition, also known as the editio Romana, that became the vulgate text for three hundred years due to its great merits.

Kallierges, an experienced Cretan printer formerly active in Venice, set up his press in the villa of Cardinal Agostino Chigi, having been invited to Rome by Pope Leo X to teach at the newly founded Ginnasio Mediceo (the Medician Greek College) in 1514. Thanks to funding from Chigi's chancellor Cornelio Benigno (with money lent by Chigi), Kallierges was able to advance on his rivals Angelo Collocci and Janus Lascaris, who planned to set up their own Greek press at the College in 1517.

The colophon describes the first quire as 'triadion' (or ternion, i.e. with 3 bifolia), which is somewhat misleading as in all copies but one it has 2 bifolia (as here). Staffan Fogelmark attributes this to the first gathering being reset after Chigi rescinded his patronage of the project, but it was too late to reset the colophon.

Described as 'the Prince of Poets' (Quintillian, 10.1.61), Pindar was 'the brightest star in the Alexandrian canon... and his influence on moderns such as Goethe and Foscolo cannot be overemphasized' (The Greek Book). His four surviving books of epinikia, one of the great monuments of Greek lyric, correspond to each of the four major festivals of the Panhellenic Games: Olympian, Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian. Many of Pindar's odes can be identified by event, champion, and year.

One of approximately 1000 copies. 'The Romana is still of great value and may easily be designated the most important Pindar edition ever' (Fogelmark, p. 38).

First separate edition, second edition overall; 4to (23 x 17 cm); woodcut devices on title of Benigno and Kallierges (caduceus and double-headed eagle respectively), Kallierges' device repeated on final verso, β1 and Α3 (opening of 'Olympia' and 'Pythia' respectively) with headings, woodcut initials, and a few lines and letters of text printed in red, woodcut initials and ornaments, some light foxing, early ownership signature to title, early ink annotation to β2, slight toning and soiling to title, hinges cracked but holding; 18th-century half vellum over speckled boards, gilt titles on leather labels to upper spine, small tear to vellum at centre of rear joint, some light rubbing and marks to boards and extremities; collation: α4 β-θ8 ι6 κ-μ8 ν-ξ6 Α-Η8 Θ10 Ι-Π8 Ρ8 (complete; with blanks ι6 and Θ10).

Legrand I, 47; Hoffmann III, 256; Adams P1219-1221; cf. Staffan Fogelmark, The Kallierges Pindar: A Study in Renaissance Greek Scholarship and Printing.

Provenance: Prince of Liechtenstein (armorial bookplate 'Ex-libris Liechtensteiniansis' to front pastedown; Vaduz Castle shelfmark 'V.6.13' to front free endpaper).


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


Stock code: 111662



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