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ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.E.). Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498.

2 volumes, super chancery folio (308 x 210 mm). Collation and contents as in the Ahmanson–Murphy Collection:

Part I (Organon, or Logic): A–C8 ?8 E–K8 L–N6 a–c8 d–e6 f–q8 r–s6. (A1r three epigrams: anonymous, Scipio Carteromachus, Aldus, Alv dedicatory letter from Aldus to Alberto Pio of Carpi, in Latin, A2r letter to the reader by Alexander Agathemeros, A2v letter by Scipio Carteromachus, A3r-N6v Porphyry’s Isagoge, Aristotle’s Categories, De interpretatione, Prior Analytics); a–c8 d–e6 (Posterior Analytics, e6v blank); f–q8 r–s6 (Topics, Sophistici Elenchi, s5v-s6r register in Greek, colophon in Latin, s6v table of contents in Latin). 234 leaves [of 234] + 2 blanks at end. Type: R2:81; Gk1; R1:108. (Some light spotting to A–A2v, marginal dampstaining to kiii–s6).

Part II (Natural Philosophy I:) ?8 ?8 +8 ?8 aa–r8 ss–z?8 &?8 A–B8 CG6 D?-GH7 (lacking HT–HT8 I8 K6: Theophrastus’s treatises on wind and stones, unidentified writers on the signs of waters and winds, register and colophon). (?1r title and table of contents in Greek and Latin, ?1v–?2v letter from Aldus to Pio of Carpi in Latin, ?3r–?8v lives of Aristotle and Theophrastus by Diogenes Laertius, life of Aristotle by Johnnes Philoponus, Galen’s introduction to philosophy); aa–r8 (Aristotle Physics, ii5v blank, 1?8 blank); mµ–z?8 &?8 A–B8 CG6v (De caelo, De generatione et corruption, Meteorology); D?-GH7v (De Mundo, Philo’s De mundo, Theophrastus’s treatises on fire). 277 leaves [of 300]. Type: R4:114; Gk1. (Marginalia in Greek in an early hand on mµ– mµ2r, also some light marginal dampstaining on mµr, some marring along gutter of ?1r, and also with some minor spotting or dust soiling, and with a library call number penned at lower margin, GH7v with some marginal dust soiling and few tiny spots, few minor marginal stains). Numerous woodcut floral and interlace headpieces, and Greek initials, woodcut diagram, neat manuscript pagination and Greek running headlines in Vol. I. Modern calf antique, contemporary red edges.

EDITIO PRINCEPS OF ARISTOTLE and all other texts included. “The complete works of Aristotle, printed by Aldus between November 1495 and June 1498, would have secured Aldus’s fame as a printer had he printed nothing else. The entire publication, issued separately but often bound in five or six volumes, represented more leaves of Greek type than had cumulatively been printed since the time of Gutenberg” (Clemons and Fletcher).

A monumental venture, Aldus employed agents to search throughout Europe for manuscripts and gather Greek scholars from across Europe to edit them. The Aldine edition restored to posterity the polymathic works of Aristotle in their original language—and the scientists and philosophers of the next several centuries would make their reputations by either expanding on or disproving their contents. The sheer scale of the work meant that it had a high price tag. In Aldus’ catalogue of 1498 the cost of the five–volume set was listed at 11 ducates, with each individual volume costing between 1.5 and 3 ducats each. This costly production hurt the commercial sales of the publication but it “represented to Aldus something more than a commercial venture: it was to be the flagship publication of his new printing house” (Aldines at the Edward Worth Library). Bod–inc A–384; BSB–Ink A–698; Goff A–858; GW 2334; ISTC ia00959000; PMM 38; UCLA 4,23.

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