1489: Musarum Panagyris, Spencer 20927

Aldus first studied in Rome and then Ferrara before spending two years living with his friend Pico della Mirandola, another famous Italian scholar. Together they spent their time studying Greek literature, inspired by the revival of Greek learning in Italy that followed the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In 1484 he became tutor to Alberto and Lionello Pio, princes of Carpi. His first published work was Musarum Panagyris (a eulogy to the Muses), dedicated to his students, praising the value of a classical education.

Fol. a2 recto, opening text. Spencer 20927

Fol. a2 recto, opening text. Spencer 20927

It was probably printed by the Venetian printer Baptistis de Tortis in 1489 and may only have been distributed in limited numbers. Today it is very rare, with no other copy in Britain and other copies held at Sélestat Bibliothèque Municipale, Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Università di Bologna, Universitá degli Studi di Napoli, Biblioteka Jagiellońska and the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.

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