Musarum Panagyris.

Morgan 2.jpg


Manutius, Aldus.


Musarum Panagyris.


[Venice: Baptista de Tortis,


after March 1487 and before March 1491].


Although not issued by the Aldine Press, this small quarto comprising a mere seven printed leaves may be regarded as the “first Aldine,” as it provides the first printed evidence of Aldus’s arrival and existence in Venice. The text includes a letter to Catherine Pio, the mother of his young students Alberto and Leonello Pio, in which Aldus quotes Horace’s admiration for the Greek tongue.

To the Greeks the Muse gave genius and
Well-rounded speech. They sought nothing but glory.
You should turn these Greek models in your hands
Both day and night.

This slender volume may have served as an arrival announcement, or calling card of sorts, for the printing program that Aldus intended to undertake in Venice. His praise of Horace prefigures his desire to put the models of great literature into the hands of readers “both day and night.” This copy belonged to the Aldine bibliographer Antoine-Augustin Renouard (1765–1853), and is the only copy in North America.


From the collections of The Morgan Library & Museum.