Manutius, Aldus.




Venice: Aldus Manutius,


16 March 1503.


Counterfeits and piracies of Aldus’s publications appeared with great regularity in the early years of the 16th century, prompting Aldus to issue this broadside proclamation, preserved in a unique copy in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Aldus complains that “it happens that in the city of Lyon our books appeared under my name, but full of errors … and deceived unwary buyers due to the similarity of typography and format (enchiridii forma) …. Furthermore, the paper is of poor quality and has a heavy odor, and the typography, if you examine it closely, exudes a sort of (as I would phrase it) ‘Frenchiness’.”

The document proceeds to list specific typographical errors that readers can rely on to distinguish the counterfeits from the genuine Aldine imprints. The Lyonese printers, no doubt grateful to Aldus for pointing out their imperfections, promptly made the necessary corrections and continued to pirate Aldine editions.


Reproduced from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Gr. 3064