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Horatio F. (Horatio Forbes) Brown.

The Venetian printing press. An historical study based upon documents for the most part hitherto unpublished online

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FROM THE



BENNO LOEWY LIBRARY

COLLECTED BY

BENNO LOEWY

1854-1919

BEQUEATHED TO CORNELL UNIVERSITY



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THE VENETIAN PRINTING PRESS.




PUBLISHER'S NOTE.

Two hundred and sixly-Jive Copies of this Work printed for England,
and Tzvo hundred and fifty-five Copies for G. P. Putnam's
Sons, New York. Each Copy numbered, and the Type distributed.
No. djy



/



THE



VENETIAN PRINTING PRESS



AN



HISTORICAL STUDY



BASED UPON DOCUMENTS FOR THE MOST PART



HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED.



BY



HORATIO F. BROWN.



PVITH TWENTT-rWO FACSIMILES OF EARLY PRINTING.




NEW YORK : G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS.
LONDON: JOHN C. NIMMO.



MDCCCXCI.



CHISWICK PRESS : C. WHITTINGHAM AND CO., TOOKS COURT,

CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



TO

MY FRIEND

JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS.



PREFACE.




HIS book consists of two parts. First, an historical study
of the Venetian Printing Press from its origin down to the
fall of the Repubhc, based, in a large degree, upon the
documents which form the second part of the book.

In this study I trace the history of the Venetian press
from its introduction, through the sixteenth century — noting
especially how press legislation grew up, preceded by custom and pra6tice,
and then formulated in law ; how the government dealt with such questions
as copyright, protection, and censorship ; how the Guild of Printers and
Booksellers was founded and governed ; how the book trade came under the
influence of the Index and the Inquisitorial censorship, and how the Republic
endeavoured to proteCt the trade, thereby involving itself in a long struggle
with the Church of Rome — till we reach the slow decline of the Venetian
press through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in spite of the legis-
lation which was designed to preserve it.

I have called the work a study, rather than a history of the Venetian
press, because I feel that a true history of that press would require far more
bibliographical knowledge than I possess. This book will have fulfilled its
purpose if it serves as a pioneer along a line of research which has never been
adequately explored, except at its beginning, and then almost entirely from
a bibliographical, not from an historical or legal point of view.

The second part of the book contains the documents which served as a
basis for the study. By far the larger part are published now for the first
time. In some cases I have reprinted documents which have already seen
the light, because I know that they are difficult of access to English students.
These documents fall into several groups.

I . The laws of the Republic on the subjed of the printing press and
the book trade. Though many of these laws were printed on loose sheets at
the time of their issue, for use among the officials and the book trade, and



viii Preface.

still exist here and there as curiosities, yet I believe they are now colleded
and published together for the first time.

2. A table showing the number of monopolies, copyrights, imprimaturs,
and patents granted by the College, the Senate, or the Council of Ten, from
the year 1469 to 1596. The late Professor Rinaldo Fulin published in the
Archivio Veneto (tom. xxiii. parte i) an abstrad of these documents down to
the year 1526. From that year onwards I transcribed the originals in full,
and have referred to them in the course of my Introdudion. But in the
process of printing the present volume it was found impossible to include
them, owing to their bulk. I hope to offer them as a supplement, should
the reception of this book justify the belief that the pubhc desires to
possess them.

3. The Mariegole, or matriculation book of the Guild of Printers and
Booksellers, containing the first bye-laws of the corporation, is transcribed
from the unpublished original now at the Museo Civico di Venezia.

4. A selection of documents from the unpublished minute-book of the
Guild of Printers and Booksellers, bound up with the Mariegole.

5. Documents illustrating the relations between the Curia and the
Republic on the question of the book trade. They are all of the nature of
ConsuUe^ox official memorials presented, on the invitation of the government,
by its own officers or experts.

6. The list of Venetian printers and booksellers is based on Emmanuele
Cicogna's unpublished MS, list, now at the Museo Civico. But I have been
able to add a considerable number of names from other sources, though the
list is, no doubt, incomplete.

7. The analysis of press prosecutions before the Holy Office in Venice
has been compiled diredly from the documents of the Venetian Inquisition
now at the Frari,

8. The entries in the Bookseller's Journal of 1484 have been tran-
scribed from the MS. at the Marciana Library in Venice (CI. xi. Cod. xlv.).
Sig. B. Calore, of the State Archives, has called my attention to a similar
day-book now at the Frari, but as yet uncatalogued. It is marked on the
outside '* 1596, Baratti^ A." The first entry is dated 1596, and the last
1603.

Mr. T. W. Allen has given me most valuable help and advice while
reading the proofs of the earlier chapters. My thanks are due to Sig.
Giovanni Saccardo for his constant helpfulness, especially in indicating such
useful sources of information as Morelli's Zihaldoni and the Valuation Rolls
{Estiiiio) of the Republic; also to Com. Castellani, the Prefed of the
Marciana, for his courtesy in allowing me to make facsimiles of several
specimens of early Venetian printing. Sig. Castellani's interesting work,



Preface. ix

La Stampa in Venezia^ appeared when these sheets had already gone to the
printers; but I have been able to avail myself of the information it con-
tained, acknowledging my debts in their proper place. Mr. Blades' valuable
monograph on Signatures appeared after the sheets were passed for press ; so,
too, did Sig. Bernoni's Dei Torresani^ Blado e Ragazoni^ Milano, Hocpli. I
further wish to express my gratitude to Sig. Camillo nobile Soranzo of the
Marciana, to the Abbate Nicoletti of the Museo Civico, and to Sig. Giomo
of the Archivio di Stato for their unfailing help and courtesy. The late
Direftor of the Archivio, Com. Cecchetti, is now beyond the reach of
thanks. His death is an irreparable loss, and to him above all I feel myself
indebted.

Horatio F. Brown.




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CONTENTS.



CHAPTER 1.



[1461.] 1469 — 1470.



THE FIRST BOOKS AND THEIR PRINTERS.



PAGE



The Decor Puellanim and the date 1461 — The date attacked — Arguments in favour
of the date, (i) the date itself, (2) contemporary evidence, Italian and foreign,
(3) popular tradition, (4) official tradition — Arguments against the date, (l) decree
of the Cabinet, (2) colophon of the Epistolee Fatnilinres, (3) Jenson's silence from
1461 to 1470, (4) identity of the Decor Puellarum with the editions of 147 1



CHAPTER II.



1469 — 1481.



JOHN OF SPEYER AND NICOLAS JENSON.



Death of John of Speyer — His works— Number of copies he printed — Nicolas Jenson,
his birthplace and early life — He settles in Venice — His first books — Amount
of w^ork he produced — His fame — Made Count Palatine — His wealth — His home
and family— Reported sale of his charafter — His partnerships — His death — The
firm of John of Cologne, Nicolas Jenson, and associates . . . • •



CHAPTER III.
1469 — 1481.



HOW THEY PRINTED.



Roman, Gothic, and Greek charafter— Double columns— Signatures— Catchwords-
Registers— Numeration— Imprints— Format— Capitals and initials— Colophons
and prefaces — Paper — Ink — Cost of an edition — Partnerships ....



17



xii Contefifs.

CHAPTER IV.
1470— 1515.

FROM JENSON TO ALDUS.



PAGE



The spread of the art — German printers— Christopher Valdarfer — Clcmente da Padova
— Philippus Vcnetiis— Erhard Ratdolt, Bernard Piftor, and Peter Loslein — The
brothers de Gregoriis, Matheo de Co de ca— Benalius de Benaliis— Andrea de
Torresani — Ottaviano Scotto — Alessandro Paganino— The book-buying public and
the book-market — Extension of the market, and decline in the quality of books . 28



CHAPTER V.

1484 — 1485.

A BOOKSELLER OF 1 484.

A bookseller's journal — What he sold — His prices — The books in greatest demand — His

stock-in-trade — His gains .......... 36



CHAPTER VI.
1490— 1 515.

THE EPOCH OF ALDUS.

Early publications of novels, music, geography, Eastern languages — The advent of
Aldus — Two aspefts of his work: (i) as scholar, as Hellenist and Humanist;
(2) as typographer — His Greek press — Aldus at Sant' Agostino — Rival Greek
presses: Gabriel da Brisighclla and ZacchariaCaliergi — The Aldine or Neacademia
— Aldus as editor — Use of ancient codices as copy — Latin press — Aldus as
printer — Greek charadler — Roman charadfer — Italic charadter — Consequences of
the adoption of this charafter — Forgeries — Aldus at San Paternian — His first will
— His death and funeral ........... 40



CHAPTER Vn.
1469— 1517.

BOOKS BEFORE LEGISLATION.

The importance of the Venetian Press — The government and the book trade :
proteftion of the art and protedion against the art — Various kinds of privileges :
(l) Monopolies ; (2) copyright to author ; (3) copyright to editor ; (4) patents;



Contents. xiii



CHAPTER IX.
1517— 154.9.

EARLIEST LEGISLATION.

Objefts : (i) formulation of custom and precedent ; (2) proteflion and encourage-
ment of the trade ; (3) proteftion of the consumer against bad workmanship ;
(4) definition of literary proprietorship ; (5) creation of a censorial board —
Copyright, 1517 — Censorship, 1526 — Copyright and workmanship, 1533 and
1537 — Decline of the art and reasons for this — Censorial board, 1544 — Literary
property, 1544-5 — Foreign imprints, 1547 — Appearance of the index ot pro-
hibited books — Creation of the guild of printers and booksellers .



PACK



(5) proteftion, (a) of individual, (/>) of art — Petitions for privileges — Certificates
in support of petitions — Conditions attached to privileges, (a) as regards the
quality of the work, (,'5) as regards the speed of produdion, (y) as regards the
rights of others — Duration of privileges — Enforcement of privileges ... 50



CHAPTER Vni.
1469 — 1528.

BOOKS BEFORE LEGISLATION.

Protedlion against the art — Censorship of three kinds : (i) religious, testamurs and
imprimaturs; (2) literary, Marcus Musurus and Andrea Navagero ; (3) moral,
subdivided into (o) public or political morality, and (/(3) private morality — The
case of Alvise Cinthio degli Fabritii — Resume ....... 60



CHAPTER X.

1549— 1595.

THE GUILD OF PRINTERS AND BOOKSELLERS.

Mariegok of the guild — Bye-laws of the guild — Delays in the formation of the guild
— Minute-book of the guild — Legislation by the guild — Taxation — Disorders
in the guild — Jurisdidlion of the guild ....•••• °3



xiv Co7itents.

CHAPTER XI.
1549— 1596.

THE GOVERNMENT AND THE GUILD.

PAGE

Excessive legislation — The clandestine press ........ 92

CHAPTER Xir.
1 500 — 1600.

THE VENETIAN PRESS IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

Copyright — Duration of copyright — Penalties for infringement of copyright — Average
number of copyrights per annum — Refusal of copyright — Cost of printing in
Venice — Decline in the V^enctian press — The centres of the book trade and of the
printing presses — Signs — Distinguished names — Romances — Maps — Travels —
Tariffs — Engraving — Greek — Hebrew — Oriental languages — Music ... 96

CHAPTER Xni.
1548— 1593.

THE INQUISITION.



The Holy Office in Venice ; its position and powers; the lay assessors — Composition
of the tribunal^Archivc of the Holy Office — Procedure — Penalties — The case of
Francesco Stella .......



CHAPTER XIV.
1548— 1593.

THE INDEX AND THE BOOK TRADE.

The crucial moment in the history of the Venetian Press — Partot a wider subjeft, the
quarrel between the Church and the State^ — First independent censorial adfion on
the part of the Church — Bishop Franco of Treviso — Earliest catalogues of pro-
hibited books — Paris— Louvain — La Casa's Catalogue in Venice — Its true date —
The Council of Ten take adion to support the Catalogue— The Catalogue of the
Venetian Inquisition, 1554 — The Inquisition and the custom house — The Index
of Paul IV., 1559 — Its reception — The Moderatio Indicis of 1 561 — The Triden-



109



Contents. xv

PAGE

tine Index and the Ten Regul^e, 1564 — The Tenth Rule and the press laws of
Venice — Reception of the Tridentinc Index — Its effcd — First signs of disagree-
ment between Venice and Rome — The Bull in ccena Domini — The Congregation
of the Index, J 57 I — The Sixtine Index, 1590 — Clement VIII., 1592 . .122



CHAPTER XV.
1593—1596-

CLEMENT VIII. AND THE REPUBLIC.

Paolo Paruta, Venetian ambassador at Rome — The case of Margounios, Bishop of
Cythera — The Clementine Index prepared — Delayed — Paruta's remonstrance —
The case of Domenico Bassa — The case of the Inquisitor of Bergamo . . 135



CHAPTER XVI.
1596.

THE CLEMENTINE INDEX AND THE CONCORDAT.

Publication of the Index ; its date — The hntrudio — The protest of Venetian printers
and booksellers — The adlion of the Republic — The Concordat signed — Its terms
— The attitude of Venice towards the Church . . . . . . • H+

CHAPTER XVII.
1596 — 1623.

THE ECCLESIASTICAL ATTACK ON THE CONCORDAT.

The position Venice desired to assume — Clause Seven of the Concordat, and the
corollaries Venice deduced from it — Venice still Catholic — Double attitude the
cause of weakness — The praftical success of the Church . . . • • '53

CHAPTER XVIII.
1605 — 1650.

THE INTERDICT AND FRA PAOLO SARPL

The quarrel continued — The immediate causes of the Interdift — The adjustment of
the quarrel — Era Paolo Sarpi ; his championship of the Republic and his views on
the relation of Church to State — The attempt to suppress discussion of the Inter-



xvi Contents.



PACE



dift — The case of Giovanni Battista Ciotto — Violation of the Concordat — Sarpi's
Consulta siilln rcgolaziofic delle Stampe — The three classes 0*1 books created by the
seventh clause of the Concordat ; and examples^Sarpi's advice contained in the
Diicono sopra le Stiwtpe and the Discorso sopra P Inquisitione — His conclusions —
Resume of Sarpi's position — Efforts of the government to make good this position
— Success of the Church in delcating it . . . . . . . .158



CHAPTER XIX.
1600 — 1699.

PRESS LEGISLATION DURING THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

Its inefficiency — Multifarious legislation — Official proofreaders — The Senate ceases to
be the fountain of copyright — The Guild takes its place — The rights of the Library
of St. Mark — The Superintendent of the Press — The tariff" of the official readers
— The four groups of press laws in this century ; their excellence and inefficiency
— The reason for this . . . . . . . . . . .174



CHAPTER XX.
1604 — 1699.

THE GUILD DURING THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

Its powers increased — Its powers over the press of Venice — Internal difficulties and

abuses — The income and the taxation of the guild — The guild hall . . .181



CHAPTER XXI.
1700 — 1796.

PRESS LEGISLATION AND THE GUILD DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

The list of members— Taxation of the guild— The admission of bookbinders— Exami-
nation of candidates as binders, as booksellers, and as printers — Revival of the
office of Superintendent — Efforts to restore the quality of printing — Tariff" for
printing in various types— Official examination of type-foundries- Attempt to
regulate supply to demand— Eff'orts to restore the quality of paper and of ink—
The end of the guild — Resume ,gc



Contents.



xvii



CHAPTER XXIT.



1765 — 1796.



LAST WORDS WITH ROME.



The report on the printing press presented in 1765 — Official review ot the history of
the press in Venice ; the causes of its decline, and remedies proposed — The posi-
tion of the Inquisitor — Appointment of a Venetian subjeft, an ecclesiastic, to work
with him — Opposition at Rome — Pietro Franceschi's opinion — Venice refuses to
withdraw the order of 1765 — Fall of the Republic ......



PAGE



196



DOCUMENTS.



I. Laws of the Republic relating to the printing press ....

II. Analysis of the number of monopolies, copyrights and patents (1469 — 1596)

III. Mariegole of the Guild of Printers and Booksellers ....

IV. Minute-book of the Guild of Printers and Booksellers ....
V. Documents illustrating the relations between Rome and Venice on the subjcft

of the printing press .........

VI. Catalogue of Venetian printers and booksellers (1469 — 1796)

VII. Trials before the Holy Office for press offences (1547 — 1730)

VIII. Abstrafts from a bookseller's day-book (1484)

Index .........•••••



205

235
241

249

337

395
421

429
453



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



1. Jenson. Decor Puellarum. A. 14.61 [1471] .

2. Jenson. „ ,, B. 1461 [1471] .

3. Jenson. „ „ Colophon. 1461 [1471]

4. John of Speyer. Pliny, De N at ttrali Historic. 1469

5. John and Windelin of Speyer. S. Augustine, De Civitate Dei.

6. Jenson. Cicero, Episto!^ ad Jtticiim. 1470

7. Jenson. Cicero, Epistola Familiares. 147 1

8. Valdarfer. Bessarion, Oratio. 1 47 1

9. Gabriele di Piero. Boccaccio, Philocolo. 1472

10. Ratdolt. Coriolanus Cepio, Mocenhi gesta. 1477

11. Ratdolt. Fasciculus tetnporufn. 1480

12. Alessandro Paganino. Xenophon, Fita di Cyro. I 5 27

13. Laonico Cretese. Womcr, Batrachomyomachia. i486

14. Aldus. Aristotle, Opera. 1495

15. Gabriel Braccio. ^sop, Fabula. 1498 .

16. Caliergi. Suidas, Etymologicum. 1 499

17. Marcantonio Justinian. Psalter. 1546 .

18. Marcantonio Justinian. Pentateuch. 1551

19. Domenico Guerra. Manoli Blessi. 1571 ?

20. Antonio Gardano. Archadelt, M/^r/g-^//. 1539

21. Antonio Gardano. „ „ ^539

22. Buglhat, de Campis, Hucher. N\o\^, Madrigali. 1539



to face page



1470



2
2
2

10
10
I 2

»9

29

29

30
3'
33
42

+3
43

4+
104
106
107
108
108
108






LIST OF THE MORE IMPORTANT WORKS REFERRED

TO IN THIS BOOK.

1. Yi-Am, Repertorlum Bibliographicum. Stuttgartias. Sumptibus Cotta;. 1838. 4 vols.

2. VdLnzQT, Jniiaks Typogrtiph'ui. Norimbergae. 1793- 1803. 1 i vols.

3. Hohro^, Catalogus librorutn s^eculo XV impressorim. Hagae Comitum. 1856.

4. Paitoni, Ve7iexia la prima cltta ftiori della Gcrmania ove si esercito la stampa. Venczia.
1756.

5. Sardini, Esame sui principii della Francese ed Italiana tipografia, ovvero storia critica di
Nicolao Jenson. Lucca. 1796. 2 vols.

6. Renoiiard, Annales de rimprimerie des Aides. Paris. 1803. 3 vols.

7. VixdiOt, Aide Manuce. Paris. 1875.

8. Fulin, Documenti per servire alia storia della tipografia Venexiana. Venczia. Visentini.
1882.

9. Berlan, La introdiixione della stampa in Milario. Venczia. 1884.

10. Reusch, Der Index der Verbotenen Biichcr. Bonn. Cohen. 1883, 1885. 2 vols.

11. QcQchctii, La Republiea di yenezia e laCorte di Rof/ia. Venczia. Naratovich. 1874.
2 vols.

12. Romanin, Storia documentata di Venezia. Venczia. Naratovich. 1853-1861.
10 vols.

13. Sarpi, Opere. Helmstat. 1761. 8 vols.

14. Zaccaria, Storia Polernica delle proibizione de' Libri. Roma. 1777.

15. Legrand, Bibliographie Helleniqiie. Paris. Lc Rotix. 1885. 2 vols.

16. Omont, Specimens de cara£leres Hebreux, Grecs, Latins, et de musique graves a Fenise et
a Paris par Guillaiime le Be. Paris. 1889.

17. VzssdLno, 1 novellieri italiani. Torino. 1878. 2 vols.

18. Q'lQogm, Iscrizioni l^eneziane. Venezia. 1824- 1853. 6 vols.

19. Qaco^z, Bibliografia Veneziana. Venezia. 1847.

20. Soranzo, Bibliografia Veneziana. Venezia. 1885.

21. Sanuto, Z)/<7r/V. Venezia. 1879. In course of publication.

22. Paruta, La Legazione di Roma. Deputazione Veneta di Storia Patria. Seric IV.
Miscellanea. Vol. VII. Venczia. 3 vols.

23. Fisher, IntrodiiBion to a Catalogue of Early Italian Prints. London. 1888.

24. Archivio Veneto.

25. Morelli, Zibaldoni MSS. at the Musco Civico di Venezia.

26. Rossi, Costumi. MSS. at the Marciana.

27. Meermann, Origines Typographical. Hagae Comitum. 1765. 2 vols.

28. Maittaire, Annales Typographici. Hagae Comitum. 1 7 19. 9 vols.

29. Ytmno, Storia ed analizi degli antichi Rofnanzidi Cavalleria. Milano. 1828. 5 vols.

30. Castellani, La stampa in Venezia dalla sua origine alia niorte di Aide Manuzio seniore.
Venezia. Ongania. 1889.

31. Qz%x.€[\&n\,I privilegi di Stampa e la proprietaletterariain Fenezja. Venezia. Visentini.

1888.



THE VENETIAN PRINTING PRESS.



CHAPTER I.

[1461.] 1469 — 1470.

THE FIRST BOOKS AND THEIR PRINTERS.

The Decor Puellarum and the date 1461 — The date attacked — Arguments in favour of
the date, (1) the date itself, (2) contemporary evidence, Italian and foreign, (3) popular
tradition, (4) official tradition — Arguments against the date, (i) decree of the Cabinet, (2)
colophon of the Epistola Familiares, (3) Jenson's silence from 1461 to 1470,(4) identity of
the Decor Puellarum with the editions of 147 1.

OWEVER large may be the share which Italy took in the
application and development of typography, she can lay no
claim to the invention of the art of printing with moveable
type. Even if we take the earliest date which can be assigned
to a book printed in Italy, it is certain that Germany had
preceded her by several years. German printers brought
the new art, already matured, across the Alps ; and whatever may be the
subsequent glories of the Italian press, however honourable her position as
foster-mother to typography, she cannot wear the laurels of invention on
her brow.

At the very outset of our study we are met by a difficulty upon this
question. What is the earliest date which may be assigned to a book printed
in Italy ? This question is closely connedled with the special subjed of this
treatise — the Printing Press of Venice — and introduces us immediately to
the origins of that Press.

The year 1465 is now almost universally assigned as the date of the

B




2 The Venetian Printing Press.

first type issue from any Italian press/ That year is the date which appears in
the Latlantius, printed at Subiaco by Sweynheym and Pannartz." There is,
however, another book in existence, which, by the date it bears, contests the
priority of the Subiaco La5lantius. This book is the famous Becor Puel-
larum'^ printed, as the colophon declares, by Nicolas Jenson in the year

1 46 1. -,11

The Becor Puellarum is a book of instrudion to young girls how best
to rule their lives. It was composed, most probably, by a Carthusian monk,
Giovanni Corner, known, under his conventual name of Giovanni di Dio, as
the author of several other similar works of devotion. The writer speaks
olnoi altri Certosini ; and there is sufficient proof from internal evidence* that
the book was written by a Venetian for Venetian girls. The book is not
very rare; but before its date was impeached, it commanded large prices as
the earliest monument of Italian typography. The Decor Puellarum is a small
quarto volume, intended for the pocket; it contains 118 leaves unnumbered ;
it has twenty-two and twenty-three lines to the page, and thirty-three words
to the line. The type is Roman; the height of composition 126 mm., and
its width 75 mm. There are no signatures nor catchwords. There
is no title-page, but the title is given in majuscule at the head of the first
page. The colophon is printed in the same type as the title. No place of
printing is named. ^

The date 1461 has been attacked. It is said that MCCCCLXI. was

^ From papers in the archive of the Barbarigo family it appears that, in 1447-8, a certain
Zuan de Biaxio bidclo e miniador da Bologna possessed forme, i.e. wood blocks, da stampar donadi
et salterj. Archivio Vetieto, tom. xxix. p. 88. The exemption of books from customs dues is
recorded in 1433. Ihid. p. 89.

^ Hain, *9,8o6. The Ladantius is the first book with a date printed at Subiaco. But on
the authority of Sweynheym and Pannartz themselves, a Donatus, now lost, preceded the LaSlan-
tius. In their appeal to Pope Sixtus IV., dated 1472, they speak of Donatus pro puerulis,



Online LibraryHoratio F. (Horatio Forbes) BrownThe Venetian printing press. An historical study based upon documents for the most part hitherto unpublished → online text (page 1 of 53)