William Henry Parr Greswell.

A view of the early Parisian Greek press; including the lives of the Stephani; notices of other contemporary Greek printers of Paris; and various particulars of the literary and ecclesiastical history of their times (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellA view of the early Parisian Greek press; including the lives of the Stephani; notices of other contemporary Greek printers of Paris; and various particulars of the literary and ecclesiastical history of their times (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 24)
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A WORK of the following description, if
executed with diligence and fidelity, may
probably contribute to the gratification,
first, of those who take pleasure in the
perusal of literary history ; especially that
part of it which relates to what is usually
termed the Revival of Learning : secondly,
of scholars and critics, whose study it is to
ascertain the genuine texts of ancient Greek
authors : and thirdly, of such as without
this professional object in view, desire to
adorn their libraries by the acquisition of
rare and primary Greek impressions ; and
preserve them there, as choice literary cu-
riosities, venerable monuments of the learn-
ing and diligence of early printers, and in
many instances, as beautiful specimens of
early typographic art. With the restoration
of elegant literature, the origin and pro-
gress of the Parisian Greek press has con-
fessedly much connexion. Many of its pri-


mary productions commend themselves to
the learned of our times, as the representa-
tives of manuscripts now no longer found :
and as literary treasures, we observe them
richly decorated and carefully preserved,
by ancient and modern possessors, both fo-
reign and domestic. The impressions, con-
cerning which these volumes peculiarly
treat, at present constitute no inconsider-
able part of the pride and ornament of our
British Museums, and of our University
Libraries, public and collegiate. They have
a distinguished place assigned them, near
the Aldine, the Juntine, and other yet more
antique and precious specimens of the earli-
est Greek Press. Our most eminent scho-
lars have manifested a kind of enthusiastic
ardour for the acquisition of them : and
when at length, by the course of human
vicissitude, they have been dissevered from

lov'd associates, chiefs of elder art,
Teachers of wisdom; who could once beguile
Their tedious hours, and lighten every toil a :

a Lines of a " Sonnet," by the late W. Roscoe, esq. the*
author's highly respected, and much regretted friend.


others have contended for the possession of
them, even at the hazard of pecuniary sa-
crifices, which more phlegmatic calculators
would deem very excessive.

Though the Bibliographical works at pre-
sent extant are very numerous, yet such as
relate to individual Greek Printers are few.
Angelo Maria Bandini published his work
" De Florentina Juntarum Typographia,
" ejusque Censoribus," to which are added,
" Juntarum Typographic Annales ab anno
" 1497, ad 1500:" Luca, 1791, 8vo. We
have been more recently favoured with
M. Renouard's very accurate and interest-
ing " Annales de Tlmprimerie des Aide,"
a Paris, 1803, 2 voll. 8vo; and, ibid. 3 voll.
1825-6, 8vo. It is singular, that no French
scholar, having the advantage of familiar
access to the libraries of Paris, has hitherto
shewn so much concern for the literary ho-
nours of his country, as to furnish any dis-
tinct notices of the earliest Greek printers
of France; or of the rare impressions ex-
ecuted within the precincts of the Parisian
University. Maittaire indeed, an indivi-

a 4


dual of French extraction, but domiciliated
in England, about the commencement of
the last century produced his " Stephano-
" rum Historia, vitas ipsorum, & libros com-
" plectens :" (Lond. 1709, 8vo.) in which un-
dertaking he had been imperfectly antici-
pated by " Th. Janssonii ab Almeloveen de
" vitis Stephanorum Dissertatio :" Amstelod.
1683, in 12mo. Maittaire also further add-
ed his " Historia Typographorum aliquot
" Parisiensium vitas et libros complectens :"
Lond. 1717, 8vo. To the diligence and ge-
neral accuracy of that Bibliographer, great
praise is due. But his latter volume com-
prehends too little : and modern scholars
have complained, that his narrative is dull b ,
and his facts ill- arranged : so that by his
pen, these subjects have not been invested
with that degree of interest, of which they
were susceptible.

Although I have endeavoured to supply
the deficiencies of Maittaire, by including

b See Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson, vol. III. p. 249. Lond.
1793, 8vo; also Dr. Cotton's Typograph. Gazetteer, p. 218.
Oxford, 1831, 8vo.


in my account Typographers of eminence,
whom he has omitted, and by tracing the
progress of the early Parisian Greek press
in a more connected succession than he has
done ; yet it will be evident, that my prin-
cipal object has been, to give a clear and
intelligible, though succinct account of the
family of the Stephani : and more especially,
of the two most celebrated individuals of
that illustrious family of typographers, Ro-
bert Estienne I. and Henry Estienne II.
The importance attached to each of these
names, is sufficient to justify my under-
taking. Robert's history and character
claim investigation, (if they did not other-
wise,) on account of the incidental implica-
tion of his name and story with the well-
known modern controversy, respecting the
authenticity of the verse, 1 John v. 7. The
name of Henry Estienne has been brought
so prominently into remembrance, by the
late re-impression in England of his "The-
" saurus Graecae Linguae," and by that re-
newed one now under process in France,
that if Henry's fame as a scholar were not


in other respects sufficient to render his
Life an interesting subject of inquiry, yet
doubtless, all those who possess, or contem-
plate the possession of his " Thesaurus Grae-
" cus," will be gratified by any probable and
well authenticated account of the author.
To multiply words in a prefatory address,
concerning such an individual as H. Ste-
phanus, would be superfluous. But concern-
ing Robert, the renowned father of Henry,
it may not be inexpedient to subjoin the
following observations.

Robert Estienne has been frequently
mentioned by writers in the controversy
before alluded to, merely under the deno-
mination of a printer and bookseller of Pa-
ris. Readers and hearers are generally in-
fluenced by names and terms, as they are
commonly understood ; and these are de-
signations, which in present estimation cer-
tainly carry with them little authority. But
Robert is entitled to be brought forward
under the sanction of a higher, and more
dignified character ; as a very extraordi-
nary and distinguished proficient in Greek


and Roman literature : as one of the most
conspicuous restorers, and promoters of
learning : as himself both an excellent
judge, and a zealous patron of literary me-
rit : and on the whole, as one of the most
influential and patriotic characters of his
age. If these facts had not been such, the
testimonies of Thuanus which I have re-
corded c , would have been ridiculous. It
should not be forgotten, that several of the
typographers of those early days, occupied
chairs of the most important professorships
in the foreign universities ; that a consider-
able number of them were at least regarded
as accomplished scholars, personally; and
received the honours and respect due to li-
terary preeminence. But what reader of
modern times would consider printers and
booksellers, as amongst the most authorita-
tive critics of the age ? Let us add, that R.
Stephanus was also a theologian of no mean
order, though not actually of the profes-
sion : a truly efficient promoter of protest-

c Pages 347, 395, 396, of this volume.


antism, no less than some of the most con-
spicuous of those who have been denomi-
nated reformers : and less objectionably so
perhaps, than many others; because his en-
deavour was to promote that great work,
chiefly by the impression and dissemination
of the sacred scriptures d . If by attaching
himself to the church of Geneva, he pro-
fessed his adherence to those peculiar opin-
ions of its celebrated founder and head,
which are disapproved by many protestants
of our times ; this will not be deemed a
subject of reprehension in him, which was
common to all the reformed of his nation.
We know indeed, that various illustrious
divines of our own country, who at the same
period fled from persecution, and found a
temporary refuge amongst the Helvetic
churches, embraced also the peculiar no-

d Mr. Pettigrew (Bibliotheca Sussexiana, vol. I. part ii.
p. 390.) has said,, that " the Stephenses printed no less than
' ' forty-five different editions of the Bible in various languages,
" and at a time when great persecutions were raised against
" those, who professed to give publicity to the genuine Holy
" Scriptures." But is this extraordinary number really cor-
rect ?


tions of Calvin ; yet without prejudice to
their characters as excellent and pious men.
The main triumph of the reformation was
this; that it established the right of pri-
vate judgment, and caused the sacred scrip-
tures to be recognised as the rule of faith.
If some of the reformers (as fallible men)
built " upon this foundation," than which
" no other can be laid," not only "gold, sil-
" ver, precious stones," but also " wood, hay,
" stubble, every man's work shall be made
" manifest e :" the unsubstantial materials
will perish, and the solid will remain.

Furthermore, as Robert Estienne has re-
cently, and in our own days, been put upon
his trial, it seems reasonable that he should
have the benefit of his general character, so
far as it can be ascertained. Caesar in very
remote times said, "suam innocentiam
" perpetua vita esse perspectam f :" and
we still observe public men making the
same appeal. In endeavouring however,
to investigate Robert's history as minutely

e i Cor. iii. 11,12. f De Bello Gallico, lib. I. c. 40.


as practicable, I found that no satisfactory
account of his life could be obtained, apart
from the religious disputes of those times
in which he lived. Neither could Henry
Estienne's merits and achievements be just-
ly appreciated, without taking into consi-
deration the external events, which encou-
raged or impeded him, in his career of
professional excellence. Such is my apo-
logy for the brief sketches of civil and
church history, which are found in these
volumes. For the biographical and literary
notices which are superadded, I trust it is
necessary to offer none. It has been fre-
quently remarked, that bibliographical works
are generally uninteresting 5 . This is, be-
cause for the most part, they treat of titles,
colophons, and technicalities ; and are too
rigidly confined to such limits. But the
connexion between bibliography and lite-
rary history is natural and obvious. Books
invite our attention, not only to typogra-
phers, and patrons of literature, but also to

g Dr. Cotton's Typogr. Gazetteer. Preface, p. xi. note 6.


authors, commentators, and critics ; and
excite our curiosity respecting their per-
sonal circumstances, characters, and contro-
versies : and thus gradually lead us to ex-
patiate in those scenes, than which no other
can be more rationally entertaining. Under
the temptation of allurements which they
exhibit, a propensity to make larger ex-
cursions than the occasion strictly requires,
(if it be in any circumstances excusable,)
may claim indulgence in works of such a
description as the present.

With regard to my authorities, I have
not hesitated to use not only the sense, but
the words of former writers : not otherwise
solicitous to give the present work an ap-
pearance of originality, than by endeavour-
ing to accommodate their communications
and narratives to the idiom of our own
vernacular tongue. This observation more
particularly applies to the works of Chevil-
lier, Le Clerc, Maittaire, and M. Gaillard.

I beg leave to mention here, in correc-
tion of what I have stated respecting Vas-
cosan, p. 122 of this volume, that I now


find it doubtful whether he ever used the
" Insigne Fontis" as a mark in his title-
pages ; though it was certainly the distinc-
tion of his "Imprimerie." I also entreat
the candid reader's special attention to the
subjoined verbal " Errata;" which could not
be rectified in due time, on account of the
distance of my residence from the Univer-
sity press.


December 5, 1832.


Vol. I. page 2. line 15. after Paravisinum, the date, 1476, omitted in

some copies.

161. line 27- for bound, read round.
173. line 20. for gens des, read gens de.
183. line 27- for minister, read physician.
195. line 1. for fourteenth, read fifteenth.
215. line 2. for gens des lettres, read gens de lettres.
224. line 1 1 . for Viromercato, read Vicomercato.
257. line 7. for Tissot, read Tissard.
259. line 2. for Gens des, read Gens de.

Vol. II. page 168. line 8. for tracts, read MSS.




CHAPTER I. Page 1.

BRIEF sketch of the origin of Greek printing Investi-
gation of Greek capitals by Joannes Lascaris Earliest
Greek press at Paris Francis Tissard ^Egidius Gour-
mont Hieronymus Aleander Matthaeus Bolsec Impres-
sions from 1507 to 1512 inclusive.

CHAPTER II. Page 27.

Jodocus Badius Ascensius Remarkable Latin impressions by
him, from 1495-8 to 1535 inclusive Georgius Buchana-
nus Gulielmus Budseus.


Henricus Stephanus I. Latin impressions by him specified
from 1496 to 1520 Character of his press Simon Coli-
nseus Classical and other impressions by him from 1520
to 1550 Estimation and character.

CHAPTER IV. Page 95.

Earlier attempts to establish a Greek school at Paris Series
of Greek impressions resumed New Greek printers Ba-
dius Petrus Vidouve" Tory Colinaeus Christianus We-
chel Impressions, 1513 1529.

CHAPTER V. Page 117.

Series of Greek impressions continued Gerardus Morrhius
Michael Vascosanus Ant. Augurellus Petrus Gaudoul
VOL. i. b


Joannes Lodoicus Carola Guillard Conradus Neobarius
Franciscus Gryphius Jacobus Bogard 1530-1543.

CHAPTER VI. Page 143.

Hebrew and oriental printing attempted at Paris Augustino
Giustiniani Guillaume Postel Verses subjoined to his

CHAPTER VII. Page 163.

Introductory to the life of Robert Estienne Rise and pro-
gress of Lutheranism in France.


Robert Estienne His early history and Latin impressions
Thesaurus Latinus Antecedent Latin dictionaries Ear-
liest Biblia Latina Contests with the Sorbonne Profes-
sional honours Larger Biblia Hebraica. 1524 1544.

CHAPTER IX. Page 213.

Robert Estienne College Royal Opposition of the Univer-
sity Imprimerie Roy ale Characteres Regii Typographi
Regii Bindings and decorations.

CHAPTER X. Page 235.

Robert Estienne continued Typographus Regius in Graecis
His fine Greek and other impressions Renewed editions
of the Biblia SS. Latina et Hebraica Further disputes
with the divines of Paris Death of Francis I. 1540-1547.

CHAPTER XI. Page 257.

Robert Estienne continued Brief character, and sketch of
the literary court of Francis I.

CHAPTER XII. Page 285.

R. Estienne continued Petrus Castellanus Stephanus Do-


Robert Estienne continued His further contests with the


Sorbonne New Greek and other impressions O Mirifi-
cam Greek Testaments Nov. Testamentum Gr. of 1550,
in fol. Honesty of Robert vindicated from the imputa-
tions of Mr. Porson Continued enmity of the divines

CHAPTER XIV. Page 337.

Robert Estienne continued Further Greek and other im-
pressions N. Testamentum Gr. of 1551, 12mo. Prepara-
tions for quitting Paris Pierre Lyset Beza's Benedicti
Passavantii Epistola Macaronica Absurd charge of Mi-

CHAPTER XV. Page 357.

Robert Estienne continued Calvin Rise, progress, and per-
secution of Calvinism in France Its establishment at Ge-

CHAPTER XVI. Page 383.

Robert Estienne continued Retires to Geneva His " Re-
" sponsio ad Censuras" Other typographical operations
there His death and character The charge of his having
carried away the royal Greek types considered.








BEFORE I enter upon the subject now con-
templated, it may be useful by way of introduc-
tion to take a cursory view of the origin and pro-
gress of GREEK TYPOGRAPHY in Italy ; and to
bring the inquiry down to that period at least
when, by the labour and enterprise of Aldus Ma-
nutius, Greek impressions which had been ante-
cedently very rare were brought into compara-
tively general usage : for to the example of that
meritorious typographer it is doubtless principally
to be attributed, that the art of Greek printing
became familiar to many of the Cisalpine cities
and universities early in the sixteenth century,
and was practised by individual typographers of
that age too numerous for our present distinct

It is agreed that the oldest specimens of Greek


2 Sketch of the Origin

printing consist of detached passages and citations,
found in a very few of the first printed copies
of Latin authors, such as Lactantius, in Monast.
Sublacensi, anni 1465 ; the Aulus Gellius and
Apuleius of Sweynheim and Pannartz of 1469;
and some works of Bessarion, Romce, sine anno.
In all these, it is remarkable that the Greek typo-
graphy is legibly and creditably executed : where-
as the Greek introduced into the Officia and
Paradoxa of Cicero, Mediolani, per Ant. Za-
rotum, anni 1474, is so deformed as to be scarcely
legible. The first printed entirely-Greek book is
Lascaris Grammatica Gr. Mediolani, ex recog-
nitione Demetrii Cretensis, per Dionysium Para-
visinum, 4to. The character of this rare volume
is elegant and of a moderate size; resembling that
in which the same Grammar again appeared anno
1499. The same work, or a portion of it, was
repeated Greece, et cum Latino, interpretation 9
at Milan, anno 1480, 4to: and the next year, viz.
anno 1481, from the same place and press issued
Psalterium Grcecum cum Latina recognition,
both these under the revision of Joannes Crestoni,
a monk of Placentia. Maittaire believes the prin-
ter of these several impressions of Milan to have
been the same Dionysius Paravisinus.

Venice, which had hitherto vied with other ci-
ties both in the number and skill of its Latin typo-
graphers, had indeed sufficient cause of jealousy on

of Greek Printing. 3

observing the palm of earliest Greek printing thus
borne away by Milan ; yet she suffered ten years
to elapse before the commencement of an actual
rivalship in the same department. In I486, that
city produced in sacred literature a Psalterium
Grtecum 9 in profane, HomeriBatrachomyomachia.
The first was executed by Alexander, the latter
by Leonicus, both Cretans. Maittaire describes
the character of the Psalter as exhibiting a very
antique and singular appearance. The Batracho-
myomachia, nothing more legible than the former,
is however furnished with accents and breathings.
It also exhibits certain Greek scholia found in no
early edition besides ; and what is more singular,
they are arranged between the lines of the poem,
ut singulis carminibus interlineare superstet scho-
lium. Both these scholia and the title page are
printed en rouge. Such an intermixture of red
and black in every page Maittaire thinks not un-
pleasing. Of this rare volume he procured in his
own time a kind of fac-simile impression, which
is known to collectors.

Milan and Venice, then, produced the earliest
Greek impressions; but whilst they were satis-
fied with such as were of a minor description,
Florence contemplated a gigantic project, which
was to throw all past efforts into the shade. It
was nothing less than that noble edition of the
whole works of Homer, Homeri Opera Omnia,

B 2

4 Sketch of the Origin

Greece; which was finished anno 1488, in two fine
volumes, folio, by the skill and industry of the
same Demetrius of Crete, (who appears now to
have transferred his residence from Milan to Flo-
rence,) under the special revision of Demetrius
Chalcondyles, and at the expense of two patriotic
Florentine citizens. Here then was an instance
of art, starting as it were from its first rudiments
into sudden and absolute perfection. Whether, says
Maittaire, one regards the texture and colour of
the paper, the agreeable form of the characters,
the regular intervals of the lines, the fine pro-
portion of the margins, or the tout ensemble, the
combined execution and effect of the whole, even
in later times nothing more elegant and finished
has appeared.

Thus Greek typography seemed already to have
attained in a measure its ^ and maturity; as
was evinced by the specimens which we have enu-
merated. It had already forced its way through
the difficulties of so novel and extraordinary an
undertaking. Nothing now remained but to se-
cure and amplify the glory which had been ac-
quired : and this object was effected by a new
series of adventurers, who soon began to display
an honourable emulation in the same career.

In the year 1488, which was signalized by the
noble impression of the works of Homer last men-
tioned, we find that the Grammatica Grceca of

of Greek Printing. 5

Lascaris, together with the Interpretatio Latino,
of John the monk of Placentia, issued from the
press of Leonardus de Basilea, at Vicenza, in 4to.
The operations of the Greek press, however, con-
tinued as yet very slow : and it was not till after
a further interval of about five years, that another
Greek impression appeared. In 1493, a splendid
addition was made to the typographic glory of
Milan by a magnificent impression of Isocrates,
Greece. The editor of this fine book, which is
said to exhibit a remarkably pure and correct
text, was Demetrius Chalcondyles ; the printers,
Henricus de Germanus and Sebastianus ex Pon-
tremulo. Before the conclusion of the fifteenth
century the same city also distinguished itself by
the earliest edition of Suidas : Suidce Lexicon,
Greece, Mediolani, per Joan. Bissolum et Bene-
dictum Mangium, 1499: to which is prefixed an
amusing Greek dialogue a between a bookseller

a This dialogue may be found in the collection of Pr&fa-
tiones et Epistote ante 1500; and is to the following pur-

Bookseller. Come hither, student if you chance to be an
admirer of the Greek language. Student. For what purpose?
Answer quickly; for I am in haste. B. I invite you to inspect
this book, newly printed, as you see, and to buy it also; for its
contents are delightfully rich and various, and it treats of all
subjects. Nothing there is in the poetical writers, historians,
or orators, however dark or difficult, which it does not render
clear and intelligible : it explains every thing most fully and


6 Sketch of the Origin

and a student, from the pen of Stephanus Niger,
a native of Cremona and disciple of Demetrius

In 1496, Florence produced the celebrated Edi-
tio primaria of the works of Lucian, Luciani
Opera, Greece; of which the printer's name is
not specified. But amongst the most interesting
typographical curiosities of these times are certain
antecedent impressions of Florence anni 1494,
which, under the direction of Joannes Lascaris,
were executed litteris capitalibus. These were
Anthologia Grceca; Apollonii Ehodii Argo-
nautica, Gr. ; Euripidis Medea, Hippolytus, Al-
cestis, et Andromacha, Gr. ; Callimachi Hymni,
Gr. ; Gnomes Monostichoi ex diversis poetis, et

usefully. S. Are you not aware that my opinion coincides
with the common saying, " He that prates much, blunders
" often ?" B. That maxim, I am sensible, is true enough.
But the loquaciousness of Suidas is an exception from the
proverb; for he who speaks of many and different things must
necessarily say a great deal. Suidas however, abridging
many topics, has comprehended each in few words : he has

Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellA view of the early Parisian Greek press; including the lives of the Stephani; notices of other contemporary Greek printers of Paris; and various particulars of the literary and ecclesiastical history of their times (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 24)