Core Curriculum : Literature Humanities

Homer > Pre-1501

H-300 Homer

Homer. Works

Florence: Bernardus Nerius Nerlius and Demetrius Damilas, 1488/89

Columbia RBML Goff H-300 (on Digital Scriptorium)



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Editio princeps of Homer. The first edition, or editio princeps, of Homer’s works was produced in Florence in 1488/89 and published by Bernardus Nerius Nerlius and Demetrius Damilas. Of interest in this incunable edition of the Iliad and Odyssey are the missing verses in Book 6 and some inverted lines in Book 13 that demonstrate that the manuscript described below (Plimpton MS 3) was produced from this edition.  Because the errors derive from incorrect imposition of the text (the layout of individual pages on larger pieces of paper during printing) we can attribute the mistake to a printing rather than a scribal error.  The manuscript also includes Demetrios Chalcondyles’s dedication to Piero dei Medici, which was produced for the editio princeps.
The advent of mechanical--and later digital--reproductive technologies to this day has not entirely superseded handwriting.  From the last half of the fifteenth century well into the eighteenth, manuscript and print production of entire texts existed side by side. Some notable collectors distrusted the new technology but often it was merely more expedient to copy a printed book to which you had access than to track down another copy. More information on and images from this volume can be viewed through the Digital Scriptorium. Search by author or shelfmark: Incunable H-300.


Plimpton MS 003 -- Homer

Homer. Works

Columbia RBML Plimpton MS 3

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Manuscript copied from the editio princeps. We might assume that manuscripts precede and are then superseded by print technologies but this late fifteenth-century manuscript gives evidence against that.  This manuscript imitates the short lines and page layout of the printed edition (the editio princeps by Nerlius and Damilas, 1488/89) from which it was copied, and furthermore repeats the errors generated from a misimposition of the text whereby entire pages were bound out of order.  We know that it is a copy because it includes the preface produced for the editio princeps and repeats the transposed verses generated by a printing mistake.  You can access more images from this volume through the Digital Scriptorium, shelfmark Plimpton MS 3.

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