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First italic type by Francesco Griffo , 1501
Title page of an Aldine with the publisher's signature

Aldinen is the name given to the books that were published by the Manutius printer dynasty in Venice between 1501 and 1598 and that are printed in italics . They practically initiated the development of paperbacks .


Aldus Manutius founded the Aldina printing company in Venice in 1494. The printer's trademarks were the Latin motto festina lente - to translate with haste with a little while  - and the anchor and dolphin logo . The anchor was a symbol of reliability and solidity, the dolphin a symbol of speed.

Manutius introduced the octave format for his books , while the manuscripts and incunabula had the (larger) quarto or folio format . He replaced the wooden inlays in the book covers with cardboard so that the books were lighter in weight and easier to handle.

The new format required new types of printing. The cursive used for the Aldinen is based on the handwritten humanistic cursive of the time. The font designed for the edition of Greek texts consisted of three hundred types because of the large number of variants and ligatures , but was no longer used after the completion of the Aristotle edition designed by Francesco Griffo , but was replaced by one that was less complex for the typesetter.

The printed products with this trademark soon became known throughout Europe under the name Aldinen and enjoyed an excellent reputation among printer colleagues for their technical quality and the beauty of the design as well as among scholars because of the precise text edition and the moderate prices. The prizes contributed to the great economic success of the Aldinen.

In a sense, the aldins are forerunners to paperbacks. Although Manutius had a printing privilege from the Republic of Venice , his printed products were quickly imitated, in addition to the reprinting of the texts, the format, the printing types and the publisher's signature.

The Aldinen are coveted collector's items and reach high prices at auctions.

Aldine bindings

Aldin bindings are the name given to the Venetian leather bindings into which the aldins were bound. They are leather bindings decorated with golden ornaments . There is no evidence that the Aldinen were bound in the Manutius printing house.



  • Martin Davies: Aldus Manutius. Printer and publisher of Renaissance Venice. Arizona center for medieval and renaissance studies, Tempe, Ariz. 1999, ISBN 0-86698-256-6 .
  • Harry G. Fletcher (Ed.): In praise of Aldus Manutius. A quincentenary exhibition. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Wash. 1995, ISBN 0-295-97465-6 .
  • Harry G. Fletcher (Ed.): New Aldine studies. Documentary essays on the life and work of Aldus Manutius. Rosenthal Books, San Francisco 1988, ISBN 0-9600094-1-8 .
  • Martin Lowry: The world of Aldus Manutius. Business and scholarship in renaissance Venice. Blackwell, Oxford 1979, ISBN 0-631-19520-3 .
  • Julius Schück: Aldus Manutius and his contemporaries in Italy and Germany. Sendet, Walluf 1973, ISBN 3-500-28930-4 (reprint of the Berlin edition 1862).
  • Marharyta A. Šamraj: Aldines in libraries of Ukraine . Catalog. New corrected and completed edition by Michał Spandowski. Project coordinator Janusz A. Rieger. Wydawnictwo DiG, Warsaw 2012, ISBN 978-83-7181-724-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Aldine Collection. (No longer available online.) In: John Rylands University Library of Manchester, March 2004, archived from the original September 29, 2006 ; accessed on February 17, 2015 .
  2. ^ Aldine Checklist . Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  3. Berlin State Library. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on September 26, 2007 ; accessed on February 20, 2019 .