Dante (1265–1321) Commedia (counterfeit)

[Lyons : Barthélemi Trot ?, 1502-1503?]

The counterfeits of Aldus’s 1501 Petrarch and 1502 Dante editions were produced almost immediately, probably at Lyons, possibly by or for Barthélemi Trot. They are not mentioned, though, in the Monitum in Ludgunenses typographos, the broadside warning issued by Aldus on 16 March 1503, so they might not have been printed before March 1503 or Aldus might not have been aware of them.

As it was the case for the counterfeits of Aldus’s Latin enchiridia of 1501, the pirate edition copied the Aldine Dante in every aspect, also in the unusual title Le terze rime given to the poem by Pietro Bembo. Unlike Aldus’s edition, however, it had no colophon and was therefore unsigned and undated.

Without the guidance of Aldus’s Monitum a reader could only distinguish it from the original edition by carefully assessing its printing and types, indeed more elegant and closer in appearance than those in the counterfeit Horace. Despite their efforts, though, the Lyonnaise printers failed to match the sophistication of Aldus’s Italic founts. The ligatures between the lower case letters, beautifully attained by Griffo’s types, are beyond the reach of his French competitors, as is immediately apparent when comparing the rendering of letter groups such as “in”, “mi”, “st” and “sp” in the two editions.

Rel.d.50.1, fol. G10 recto

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