Poetae Christiani veteres, vol. 3, Gregorius Nazanzienus, Carmina

June 1504

The volume was the third in a series of editions of works by ancient Christian poets. It was dedicated by Aldus to youths who wished to learn Christian morality alongside the Greek letters, and the Greek texts were printed alongside their Latin translation.

The copy shown here belonged to the Dutch humanists and theologians Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466–1536) and Martinus Lipsius (Bruxelles 1492–Huy 1555). Erasmus actively contributed to the resumption of Aldus’s publishing activity between December 1507 and May 1509, when he spent ten months in Venice as Aldus’s guest preparing for publication his Latin translations of Euripides’s Hecuba and Iphigenia in Aulis and a revised edition of his Adagia, a collection of Latin proverbs that had been published for the first time in Paris in 1500. In the course of their collaboration, Erasmus and Aldus forged an everlasting friendship based on the reciprocal respect for one another’s work and scholarship. The association with the Dutch scholar also reinforced Manutius’s ambition to produce books for a European audience.

Erasmus’s and Lipsius’s conjoint ownership inscriptions on the title page suggest that Erasmus forged an equally strong friendship with Lipsius:
Sum Erasmi, nec muto d[omi]n[u]m
I belong to Erasmus, and I do not change my master.
Fui Erasmi, et mutavi d[omi]n[u]m
I was Erasmus’s, and I have changed my master.
Imo no[n] mutavi, cu[m] amicus sit alter ipse
Indeed I have not changed, for a friend is a second self.

Lipsius was a humanist and Augustinian Canon Regular at the priory of Sint Maartensdal (St Martin’s Valley) in Leuven, with whom Erasmus collaborated in the revision of Augustine’s Sermons for his ten-volume edition of Augustine’s works (Basel, 1528-29).

BSS.130.B04, fol. 1 recto

Extended captions