Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65–8 BC) Carmina (counterfeit)

[Lyons : Barthélemi Trot ?, 1502]

This book is one of the first counterfeit editions of Aldus’s enchiridia produced in Lyons, possibly by or for Barthélemi Trot, about 1502 at the latest. The Venetian printer repeatedly tried but failed to defend himself, despite privileges granted to him by the Venetian Senate and the Pope. Technically, neither this nor any other of the early counterfeit editions claimed to be Manutius’s. They were all unsigned and undated, but the layout, founts, dimensions and texts– with the exception only of the colophons–were unmistakably copied from Aldus’s editions, as is immediately apparent when comparing the opening of the first book of Horace’s Carmina in the two editions. The forgers also copied Aldus’s dedicatory letter to Sanudo.

As the crudeness of the types and printing in the counterfeit Horace are not immediately apparent to the untrained eye, in his Monitum, the broadside warning issued on 16 March 1503, Aldus listed two typographical mistakes in the dedicatory letter and remarked on the generally crude printing and on the hideous outlining of the two-line title in capitals to the first book of the Carmina on leaf a2 recto. The Lyons edition also displays a different setting for the second line of verse in Ode 1, “o et praesidium et dulce decus meum”, set on a single line and with the words “praesidium” and “meum” abbreviated.

Both Aldus’s 1501 Horace and its Lyonnais counterfeit belonged to John Moore, Bishop of Ely (1646–1714), and were presented with the rest of his library to Cambridge University Library by King George I in 1715.

X.11.26, fol. a2 recto

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