Publius Vergilius Maro (70–19 BC) Opera

[Heirs of] Aldus Manutius, and Andrea Torresanus, [not before 1519]
A reprint of the 1514 edition, on parchment

After the death of Aldus on 6 February 1515, the printing business that held his name was managed, on behalf of Aldus’s heirs, by his partner and father-in-law, Andrea Torresani of Asola (1451–1529), who had been a well-established printer in Venice since 1479, long before Aldus’s arrival in town. The firm continued to publish books in line with Aldus’s publishing programme, occasionally reprinting previous Aldine editions – possibly sold out but still much in demand – with no additions or changes to the text nor, rather deceptively, to the printing details in the colophon.

Bibliographers have identified the book on display as a reprint of Aldus’s Virgil of October 1514 published by Torresani and Manutius’s Heirs not earlier than 1519. The original edition included the dedicatory letter to Pietro Bembo in which Aldus mentioned the ‘libri portatiles” or pocket-size books borrowed from Bernardo’s library that inspired him to publish the enchiridia series. The reprint reproduced the letter in its original form in its enterity, including the vivid portrait of Bernardo Bembo as a very active, alert and generous octogenarian. Bernardo died on 28 May 1519. It might be wishful thinking, but it would be good to think that the reprint was intended as a silent posthumous homage to a generous patron of the firm who had recently passed away.

SSS.39.8, fol. a1 verso