59. Aldus Manutius the Younger. Orthographiae ratio (1561)

8° ; 55, [1] leaves; 156 x90mm.

Based on vast collections of spellings from ancient inscriptions and manuscripts, the Orthographiae sets forth a system for the uniform spelling of Latin words. In the work Latin words are arranged alphabetically and interspersed with ancient citations and reproductions of Roman transcriptions. Although the accuracy of several of the inscriptions is doubtful, the work is well done and proved to be a very useful tool.

The first edition of this small work met with unprecedented success and popularity, occasioning the need for a more expanded edition. A year after the initial publication Aldus went to Rome to collect and research early Roman inscriptions, medallions, coins, and manuscripts, all in preparation for a greatly expanded second edition, eight hundred pages long.

However much responsibility Aldus shared in the early editions of this work, he did make significant and lasting contributions to the standardization of Latin spelling. The work of Aldus the Younger on Latin orthography is probably his greatest contribution to scholarship.

Exhibit Home Page Manutii as Authors