31. Lucretius. De rerum natura (1515).

8° ; [8], 125, [2] leaves + blank leaves interleaved between printed leaves; 151 x 94mm.

This is the second Aldine edition of Lucretius, the first century B.C. Roman natural philosopher; its editor, Andrea Navagero was Aldus's principal Latin editor for the period 1512-15 and one of the ablest editors of Latin of his time.

In the preface Aldus notes that although much of the philosophy expounded by Lucretius is repugnant to a believing Christian, there is much of value in his work and he should therefore be read anyway. Aldus, now sixty-five, would die within a month of publication of this, his last production. Thus his complaint concluding the preface becomes the more poignant: "But, if it weren't for the bad health with which I have been rather harshly afflicted for some months now, quite a bit would have been added which would testify to all of our diligence, and would have made [the text] of Lucretius itself fuller." From all accounts, Aldus simply wore himself out, as the eulogy printed in the 1515 edition of Lactantius (no. 32) states.

Exhibit Home Page Greek and Latin Classics