43. Desiderius Erasmus, trans. Hecuba & Iphigenia in Aulis Euripidis tragoediae in Latinam tralatae (1507)

8° ;[80] leaves; 160 x 96mm.

In 1507 Erasmus (1469?-1536), the most significant intellectual of his generation, wrote in a rather tentative, flattering manner to Aldus with the proposal that he should republish his Latin translations of Euripides. Erasmus stood to benefit by having Aldus publish his translations, but in addition, he had never been happy with Bade's edition of his translation, which he complained was full of errors. He allowed Aldus, who accepted his proposal, a free hand in correcting any mistakes.

After this publication Aldus continued to collaborate with Erasmus. While editing and expanding his Adagia, Erasmus worked right in Aldus's shop, the manuscript being taken immediately from his desk to the press with no chance for revision. "The labor was such that there was no time to scratch one's ears," Erasmus later recalled. "Aldus very often declared that he was astonished that I wrote so much ex tempore and amid such a tumult of surrounding noise."

Aldus and Erasmus enjoyed a good relationship. This affection did not extend by any means to all the members of Aldus's family, establishment, and friends. In his satiric dialogue Opulentia sordida ("Stingy wealth"), composed much later in 1531, we find a stinging portrait of Andrea Torresani, Aldus's partner, as the prince of cheapskates, a man of riches who nonetheless lets his guests go hungry on sour wine and thin soup.

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