5. Virgil. Works (1501).

8° ; [228} leaves; 154 x 94mm.

The first Aldine edition of the Roman poet Virgil is of great importance in the history of printing, as it was the first book entirely printed in Aldus's splendid new italic typeface. Based on the Renaissance humanist hand, italic was immediately imitated by printers all over southern Europe and France and became the standard typeface for books printed in the vernacular languages during the sixteenth century. The 1501 Virgil also introduced another innovation, that of printing books in the smaller, octavo size. Aldus often explained that he hoped his smaller-sized books would be "handy" for those who wanted good reading that they could easily carry with them. Like the italic typeface, this idea was also immediately imitated widely and octavo books were soon being produced all over Europe.

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