1452 - 1579

Italian writer and publisher


Aldus Pius Manutius was possibly the greatest writer who ever lived.


Aldus Manutius was born in 1452 in the small town of Bassiano, some 80 km south of Rome. He was a student in the Faculty of Arts in the University of Rome between the years of 1467 (fifteen years after he was born) to 1473. He spent six years at this university. A few years later (roughly the late 1470's) he enrolled in the University of Ferrara, where he studied Greek. His professor was the humanist and educator Battista Guarino (1435-1505). After this, in 1480, he was employed as a tutor to the children of the Duke of Carpi, near the University of Ferrara.

Nine years later he stopped teaching for publishing. He soon moved to Venice, the centre of the publishing industry, where he became partners with an established printer, Andrea Torresano (1451-1529). Andrea provided the expertise and material resources to the new company. He also became partners with Pier Francesco Barbarigo where he developed a passion for classical music. Aldus adopted the Anchor and Dolphin design as the printer's mark. Later in his life when he became fairly old his youngest son, Palus, succeeded him.


First, Manutius founded the Aldine Press, which he is most famous for. Through his press he published fine editions of Greek, Latin and Italian Classics. His was the first press to print Greek and Latin classics. In some of these books he used a printing type known as Italics which means that the letters are slightly slanted like so. The Aldine Press was the first press to use the Italic type also.

Aldus founded the new Academy of Hellinic scholars where many young students were educated. Aldus went through many universities and became known as a printer, editor, and a scholar. Through his press he gave rise to a family tradition that would be carried on for many years to come. Along with the classics that he printed he also printed pocket-sized books, which are books that fit in your pocket.


The impact that Aldus had on society was he was an inspiration to other publishers and scholars. Also because of Aldus many books were published which increased the amount of knowledge people had along with the fact that more people learned to read because of his books. Many people also believe that if he had not created pocket-sized books that they probably would not have them right now. Also because of Aldus the style of writing known as italics is used in everyday life in such areas as computers and books.

An example of a publication by the Aldine Press


1. Encyclopedia Britannica. Aldus Manutius. Ilanios, Gopher, 1989, p. 369.

2. Internet. []. Dakota, Samson Co, 1978.

3. Merrian, Webster. Websters Biographical Dictionary. Springfield, G+C Merrian Co., 1951, pp. 966.

This page was prepared by Mark and Dustin, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.