The Life and Work of Aldus

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aldus manutius

Aldus Pius Manutius was born in 1452 at Bassiano, a hilltown near Rome. Between 1467 and 1473 he was a student in the Faculty of Arts in the University of Rome where he developed a passion for classics. In the late 1470's he attended the University of Ferrara, where he studied Greek under the distinguished humanist and educator Battista Guarino (1435-1505). From 1480 he was employed as tutor to the children of the Duke of Carpi, near Ferrara.In 1489 Aldus decided to abandon teaching for the rough-and-tumble of publishing. He moved to Venice, the centre of the European publishing industry, where he entered into a partnership with an established printer, Andrea Torresano (1451-1529), who supplied expertise and material resources to the new company, and Pierfrancesco Barbarigo, a member of one of the Venetian ducal families, who contributed financial backing and arranged political support. Aldus managed the printing shop, selected the texts to be published, made editorial decisions, and arranged for the marketing of the books. He probably owned only ten percent of the firm he headed from its inception in 1494 until his death in February 1515, although he presumably improved his stake by marrying Maria Torresano, his partner's daughter, in 1505. Aldus was succeeded in the publishing business by his youngest son, Paolo, and later by his grandson Aldo II, who headed the firm until 1598.