Certissima signa
A Venice Conference on Greek and Latin Astronomical Texts


On Aldus’ Scriptores astronomici (1499)   

Filippomaria Pontani
Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia

Elisabetta Lugato
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venezia, Italia


The Scriptores astronomici veteres were published by Aldus Manutius in Venice 1499. This book represents the most ambitious humanist attempt to reconstruct ancient astronomical wisdom by presenting the original texts of ancient authors. As such, the volume raises several questions. What is the rationale of Aldus’ selection? What do we know about his manuscript sources and the editorial process? What is the history of the incunable's remarkable illustrations (most notably those in Firmicus’ books 2 and 6, and in Germanicus’ Aratea)? How does this edition fit into one of the most difficult periods of Aldus’ Venetian enterprise? This paper attempts to tackle some of these issues.


Astronomy. Manuscripts. Incunables. Classical Tradition. Editorial Technique. Aldine Press. Book Illustration. Illumination. Italian Humanism.

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