Paris: Apud Andream Wechelum, sub Pegaso, in vico Bellouaco, 1557.
Quarto: 21.2 x 13.8 cm. 567, (1) pp. Collation: a-z4, &4, Aa4, Bb6, Cc-Zz4, &&4, AA-II4, KK6, LL-YY4
A RE-ISSUE OF THE 1540 WECHEL EDITION (general title re-set).
A nice copy of a handsome edition, printed in Greek throughout. Bound in 18th century cat’s-paw calf, spine tooled in gold, with red morocco label in the second compartment -upper hinge starting at head and foot, wear along the edges and at the corners, with loss to the leather. A very nice copy internally with minor blemishes. Title with very light marginal soiling, last leaf lightly soiled, occ. marginal smudges or toning, a few instances of light foxing. Each comedy has its own title-page (each with Wechel’s Pegasus device) dated 1540, except Nebulae, which has the date 1547. Historiated woodcut initials in the text.
The first Greek edition of Aristophanes, which contained nine of the eleven surviving comedies, was printed by Aldus in 1498. The two other plays, “Thesmophoriazousai” and “Lysistrata”, were printed at Florence in 1515. This edition includes all eleven.
In his notice to the reader (on the verso of the general title), the publisher, Chrétien Wechel explains that he has printed the plays in such a way (each has its own title page and imprint) that customers who cannot afford to purchase all of the comedies (or simply do not want to) may buy them individually. It is possible that it was Pierre Vidoue's 1528 edition of Aristophanes, printed for Gilles de Gourmont, that inspired Wechel to print the plays in this fashion.
The Acharnians (Ἀχαρνεῖς Akharneis; Latin Acharnenses), 425 BC
The Knights (Ἱππεῖς Hippeis; Latin: Equites), 424 BC
The Clouds (Νεφέλαι Nephelai; Latin: Nubes), original 423 BC, revised 419 to 416 BC
The Wasps (Σφῆκες Sphekes; Latin: Vespae), 422 BC
Peace (Εἰρήνη Eirene; Latin: Pax), first version, 421 BC
The Birds (Ὄρνιθες Ornithes; Latin: Aves), 414 BC
Lysistrata (Λυσιστράτη; Latin: Lysistrate) 411 BC
Thesmophoriazousai (Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι; Latin: Thesmophoriazousai), c.411 BC
The Frogs (Βάτραχοι Batrakhoi; Latin: Ranae), 405 BC
The Assemblywomen (Ἐκκλησιάζουσαι; Latin: Ekklesiazousai), c. 392 BC
Wealth (Πλοῦτος Ploutos; Latin Plutus) second version, 388 BC
This edition, printed by Chrétien Wechel in 1540, was re-issued here by Chrétien’s son and heir, Andreas, at his shop in Saint-Jean-de-Beauvais, with a new title page, dated 1557.
Chrétien Wechel (1495-1554) begin as a publisher at Paris in 1526, when he and his wife Michelle bought, 1 August, the business and the existing stock of the bookseller and occasional publisher Conrad Resch. Wechel greatly expanded the publishing side of the business and, with the purchase of Simon Du Bois’ printing press, he began printing books under his own imprint in 1528. “From then on Wechel was both bookseller, publisher and printer, all on a considerable scale, comparable only to such enterprises as those Estienne or Vascoson.”(See Armstrong, The origins of Chrétien Wechel re-examined, Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance , 1961, T. 23, No. 2 (1961), pp. 341-346.)
Andreas Wechel took over the firm upon his father’s death in 1554. A Calvinist like his father, Andreas Wechel faced religious persecution. He was temporarily expelled from Paris in 1562 for refusing to swear the Catholic oath, and imprisoned briefly in 1568. In August 1572, Andreas fled Paris just prior to the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, narrowly avoiding death. He set up shop in Frankfurt, where he died of the plague in 1581. The Wechel printing firm continued to operate into the 17th c.
USTC 152208; Hoffmann I, 253