Manutius, Aldus (the Elder)

He invented the semi-colon.
He invented the semi-colon.



(1449/50 – 1515) A Venetian printer who was one of the primordial publishers of the Greek classics during the Italian Renaissance. He invented the semicolon and was the co-inventor of the italic typeface.

Unlike current practice, he didn't use italics for emphasis. Instead he printed whole books in italic because its narrowness lowered production costs (more words per page, thus fewer pages), and allowed him to create portable, quasi-pocket-books.

The italic type was first used in an octavo edition of Virgil in 1501. Francesco Griffo, who designed the type, purportedly imitated the Cancelleresco script created by the calligrapher Bartolomeo Sanvito.


An example of Aldine italic type from an edition of Dante's Inferno (1502).  (Source: the Newberry Library)
An example of Aldine italic type from an edition of Dante's Inferno (1502).
(Source: the Newberry Library)



Quotation -
"The use of punctuation was not standardized until after the invention of printing. Credit for introducing a standard system is generally given to Aldus Manutius and his grandson. They popularized the practice of ending sentences with the colon or full stop, invented the semicolon, made occasional use of parentheses and created the modern comma by lowering the virgule."
(Source: Wikipedia s.v. Aldus Manutius)



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