Aldus, called the Elder, the first of a well known family of Italian printers, born at Bassiano about 1449, died in Venice, Feb. 3, 1515. He was deeply versed in classical literature, and about 1490 established a printing press in Venice, which soon became celebrated for the variety and excellence of the works issuing from it. In 1494 appeared his edition in Latin and Greek of the " Hero and Leander " of Musaeus, followed within a few years by editions of Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Pindar, the Greek dramatists, etc, many of which were printed from original manuscripts procured from distant countries at considerable expense. His Latin editions, published subsequent to 1500, and commencing with Virgil, are printed in a character cast, it is said, in imitation of the handwriting of Petrarch, and now called Italic; and the editorial labors of the publisher were shared by a society of learned men who met at his house and formed what was called the Aldine academy. These impressions are said to be more correctly printed than the Greek. He suffered by the wars in which Venice was engaged in the beginning of the 16th century, but subsequently pursued his avocation with industry and success until his death.
Besides the numerous prefaces and dissertations in Greek and Latin embodied in his publications, he produced grammars of the Greek and Latin languages, a Greek-Latin dictionary, translations, etc. The title pages of his books have a device representing a dolphin coiled about the shank of an anchor, on the sides of which are the syllables Al and Dvs.
Paulus, youngest son of the preceding, born in Venice, in 1511 or 1512, died in Rome, April 6, 1574. He was a man of equal learning and critical ability with his father, and was distinguished by the correctness of his editions of the Latin classics, particularly of his Cicero, with prefaces, notes, and an index. Failing to receive adequate patronage in Venice, he repaired about 1562 to Rome, and was for some time employed in editing and printing the manuscripts of the church fathers deposited in the capitol. He returned to Venice in 1570, but again went to Rome, and died in poverty. He published a Latin translation of the Philippics of Demosthenes, and a number of original works in Latin and Italian, which entitle him to rank among the most polished writers of the 16th century.
Aldus, called the Younger, son of the preceding, born in Venice, Feb. 13, 1547, died in Rome, Oct. 28, 1597. He published at the age of 11 a collection of choice specimens from Latin and Italian authors, and three years latei' produced a treatise on Latin orthography, Orthographice Ratio, founded on inscriptions, medals, and manuscripts. Notwithstanding these evidences of precocity, his mental capacity and attainments were inferior to those of his father or grandfather; and in consequence of his neglect to employ competent persons, his publications are the least valuable of all emanating from the Aldine press, He resigned his press in 1584 to one of his workmen, and during the remainder of his life was professor of belles-lettres successively in Bologna, Pisa, and Rome. He published works in Latin and Italian, besides commentaries on Horace, Cicero, etc. (See Aldine Editions).