Where does the word “italic” come from and What does italic mean?

Aldus Manutius was the Latin name of the noted Italian printer, Teobaldo Mannucci, who was born in 1450.

He received an excellent education before establishing himself as a printer in Venice in 1490.

There he surrounded himself with other scholars and set out to make Venice the center of literature, especially in the printing of Greek, Latin, and Italian classics.

Aside from the merit of the works printed by the Aldine press, as his establishment had been named, was the excellence of the type that was used. Aldus experimented with various faces, cut either by himself or under his direction.

The one type to which we are still indebted to his genius is that which he named italic, thus honoring his native land. Until this invention all type was erect, called “Roman” from the erect letters of the ancients.

The first book to utilize the new type was an edition of Vergil, printed in 1501.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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