Pagination printed by Aldus Manutius


  • Koichi Yukishima Waseda University



Pagination, Aldus Manutius, Lyon, Florence, Basel, Johann Froben


Pagination is an important element of the modern book, but the development of pagination and printing techniques have not been adequately studied. The author of this paper discusses pagination by Aldus Manutius (ca. 1450-1515) and his influence on the contemporary printers. Aldus printed 17 paginated books between 1499 and 1514, of which 13 books were printed in Greek (Table 1). His pagination can be divided into three types. Type A comprises books in which the page numbers were printed at the rightmost point of the headline on the recto page and at the leftmost point of the headline on the verso page. Type B comprises books in which the page numbers were printed in the middle of the headline on both the recto and verso pages. Type C comprises books in which the page numbers were printed at the rightmost point of the headline on both the recto and verso pages (Figure 1). Aldus’ preferred Type A and trialled Type B and C paginations when printing in octavo format. He tested all these types until 1508. Among these 17 paginated books, Aldus provided table of contents to nine books (Nos 2, 4, 6-8, and 12-15) and provided index to two books (Nos 1 and 6). But other seven books (Nos 3, 5, 9-11 and 16-17) were not provided any table of contents and index. It is certain that Aldus’s pagination was mainly intended to indicate the positions of the text by page numbers in a table of contents. His works influenced directly Lyon, Florence, and Basel. Johann Froben of Basel (ca. 1460-1527) printed many paginated books including Erasmus’s works, and Greek and Roman classics (Figure 3). Due to Froben’s efforts, pagination spread throughout the Rhine River Basin, Paris, and Antwerp until 1520, and then appeared at some leading centres of printing in East and South Germany, and England (Table 2).


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How to Cite

Yukishima, K. (2020). Pagination printed by Aldus Manutius. Bibliothecae.It, 9(1), 11–31.