Also known as Paolo Manuzio
Born 1512 Died 1574
By his marriage with Maria Torresano, Aldo had three sons, the youngest of whom, Paolo, was born in 1512. He had the misfortune to lose his father at the age of two. After this event his grandfather and two uncles, the three Asolani, carried on the Aldine press, while Paolo prosecuted his early studies at Venice, Excessive application hurt his health, which remained weak during the rest of his life. At the age of twenty-one he had acquired a solid reputation for scholarship and learning. In 1533 Paolo undertook the conduct of his father's business, which had latterly been much neglected by his uncles. In the interregnum between Aldo's death and Paolo's succession (1514-1533) the Asolani continued to issue books, the best of which were Latin classics.
But, though their publications count a large number of first editions, and some are works of considerable magnitude, they were not brought out with the scholarly perfection at which Aldo aimed. The Asolani attempted to perform the whole duties of editing, and to reserve all its honours for themselves, dispensing with the service of competent collaborators. The result was that some of their editions, especially their Aeschylus of 1518, are singularly bad. Paolo determined to restore the glories of the house, and in 1540 he separated from his uncles.
The field of Greek literature having been well-nigh exhausted, he devoted himself principally to the Latin classics. He was a passionate Ciceronian, and perhaps his chief contributions to scholarship are the corrected editions of Cicero's letters and orations, his own epistles in a Ciceronian style, and his Latin version of Demosthenes. Throughout his life he combined the occupations of a student and a printer, winning an even higher celebrity in the former field than his father had done.
Four treatises from his pen on Roman antiquities deserve to be commemorated for their erudition no less than for the elegance of their Latinity. Several Italian cities contended for the possession of so rare a man; and he received tempting offers from the Spanish court. Yet his life was a long struggle with pecuniary difficulties. To prepare correct editions of the classics, and to print them in a splendid style, has always been a costly undertaking. And, though Paolo's publications were highly esteemed, their sale was slow. In 1556 he received for a time external support from the Venetian Academy, founded by Federigo Badoaro. But Badoaro failed disgracefully in 1559, and the academy was extinct in 1562.
Meanwhile Paolo had established his brother, Antonio, a man of good parts but indifferent conduct, in a printing office and book shop at Bologna Antonio died in 1559, having been a source of trouble and expense to Paolo during the last four years of his life. Other pecuniary embarrassments arose from a contract for supplying fish to Venice, into which Paolo had somewhat strangely entered with the government. In 1561 pope Pius IV invited him to Rome, offering him a yearly stipend of 500 ducats, and undertaking to establish and maintain his press there. The profits on publications were to be divided between Paolo Manuzio and the Apostolic camera. Paolo accepted the invitation, and spent the larger portion of his life, under three papacies, with varying fortunes, in the city of Rome. Ill-health, the commercial interests he had left behind at Venice, and the coldness shown him by pope Pius V, induced him at various times and for several reasons to leave Rome. As was natural, his editions after his removal to Rome were mostly Latin works of theology and Biblical or patristic literature.
Paolo married Caterina Odoni in 1546. She brought him three sons and one daughter. His eldest son, the younger Aldus, succeeded him in the management of the Venetian arinting house when his father settled at Rome in 1561. Paolo had never been a strong man, and his health was overtaxed with studies and commercial worries. Yet he lived into his sixty-second year, and died at Rome in 1574.
Extracted from the entry for MANUTIUS in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.