Epistolarum ad Vaimiliares

The Epistolarum ad Vaimiliares is a collection of letters between Roman politician Marcus Tullius Cicero and various public and private figures. It was printed in Latin in 1610 byTypis Wechelianis apud heredes Ioannis Aubrii (Wechel Press) in Germany. According to scholar D. R. Shackleton Bailey, the title translates to “Letters to Friends.”  This copy’s physical binding and construction is noteworthy. The cover of the book is a limp vellum animal skin cover, and upon examining the spine of the book we can see that recycled paper was used in the binding of this book. 

A close look at the book reveals that the printing of the text is of extremely high quality. The margins and spacing of the lettering is consistent throughout and there are no typographical mistakes. Moreover, there are many  stylistic choices that give the book character, such as the use of asterisks to separate sections of the book, the inclusion of a title page (which at the time was gaining popularity), and the use of wood cut symbols for designs in the front and back. These symbols are also present at the  beginning of the chapters, a stylistic choice that  is a carryover from medieval manuscripts.

The level of detail and care that the printer invested in Epistolarum ad Vaimiliares underscores the consistency of the value that humans have placed on knowledge itself and the value of books and printing across time. In 1610, printing a book took tremendous time and resources; a book of this quality was highly valued.

Click the cover of the Epistolarum ad Vaimiliares below to open the book and explore it in more detail!