Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/221

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201
SOME COLOPHONS OF EARLY PRINTERS

and speaking Latin? Still they would have workmen to direct; did they bring journeymen of their own country with them, or instruct foreigners? The interest attaching to this question tempts me to a brief digression into a subject not properly comprised in my essay; the colophon, so far as I am aware, throwing no light upon it. It seems probable that foreign printers were attended in their migrations by bodies of journeymen; for in the privilege granted by the Venetian Senate in 1469 to Joannes de Spira, the first Venetian printer, he is said to have come to live in Venice with his wife, his children, and his entire familia. The familia, then, is expressly distinguished from his wife and children; besides which the word never means in the classical writers, nor, so far as I can discover, in the mediæval either, family in our sense of kindred, but only in that of household: and as he is not likely to have brought domestic servants with him, must be understood to denote here the troop of workmen of whom he was the head; who had evidently also immigrated with him. We are also told that a priest, Clemente Patavino, probably the first Italian who ever exercised the art of printing, taught himself by his own ingenuity, without having ever seen any one at work. From this we may infer that the presses were jealously guarded, and that the workmen were not Italians, or Clemente could not have been the first Italian to learn the craft. His first book was printed in 1471, several years after the introduction of printing into Italy.