TYPE: Book
ITEM ID: 5330
  • Artwork
  • Artwork

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Former Prophets

Year: 1598
Decade: 1590s
Century: 16th (1501-1600)

The Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings), printed in Venice 1598 by Zuan di Gara with Rashi’s commentary. Giovanni di Gara was the successor to the Bomberg press.

Name: Zuan di Gara
Type: Printer
Artist Information: DI GARA, GIOVANNI (16th century), Venetian printer of Hebrew books. Di Gara, who went to Venice from Riva del Garda (Trent), had apparently learned the art of Hebrew printing from Daniel Bomberg; and after the latter's death he acquired most of Bomberg's type. Di Gara's printing activity spanned a half-century (1565–1610) and covered a wide range of Hebrew literature. Nearly 300 editions came out in this period, among them the Turim with Joseph Caro's commentary Beit Yosef (1565–94); Shulḥan Arukh (1593); a rabbinical Bible (1568); Judah Halevi's Kuzari (1594); Elijah de Vidas'Reshit Ḥokhmah (1578); Naḥmanides' Torat ha-Adam (1595); Isaac Aboab's Menorat ha-Ma'or (1595–1602); and a Mishnah (1609). He also printed some Yiddish and Latin books. There was close cooperation between Di Gara and the house of Bragadini, and their printer's marks even appeared together on the same title page. That of Di Gara was a small single crown (in some cases he used two or three crowns as well); his title page is marked sometimes by a Roman arch whose pillars are garlanded with flowers and fruit; but he also imitated those of Foa of Sabbioneta and of Meir Sofer of Mantua. The printer Asher Parenzo, who worked for Bragadini, also worked for Di Gara. Others who were employed by him were Isaac Gerson of Safed, who introduced tables of contents and indexes; Samuel Archivolti, author of the grammatical treatise Arugatha-Bosem; Israel Zifroni and his son Elishama; and Leone Di Modena. As typesetters, Di Gara had to employ Christians, which impaired the correctness of the editions. These have regularly the formula con licentia dei superiori. However, in 1592 Di Gara was accused by the Inquisition of having printed a book by Isaac Abrabanel without the required permission. At his death, Di Gara's types went to the Venetian printer Giovanni Cajon.