Stiblinus’ Prefaces and Arguments on Euripides (1562)

Title Page Image copyright 2003 UB Basel

Site prepared by Donald Mastronarde, Professor of Classics, University of California, Berkeley.

Please note: this site is under development (Spring Semester 2009 through Spring Semester 2014).

Caspar Stiblin (Latin name Gasparus Stiblinus) published in Basel in 1562 a complete edition (more than 800 pages in folio) of Euripides’ plays, with Latin translations and various annotations. This rare edition is of considerable interest for the early scholarly reception of Euripides because it includes short prefaces and plot-summaries (Latin argumenta) for each play in addition to the Greek epitomes and prefatory material transmitted in the medieval manuscripts. In contrast, most other early printed editions of tragedy simply repeat the scholarly and pedagogical annotations from the manuscripts, if they do not simply confine themselves to the text of the plays themselves.

The full title of the edition on the title page is: EURIPIDES POETA Tragicorum princeps, in Latinum sermonem conversus, adiecto e regione textu Graeco. CUM ANNOTATIONIBUS ET PRAEFAtionibus in omnes eius Tragoedias: autore GASPARO STIBLINO. Accesserunt IACOBI MICYLLI, De Euripidis vita, ex diuersis autoribus collecta: item, De Tragoedia et eius partibus προλεγόμενα quaedam. Item IOANNIS BRODAEI Turonensis Annotationes doctissimae nunquam antea in lucem editae. Ad haec, Rerum et verborum toto Opere praecipue memorabilium copiosus INDEX. The publication information on the title page is: BASILEAE, PER JOHANNEM OPORINUM. Although Stiblin’s Praefatio ends with the date October 22, 1559, and a following letter to the reader by Stiblin bears the date October 23, 1558, the colophon of the book gives the date March 1562.

This edition is among the early editions of Greek texts treated in the online catalogue “Griechischer Geist aus Basler Pressen” [“Greek Intellect from Basel Presses”] ( created by Frank Hieronymus, Christoph Schneider, and Benedikt Vögeli at the Library of the University of Basel in 2003. (Enter 200 in the search field GG-Nr: to reach this title.)

For images of the title page and several pages of the preface to the volume, see

Addendum (March 2011): the entire edition has now been digitized and may be viewed at the digital site of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich.

The purpose of this site is to make Stiblinus’ prefaces and argumenta readily available, eventually with English translation, so that they can be studied in connection with the reception of Euripides and tragedy in the 16th century. There are few copies of this edition in the US. I am grateful to the University of Basel Library and Dominik Hunger (Handschriftenabteilung) for providing me with digital images of dozens of pages of this edition at very reasonable cost. The relevant portions of the imaged pages were subjected to OCR. Because the typeface is so old and contains various ligatures and abbreviations taken over into early printing from humanist minuscule script, even an OCR program with Latin capabilities produces a large number of errors. Scanning and initial cleaning up of the text has been carried out by UC Berkeley students Meghan Bowers and Megan Riley under my supervision in a project of the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP). After the initial correction of the OCR, I have made further corrections by collation with the image and have expanded abbreviations, regularized some of the Latin spelling, and simplified the punctuation (especially by eliminating some of the commas). A list of examples of the spelling changes made is given below the following links. Latin translations were initially produced by students Meghan Bowers (Orestes, Bacchae, Cyclops, Heraclidae, Helen, and Electra), Erin Lam (Hecuba, Andromache), Jeremy Simmons (Phoenissae, Hippolytus, Alcestis), Risa Takenaka (Iphigenia in Tauris), and Michelangelo Macchiarella (Medea), and all were corrected and edited by me.

From Spring 2010 I have also been able to consult a copy of Paulus Stephanus’ edition of Euripides of 1602 recently acquired by The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley (I thank Anthony Bliss, Curator for Rare Books and Library Collections). The preface and arguments for Helen are transcribed from that edition, since through an oversight I did not request the needed page images from Basel. In May 2010 I was able to verify the pages for Helen using a copy held by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. In 2011 URAP student Brittany Lauber transcribed the Latin dedicatory letters and poem.

Stiblinus on Hecuba (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Orestes (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Phoenissae (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Medea (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Hippolytus (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Alcestis (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Andromache (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Supplices (Latin only, so far)

Stiblinus on Iphigenia in Aulide (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Iphigenia Taurica (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Rhesus (Latin only, so far)

Stiblinus on Troades (Latin only, so far)

Stiblinus on Bacchae (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Cyclops (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Heraclidae (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Helen (Latin and English)

Stiblinus on Ion (Latin only, so far)

Stiblinus on Hercules Furens (Latin only, so far)

Stiblinus on Electra (Latin and English)

Dedicatory Letter of Ferdinard I (Latin)

Letter to the Reader (Latin)

Elegiac Poem on the plays of Euripides (Latin)

Letter to the Publisher Oporinus (Greek)

Normalization of spelling: