The Homer of Joannes Gennadius

The exhibition is an attempt to reconstruct a Homeric universe according to the perspective of the collector Joannes Gennadius who assembled 700 important Homeric editions. 

A selection of rare editions of Homer brings to life the routes and metamorphoses of the primary Homeric material in time and space. Unique treasures include the first edition of the Iliad and the Odyssey published in 1488 Florence by the famous Greek scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles and the earliest paraphrase of the Iliad in modern Greek by Nikolaos Loukanis printed in Venice in 1526. They are displayed together with English, French, Italian and Spanish translations showcasing the wide dissemination and reinterpretation of the Homeric text in its original form or in translation in Europe and North America. The textual material is marvelously interwoven with John Flaxman’s Homeric illustrations, or with quaint collages of the Library’s founder, Joannes Gennadius, among whose favorite pastimes was the creation of compositions that bring together distinct elements, in this case of word and image.

The 39 exhibits are divided into four sections. Homeric Epics and Typography: Beginnings and Diffusion; Translations and Paraphrases; Homeric Epics: Study, Commentaries and Teaching; Illustrating the Homeric Editions

Gennadius Library catalog. Greek classics, Part I & III.  London, 1922-1924.

The exhibition presents a small but particularly important part of Joannes Gennadius’s collection, arranged according to the classification of his catalog Greek classics, including 6,000 editions of which 700 are Homeric.