When I arrived at Venetia, heavy rain was bouncing back up off the road and the seawater overflowing from
the water conduit was covering all over the road. The moist was coming in from my feet as well as from my neck and sleeves mercilessly.
I heard that a small landmark book in the history of publication was printed here in Venetia in 1501. It was Aldus Pius Manutius who published it. I knew neither about Aldus nor about the fact that publishing was going on in Venetia 500 hundred years ago.
While I was walking through the ankle-deep flooded road, I thought about the unexpected combination of this town and this book, in other words, water and paper. I wonder why Aldus ran a publishing business in this town.
When I took on a job of reporting in Venetia, a marine chart came across my mind. Many of the old marine
charts in record were printed in Venetia. The fate of Venetia, a country once prosperous from trading, was dependent on how to deal with the other side of the ocean. Venetia was the only country
among the contemporary maritime powers in the early 1300’s that made it possible to record the ocean routes and the life of foreign countries on paper and carry them over to the next generation.
The pragmatic Venetians established an unprecedented prosperity with their excellent practical skills.
One of my friends, who has been studying the vicissitudes of Venetia through the straits and tidelands, is also knowledgeable about old marine charts. Sea, paper, and printing... He may also have information that might shed the light on the old books in this town.
“You may want to ask the ex-director of the national library about Aldus,” were the first words he said.