Greek Typography

The first Greek books were printed in Italy, shortly after typography was invented, with the help of Greek scholars, who escaped from Istanbul or other areas that were held during the Byzantium era, when they fell in the hands of Ottomans.

Thus, the first entirely Greek printed book we can identify was Ἐπιτομὴ τῶν ὀκτὼ τοῦ λόγου μερῶν by Konstantinos Laskari, printed in Milan in 1476. That is when the production of other Greek books began. At the end of the 15th century, the Italian humanist Aldos Manoutios decided to print numerous ancient Greek literature works, after first securing some publishing privileges from Venice.

Just a few years later, Greek books, mainly classic editions, grammar books and religious publications, were printed throughout Western Europe: in Paris, at the University of Alcala, in Spain (1514), in the Kingdom of Switzerland (1516), in England (1543) and elsewhere. Some of these publications came directly from the hands of expatriate Greeks, such as Nikolaos Glykis, Nikolaos Saros and Dimitrios Theodosiou, who printed Greek books in Venice for two centuries (1650–1850).

In Ottoman Greece, the first Greek printing house opened its doors in 1627, in Istanbul, under the eye of Patriarch Cyril Loukari, who aimed to address the influx of papal propaganda. During the 18th and 19th century, Greek books were printed all over the Balkans (Moldavia, Iasi, Moschopolis, Kydonia, etc.), as well as in German-speaking regions (Vienna, Leipzig, etc.). Thus, typography played a very important role in the spread of the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment among the Greeks and a little later, in the spread of the Revolution of 1821.

During the Revolution of 1821, several printing houses were set up by Greek revolutionaries with the help of the Philhellenes. One of them was a French student of Korai Ambrosios-Firmin Didot (French: Ambroise-Firmin Didot, 1790–1876), who donated a fully equipped printing press to revolutionary Greece. The family of the Greek components designed by Firminos Didotos (French: Fermin Didot, 1764–1836), father of Ambrose-Firminos, were used for two centuries and are still known as “ta apla” (the simple ones)..

Even prior to the independent Greek state as we know it, the Greek revolutionaries created the "Typography of the Administration", a printing house for the needs of the administration. After several relocations and name changes, in 1862 this printing house was renamed as "National Printing House" and still, up to today, prints the Government Gazette and other state publications. Εφημερίδα της Κυβερνήσεως και άλλα κρατικά έντυπα.

Immediately after the declaration of the country’s independence, the first privately owned printing houses appeared in Greece. In no time, Greek printing houses, and especially the Athenian ones, began to grow. Some of them, such as the Printing House "O Kadmos" of Konstantinos Tombra and Konstantinos Ioannidis in Nafplio (1829–1879), the printing house of Andreas Koromilas in Aegina and Athens (1834–1884) and the printing house of Konstantinos Garbolas in Athens (1838–1844) left their own mark. During the 20th century, large printing and publishing houses were created in Athens, some of which grew into industrial units with a large number of staff (such as, for example, the printing house of the Lambrakis Group).

In the 1980s, manual and mechanical printing in Greece started to fade. A new day rises in 1980, when the daily newspapers left linotype for photosynthetic printing. Within a few years, handwriting and monotype were also extinct, as they were replaced by desktop typography. The rapid invasion of electronic printing resulted in the disappearance of the Greek books’ aesthetics tradition.

Source: wikipedia.org