This volume, printed in Venice in 1486, is the second psalter printed in Italy (after that of Giovanni Crastone, printed in Milan in 1481). Like most breviaries and psalters (which contain all 150 psalms, divided into days and hours), this edition makes use of red and black ink and of introductory marginalia to identify sections within the work.
Little is known of the two Cretan printers, Alessandro and Laonico, who produced this work. In the same year, however, Laonico published the first dated edition of Homer’s Batrachomiomachia. The flourishing city of Venice proved to be fertile ground for the art of printing, beginning with the arrival in 1469 of the German printer Johann of Speyer, followed by other printers from across Europe. Venetian printing reached its peak between the late 1400s and early 1500s, with the innovations made by the printing workshop of Aldo Manuzio.
The Cretans who produced this work dedicated themselves to printing texts in Greek characters, including the original accents and breathings. These works found a wide market, especially among the new social classes of Eastern merchants and tradesmen who, drawn by Venice's location along crucial trade routes, helped to make the city an apex for the innovation and dissemination of the newborn art of printing.