The First Greek Printing Press in Constantinople (1625-1628)

Nil Pektas

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The thesis is a study of the first Greek printing house established in
Constantinople in 1627‐1628 by the Greek monk Nikodemos Metaxas, who began his printing venture in London’s Fleet Street in 1625. The aim of the thesis is to explore the history of Metaxas’s press and examine the intricate web of relations behind the establishment and closure of his printing house. The study follows Metaxas’s arrival in London, his printing activities in England, the transportation of the printing device to the Ottoman capital, the books produced in Constantinople and the events leading to the confiscation of the press and its
subsequent release. The research is based on published and unpublished
material, including the diplomatic reports and the correspondence between
English, French, Venetian and Dutch ambassadors, letters exchanged between
George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cyril Loukaris, the Patriarch of
Constantinople; the letters of Sir Thomas Roe, English ambassador to the Porte,
and other contemporary accounts of the event such as those collected by clergymen Thomas Smith and Antoine Leger; and the extant copies of all printed
volumes containing the treatises published by Metaxas in London, Constantinople and Cephalonia between 1624‐1628 and various manuscripts
dispersed around the world relating to his publications.

In terms of structure, the thesis comprises an Introduction, two Parts (I‐II), and
a Conclusion. The Introduction presents the aim and scope of the thesis, the
material examined, the approach and methodology adopted, and a survey of
previous research on the subject. Part I examines the historical evidence of
Metaxas’s printing activities. It consists of three Chapters (1‐3). Chapter 1 focuses on Nikodemos Metaxas’s earlier life. Chapter 2 investigates Metaxas’s printing activities in London, concentrating on the printed volumes he produced and the manuscripts he used. Chapter 3 examines Metaxas’s arrival in Constantinople, the political and diplomatic reverberations of the mutual understanding between Loukaris and Roe, the establishment and the subsequent closure of his printing house, followed by his return to his native Cephalonia.
Part II is devoted to a description and analysis of the physical aspects of
Metaxas’s book production. This section comprises three Chapters (4‐6)
examining (4) the typefaces; (5) ornamentation including title‐pages, initial
letters, borders, head‐ and tail‐pieces, bands, printer’s flowers and other motifs;
and (6) paper and ink.
The Conclusion summarises the findings of the research and suggests areas for
further investigation. The thesis closes with full bibliography, Appendices (I-II-III) and Plates with facsimiles of selected folios of manuscripts and pages of
books cited therein.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dendrinos, Charalambos, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Early Modern Europe
  • History of the Book and Printing
  • Greek publishing
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Cultural and Intellectual History
  • Renaissance
  • Orthodox Church
  • Reformation
  • Printing in Britain

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