hidden europe 70

Colophon: last words

by Nicky Gardner

Picture above: Colophon in Pierre d'Ailly's 'Concordantia astronomiae cum theologia concordantia astronomy cum historica narratione' printed in 1490 in Augsburg (ima


Colophon was a hilltop city of the Ancient Greeks, located on what is now Turkish territory. But there’s another kind of colophon, a sort of publisher’s endnote. Because we want to end on a high note, hidden europe 70 concludes with a colophon.

Bookish types, and we sense that there are lots of bookish types among readers of hidden europe , know about colophons. Taking their name from the ancient Ionian city of Colophon, the word colophon (kολοφών) translates from the Greek as “summit” but in the context of printing and publishing it hints of a crowning touch.

Colophon is one of those many aspirations captured on our huge list entitled ‘places we shall one day go to and write about for hidden europe’. One of the magazine’s editors actually once visited Ephesus and missed a trick by failing to go to the ruins of nearby Colophon which are on a hill north-west of Ephesus. There are good tales to be told of Colophon, most particularly about its association with pine resin and leeches. The Greek physician Nicander of Colophon, who also dabbled in poetry and was famously punctilious about grammar, pioneered the medicinal uses of leeches.

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