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Many New Latin book title pages look like the following:

title page

What are the rules or at least the habits followed for which part of the title is either italicized, capitalized, etc.? I guess it has something to do with the grammatical function of clauses but I'm not sure.

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  • My instinct wouldn't have been that it has anything to do with grammar per se, but rather that it's just to distinguish titles/alternative titles, subtitles, additional information etc. I'm sure it owes more to contemporary trends in English book publishing than anything Latin-specific.
    – dbmag9
    Sep 11, 2022 at 9:53
  • I don't get why you are referring to English trends, it's a book from 1731
    – user11281
    Sep 11, 2022 at 10:11
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    My mistake, I hadn't read the cover, I should have referred to French trends as the book was published in France. My point stands though.
    – dbmag9
    Sep 11, 2022 at 11:17

1 Answer 1

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This was not a Latin-specific trend, but a general typesetting trend in early modern Europe. For example, Robert Boyle's Experiments, Notes, &c About the Mechanical Origine or Production of divers particular qualities (1675) has a similar format:

Scan of title page in a 1675 printing of Robert Boyle's Experiments, Notes, Etc

As does Hauksbee's Physico-Mechanical Experiments on Various Subjects (1709):

Scan of Haukbee's Physico Mechanical Experiments title page

French titles used this style as well, for instance the Journal des Voyages de Monsieur de Monconys (1677):

Scan of title page of Mons. de Monconys Journal des Voyages

It was dependent on the printer and the location. Looking at Italy, the Saggi (essays) of the Accademia del Cimento (1666) used different colors and less variation in font:

Scan of title page of the Saggi of the Accademia del Cimento

I'm not sure if there was a convention for this sort of typesetting, but it was common and "trendy" at the time. It's not Latin-specific though, so you'd probably do better to ask this on the History SE.

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