Johannes Oporinus

John Oporinus ( born January 25, 1507 Basel, † July 6, 1568 in Basel), actually John Herbst, was a book printer.


John Oporinus was born in Basel, the son of the painter Hans autumn. He completed his academic training in Strasbourg and Basel. After working as a teacher in the Cistercian monastery of St. Urban, he returned to Basel, where he worked as a proofreader at Johann Froben, the most important Basel printer of the early 16th century. In addition, he has taught since 1526 at the Basel Latin School. 1537 Oporinus taught Greek at the University of Basel. In 1542 he gave up his teaching position in order to devote himself full time Druckoffizin can. In addition, he completed a medical degree and was temporarily famulus the famous physician Paracelsus.

Oporin was married four times, his first wife with Margarethe Feer, in second with Maria Nochpur in third with Elisabeth Woodbach, daughter of the doctor Eucharius Woodbach and widow of Jean Herwagen, and the fourth with Faustina Amerbach, daughter of Boniface Amerbach and widow of the law professor Ulrich Iselin.


The first edition of the Latin Qur'an of 1542/43 ( the first printed Koran worldwide) Oporinus brought in considerable difficulties. The Basel city council wanted to avoid the pressure, but was due to the intervention of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. In October 1546 his Offizin published a paper on the assassination of the Spanish Protestants Juan Díaz, entitled Historia vera de morti sancti viri Ioannis Diazii Hispani [ ... ] by Claudium Senarclaeum, the Francisco de Enzinas is attributed. Later Oporinus moved the church historical works of Matthias Flacius ( Catalogus testium veritatis 1556 and 1562) and of this excited Magdeburg Centuries ( from 1559 to 1574, only the ages 1-13 were carried out ).

In addition, numerous theological pamphlets, editions of the classics and historiographical works appeared. He died in debt. His signature collection and his extensive correspondence have been preserved in the University Library of Basel.


His thorough knowledge of the ancient languages ​​benefited the quality of consistently correct text editions of his workshop. Looking at the title page of a Oporinus - pressure copper vignette that catches your eye. It shows the mythical lyre player Arion of Lesbos, which is supported by a dolphin of the sea. The most important printing unit of the officina was the Anatomy Atlas De humani corporis fabrica of the humanist Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), published in 1543.