Originally of Mainz, protoprinter in Italy, who established a press at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Scholastica, subiaco, apparently upon invitation of Cardinal Juan de torquemada; fl. 1465 to 1477. His first work, a Latin grammar of Donatus, has not survived. The first dated book was lactantius's De divinis institutionibus (1465). After completing Augustine's De civitate Dei (1467), he moved to Rome where he produced 28 classic and religious works by 1472, notably (1471–72) a five–volume Italian commentary on the Bible by Nicolaus de Lyra and an edition of St. Jerome's letters (1476). His printings averaged 275 copies. Another printer, Arnold Pannartz (c. 1465–76), was associated with Sweynheym in these undertakings.
Bibliography: e. von rath, "Spread of Printing in the 15th Century," A History of the Printed Book, ed. l. c. wroth (New York 1938). w. d. orcutt, The Book in Italy during the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Shown in Facsimile Reproduction (New York 1928).
[e. p. willging]