B. Early printed Latin-French and French-Latin dictionaries

"[T]he introduction of the press came at just the proper moment, when a material sufficiently cheap (paper) had proved its suitability for the production of books (whether manuscript or otherwise) and a sufficient literate population was at hand. Printing made possible a cheap product to meet a heavy demand." (Bühler 1960: 124, n.8). Although opinions differ as to the extent of literacy in Europe in the fifteenth century,  [73] it is certain that a ready market existed for copies of well-established works.

In the first half-century of printing, virtually every ancient and medieval grammar and lexicon (with the exception of Hugutio's Magnae derivationes) appeared in print at least once (Collison 1982: 55f.). Gutenberg first printed the Ars minor of Donatus in 1452, and subsequently printed twenty-three further editions of it. He also printed the first dictionary, the Catholicon of John Balbi, in 1460. By 1500 the Catholicon had been reprinted twenty-four times. Other popular early linguistic texts include Alexander of Villedieu's Doctrinale (at least ten editions by the end of the century), Pliny's Historia naturalis (many editions between 1469 and 1498), Varro's De lingua latina (printed at least seven times between 1471 and 1500) and Seutonius's De grammaticis et rhetoribus (first printed in Padua in 1473). The De proprietate sermonum of Nonius Marcellus was printed at least nine times between 1471 and 1500. In some editions it is combined with Festus's epitome of De verborum significatu and Varro's De lingua latina. As we have noted earlier (see 1.3.6.), the first book printed in Spain (1475) was the Comprehensorium, a Latin dictionary compiled in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century.

Greek lexica were equally popular with early printers. The Suda (late tenth-early eleventh century) was first printed in Milan in 1498, and the twelfth-century Etymologicon magnum, whose contents derive chiefly from Photius, was printed in Venice in 1499. The second-century Onomasticon of Julius Pollux was printed in Venice in 1502.

More contemporary Latin works include the Orthographia of Gasparino of Barzizza (1370-1431), printed in Paris in 1470 or 1471, and the Commentarium grammaticorum libri duo of Joannes Tortellino and De elegantia latinae linguae written by the Italian humanist Laurentius Valla (c.1407-1457), both first printed in Italy in 1471. The Elucidarius carminum et historiarum, vel, Vocabularius, a dictionary of proper nouns and their allusions compiled by the classical scholar Hermann Torrentius (d.1520), was printed in 1498. This text was revised by Robert Estienne and published in 1530 (Collison 1982: 57).

Scholars also created new comprehensive Latin dictionaries for the new medium, although most of them drew material from earlier lexica. Included among the new Latin works are the Vocabularius breviloquus compiled by the German humanist and reformer Johannes Reuchlin and first printed in Switzerland in 1475; the Vocabularius of Nestor Dionysius, first printed in Milan in 1483; and the Dictionarium compiled by Ambrogio Calepino and first printed in Reggio nell'Emilia in 1502.

Printed editions of bilingual lexica were also much in demand. Not surprisingly, many of them were copied, entirely or in part, from manuscript glossaries and dictionaries. The earliest printed Latin-vernacular dictionary was the Vocabularius Ex quo, a Latin-German dictionary based on the fourteenth-century Latin-German Vocabularius brevilogus. It was first printed by Heinrich Bechtermünze in Eltville in 1467. The Gemma gemmarum, another Latin-German dictionary based on earlier manuscripts, was printed before the end of the century. The Spanish grammarian and humanist Antonio de Nebrija wrote an original Latin-Spanish dictionary, the Lexicon o diccionario latino-español (see 6.0.), which was printed in 1492. In 1495, Nebrija reversed his dictionary, making Spanish the entry language and Latin the exit. As far as we know, this is the first printed vernacular-Latin dictionary. In England, Wynkyn de Worde printed an alphabetical Latin-English dictionary, Ortus vocabulorum, founded on the Medulla grammatica and the Catholicon, in 1500. John Stanbridge printed two thematic Latin-English glossaries, Vocabula in 1496, and Vulgaria in 1508.

In France, three series of bilingual dictionaries dominated the field until the 1530s, when Robert Estienne printed his first lexicographical works. Two of these were based on earlier manuscripts: the Catholicon abbreviatum, whose source is the Aalma series of glossaries (see 2.5.3.), was first printed in Paris c.1482; and the Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus, which is closely related to the Glossarium gallico-latinum (see 2.5.5.) and the Dictionarius of Firmin Le Ver (see 2.5.6.), was printed in Rouen c.1490. The third Latin-French dictionary in this group is the Vocabularius Nebrissensis, based on the Latin-Catalan adaptation of the Latin-Spanish Lexicon written by Antonio de Nebrija. It was first printed in Lyons in 1511.

B.S. Merrilees and W. Edwards have been examining and analyzing the Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus (VFC) for some time, and have presented partial results of their findings in several articles, especially Merrilees/Edwards 1989 and Merrilees/Edwards 1995. They are currently preparing an edition of the VFC for publication in the Nouveau Recueil des Lexiques latin-français du Moyen Age. It will, of course, include a detailed description of the dictionary's sources, organization and structure.

M. Lindemann and B. Lépinette have studied the Vocabularius Nebrissensis/Epithoma vocabulorum (VN/EV) closely, and their findings published so far (Lindemann 1985, Lindemann 1994: 250f.; Lépinette 1992) shed valuable light on this little-known dictionary.

The Catholicon abbreviatum (CA), on the other hand, has not been the object of detailed analysis, although Lindemann's work (1985: 58f., and 1994: 222f.) is capital in pointing the way to further study. Due to the lack of previous study, we examine in detail the CA's printing history and the contribution of the editions. Our discussion of the VFC and the VN/EV is more general, because of the excellent previous and current work on them.

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