Page images


The pious Collector of it shewed a peculiar regard to such words as occurred in the sacred Scriptures, or especially related to them, and was careful to the utmost of his ability to discover, and even exhaust, the sense of them; an example of this we have under INTERPRES, where he has not only denoted the general meaning of it, but illustrated it by a short history of the several translations of the Old Testament out of the Hebrew into Greek, and out of either into Latin. “ First by the Seventy, next by Aquila, a third and fourth by Theodotion and Symmachus; a fifth that was anonymous, and called the Vulgar Interpretation; besides a sixth and a seventh that were found by Origen, the last of which was of the Psalms only; and both which with immense labour and diligence he collated with all the preceding

The versions out of Greek into Latin were almost innumerable, as St. Augustin observes; for in the Western primitive Church, almost every man that got a Greek Bible into his hands, and was ever so little versed in that language, turned it into his

St. Jerom, who was skilled in all the three tongues, was the only translator of the Scriptures from the Hebrew into the Latin immediately; his translation is very justly esteemed, not only for the elegance and perspicuity of it, but likewise for its strictness and fidelity."

Our Author was beholden to Papias for what he has said here in the explanation of this word; from whom, as well as Hugutius, he owns himself to have transcribed a great many articles.

All that I shall say farther of the Catholicon is, that although the edition of 1460 has neither Faustus's Colophon, nor the mark of a Calf's Horn in the paper, which Naudæus and some others have fancied to be a certain criterion for distinguishing the books which he printed, yet there is not the least reason to doubt its being the work of that incomparable artist. Nor is there any foundation for Trithemius's opinion, which the reputation of his great knowledge in antiquity has imposed on



many, of an edition of it antienter than this we are speaking of, printed upon wooden blocks, before fusile separate types, which this is undeniably done on, were invented. The blocks for this pretended original impression * must be some years preparing; and it is not to be imagined that, amidst the plenty of manuscripts then extant, the copies done off them could be so quickly disposed of, as to encourage or require the undertaking another almost immediately after the first was wrought off; for that must here be the case, considering there is an interval but of ten years, at the most, between the date of our edition and the very first offspring of the press. There cannot be a more improbable supposition and indeed this prodigy of Trithemius's has never yet been found in the most copious libraries, or occurred to the most industrious enquiries of the Learned. But though the editions of this work did not succeed one another so swiftly in the primordial dawn of typography, as this Critick and his followers contend for, yet, in truth, it passed through several before the conclusion of that age, which was of all others the most propitious to learning. As, for instance, in the year 1483, there was an impression of it finished at Venice, corrected and amended by the care, and at the expence, of Herman Liechtenstein. Four years after, viz. in 1487, another was completed by the same person, and in the same city. The fourth edition of it was likewise at Venice, 1495, under the revisal of Boneti Locatelli. At the beginning of the fifth century, Petrus Ægidius, a man of great eminence in the canon and civil laws, very much enlarged it, and printed it at Lyons in 1506, a second time in 1514, and lastly in 1520.

Our Editors, having occasion (as we have seen in their account of the Catholicon) to make mention

* A smaller Catholicon, which was merely a Vocabulary for the use of Schools, was printed with wooden types by Geinsfieich. See “Origin of Printing," pp. 85, 86.

of Papias and Hugutius, as writers to whom the compiler of it has professed himself greatly indebted, have given us a brief history of them as authors, and settled the times in which they flourished. It not being possible for us to go through the subject now, we shall close this article for the present with an abstract of it.

Papias was by nation a Lombard. We know not when he was born, but he was undoubtedly more antient than Joannes Januensis, as appears by this latter's copying from him. It is surprising that any one should degrade him so low as the age of the Catholicon; and even Trithemius, Platina, Cornel à Beughem, and Jac. Phil. Bergomensis, are mistaken, in imagining him to be but one hundred years earlier; he was two + the least, as we are assured by Caspar Barius in his Adversaria, who therem agrees with the Chronicon Albericum MS. where it is noted, that in the year 1053, being the 13th of the Emperor Henry, the son of Conrad, Papias set forth his book, intituled, ELEMENTARIUM DOCTRINÆ ERUDIMENTUM.

He was a man admirably versed in prophane literature, as celebrated a grammarian as any of his time, a complete master in the Greek and Latin tongues, and perfectly acquainted with the Scriptures, and the Works of the Fathers. He wrote a great many things both on divine and human subjects. Trithemius had seen only three, viz. “ De Ordine Dicendi,” “De Linguæ Latina Vocabulis," and “ Epistolæ ad diversos.” The second is that he is most known by. Scaliger indeed undervalues it extremely; he treats it as ignominiously as Erasmus does the Catholicon, and calls it fatile opus; but others extol it as much, and set it out for a rich repository of learning: Barthius in particular expatiates in the praises of it. Perhaps it will be speaking the truth of it to say, that it was enriched with the spoils of all that had preceded it. It had several impressions; one at Milan in 1476, and four


following ones at Venice, annis 1485, 1487, 1491,

and 1496.

Hugutius, whom the Catholicon transcribed also, was a Pisan by birth, and Bishop of Ferrara. A man of conspicuous figure about the year 1196. I suppose the first preferment the Pope conferred on him was the coadjutorship of a monastery, in the library of which he met with Papias, and out of him in a great measure composed his Glossary, or Book of Derivations. Bóccatius gives him a good character in his “ Genealogy of the Gods.” Whether he wrote the “ Treatise of Animals" that is usually ascribed to him is uncertain, as there were others of his name contemporary with him famous for learning; particularly one, promoted to the purple 1191, who was reckoned the greatest Civilian and Canonist of that age. His Vocabulary has never been printed, and the manuscript copies of it lie hid only in a few collections. He has recorded his own name and country in the Preface of it, after the odd manner of those times. "If any one asks,” says he, “who was the author or doer of this work, it may be answered, God. If it be demanded whó was the instrument in performing of it, it may be replied, Hugutius of Pisa.” He died about the

year 1212

Our Editors apologize for insisting upon these things so largely The Latin tongue had afterwards otherguise patrons to glory in than those they have now mentioned; but it is the established fate of Literature to grow up to maturity by slow degrees, from the most inconsiderable originals : and they wonder very justly at the ungrateful severity of Erasmus, and some other philologers, towards these primitive nurses, who first took care of the language in the very infancy of its revictior, If it received from them a stronger nourishment, and under their tutelage advanced to perfection, that cannot excuse their deriding or calumniating those who administered their best assistance at its


new birth, and preserved it from perishing, till it was provided with more able guardians *.

His 36

“To that weak and abject state of the Latin tongue, which our former article on this subject was employed in giving an account of, we may refer Joannes de Garlandia an Englishman, who lived in the reign of Harold the Dane, and made some considerable figure about the year 1040. He shone, not only in the character of a grammarian, but likewise of a chemist, a mathematician, and divine.

Synonyma et Equivoca, or Book of Synonymous and Equivocal "Terms,” passed through the press at Cologn so soon as 1490; and was again printed at London, in quarto, by Richard Pynson 1496. This edition, as I judge by the title of it, was improved, not only by Galfridus's Exposition on the Synonyma, but by digesting the Equivoca into an alphabetical order; which circumstance seems to have been otherwise in the original.

It may suffice (to keep up the Series) barely to mention here a few others of the same inferior class with the foregoing writers. Such as, Simon de Janua, author of a Physical Lexicon; Marchesinus of Reggio, also near Modena, of the order of Minor Friars, who composed a Dictionary of the words used in the Scripture and Liturgies; it was, I presume, something of the same nature with Pasor's Lexicon of the New Testament, which we have now: its first appearance in print was at Mentz 1470. Nic. Jenson printed it next at Venice, in quarto, 1479. It had other editions elsewhere. I pass over Gemma Gemmarum, with other Vocabularies of like value; but Nestor Dionysius of Novaria, a Minorite, must not be entirely omitted; he flourished just upon the turn of Learning's fortune, when Letters began to shine, and one might sen

* Republick of Letters, vol. XV. pp. 441-449.

« PreviousContinue »