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new birth, and preserved it from perishing, till it was provided with more able guardians *.
" 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. His 6 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. 441-419.
sibly discern their progress towards that merirlian splendour they soon after rose to. He awoke, as it were, just time enough to discover and laugh at the blind dreams of those that preceded him, though at the same time he appeared to such as followed him not very sprightly or clear-sighted himself. His Dictionary was first published in 1488. It was reprinted at Paris 1496; and at Venice that same year, by Phil. Pinzius; and afterwards in 1502 and 1507; and revised by Johan. Tacuinus.
Our Editors are at length come to a more auspicious period, when the Roman language had happily recovered its pristine lustre. They have now such men to celebrate as Erasmus, Valla, Longolius, and Linacer, with many others of like fame and ability; who were accurate grammarians, elegant translators of the inost valuable Greek authors, and masters of all the purity and beauty of the Latin tongue. But their immediate concern is with those only who have distinguished themselves in the Republick of Letters under the character of Lexicographers.
The first taken notice of by them is Johannes Tortellius, a native of Arezzo in Tuscany; he was a favourite with two Popes. He was sub-dean and chamberlain to Eugenius the IVth, and afterwards the chief confident of Nicholas the Vth, his librarykeeper, and an intimate companion of his studies. He was highly esteeined for his great knowledge and acquaintance with the Greek and Latin literature, and equally beloved for the engaging qualifications of a sweet disposition and venerable behaviour. Laurentius Valla, who was himself a most excellent grammarian, had an entire friendship for him, and paid such a deference to his opinion and judgment, that he dedicated to him his books “ De Latinâ Elegantiâ.” He was universally commended for his grammatical exactness in writing, as well as for the perfection of his style. His Dictionary is divided into two parts; the first, which is very short, treats of the invention, number, figure, pronun ·
ciation, ciation, and joining of the letters of the alphabet. The second, which is much longer, contains an alphabetical catalogue of Latin words, chiefly derived from the Greeks; of which (says Bayle) he teaches, or endeavours to teach, the orthography. This work was printed at Tarvis, 1477. Its second impression was at Vicenza 1480. It had three editions afterwards at Venice, in the years 1493, 1495, 1504; and another at Vicenza again 1508, &c. Besides this great undertaking, our author wrote several Epistles, which were published. He likewise translated the Life of Athanasius by order of Pope Eugenius, and turned Appian's History into Latin, verbatim. Vossius thinks it was he, who, under the title of Archpresbyter of Arezza, compiled the Memors of St. Zenobius.
With Tortellius, our Editors join Junianus Maius, a Neapolitan; not merely because they were contemporary, but as they had nearly the same taste and biass in their studies. He wrote, besides Epistles and some other things, “ De priscorum Verborum Proprietate.” Trithemius gives him a very advantageous character; he extols both his genius and his elocution; and celebrates his skill in philology, divinity, philosophy, and rhetorick. He was indefatigable in investigating and noting the peculiar force and significancy of certain words and phrases. His Dictionary, under the abovementioned title, was inscribed to Henry de Lunguard, an Archbishop, and Confessor to Ferdinand King of Naples. He tells that Prelate, in the Preface of it, “ That he may in that book see what the antient and modern Grammarians have written of the power and virtue of words, in separate pieces, collected and digested into a regular method. He intimates as though the work were not originally begun by him, but that he had found a plan and part of a superstructure raised by some other hand, which, at a mighty expence of labour and contrivance, he had new-modelled and completed; retrenching what he saw superfluous in the first de
sign, and enlarging it in other instances where he perceived it to be scanty and deficient: making considerable additions to it, not only from Laurentius Valla and Tortellius, but also from Servius, Donatus, Porphyrion, Acron (those approved Commentators on Horace, Terence, and Virgil); together with Macrobius, Aulus Gellius, Sirabo, Non!us Marcellus. &c. He complains of its being hastened out of his hands by some people's eagerness, before he could methodize it so accurately as he desired, or enrich it with that affluence of words which he intended to collect from Pliny, Vitruvius, Columella, Celsus, and Varro.” There were four impressions of this book in folio; the first at. Naples 1475. The two following ones at Tarvisa in 1477 and 1480. The last again at Naples, 1490. .
After Maius follows Johannes Reuchlinus or Capnio, a Gerinan, born of honest and genteel parents, on the 28th of December 1454. He was. exceedingly well versed in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues; and happily promoted the restoration of ihem in his own country. Erasmus styles him the Phoenix of those three languages. He was sent ambassador from the Palatine Court to Rome, where he closely attended the Hebrew Lectures of Abdias a Jew, and the Greek ones of Argyrophylus. This latter observing his eager thirst after the Grecian Literature, enquired wlience he came, and being told he was of Germany, and not entirely ignorant of that Learning which he was a professor of, he desired him to read and interpret a paragraph or tivo of Thucydides; which when Reuchlin immediately did, pronouncing it aright, and translating it not only justly but elegantly, Argyropylus cried out in a kind of transport and amaze, “Our banishnient has transported Greece over the Alpine mountains.” This excellent person had the felicity to be loved by princes, and applauded by all the Literati: his talents for negotiating their most arduous affairs with expe
dition and success recommended him to the former, i and the praises of the latter were a tribute he deserved
for his unwearied endeavours to promote their fame and interest.
He was the author of a Latin Dictionary, which some have highly commended; but, to speak impartially, as that tongue was not quite refined and reduced to its sterling purity at the time he compiled it, he admitted a great many foreign and even barbarous terms to creep in, that have much debased and undervalued it: for which reason, as well as because the succeeding age produced much better performances of the same kind, this has for a long while been of little or no value, and almost entirely forgotten: Reuchlin was but very young when it came out of his hands, and he presented it to the · learned world as the primitiæ of his studies. Melchior Adam (in his Life) suggests as if he undertook it at the instance of the younger Amerbachs *, about the time of their setting-up for themselves: that is not improbable; there were none readier to excite or employ men of letters than those illustrious brothers. But our Editors think him mistaken in supposing it was first printed by them in folio at Basil; they are positive it was by their father, a man of incomparable learning and virtue. There were prefixed to it some small grammatical and orthographical pieces, viz. a little tract of Guarinus Veronensis of the true writing of Diphthongs; a Dialogue on the Art of Pointing; a Discourse of Accent, &c.
* Sce Mr. De Missy's very curious Anecdote of Bruno and Basil Amerbach's Polyglott Psalter, in “The Origin of Printing," p. 126.
+ Some perhaps will voncier at these epithets, who only reflect on their unsuitableness to the artists of our age and country, but those they are applied to here were really deserving of theus. We must no more rate the Amerbachs right to these titles br that of Printers now, than we would judge of the rank and dignity of Raphael or Michael Angelo, of Leonard de Vinci or Titian, by the merit and figure of the English Painters. Sola nobilitat l'irtus, though generally a very improper motto, where it is most commonly placed, is yet true enough to make a maxim, and might very properly have been engraven on the nonument of these learned and noble Typographers.