Calepinus Septem Linguarum (1778)

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Nesrad
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Calepinus Septem Linguarum (1778)

Post by Nesrad » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:15 pm

This is yet another post about a monolingual dictionary.

In another thread, I mentioned four monolingual dictionaries that I found interesting, namely: Estienne's Thesaurus, Gesner's revision of the same, Forcellini's Totius Latinitatis Lexicon, and Wagner's Lexicon Latinum. One user also mentioned Comenius's Lexicon Atriale, which I might have added. I purposely left out Calepinus's Dictionarium because I thought at the time that it was too primitive to be very useful compared to modern dictionaries. That may be true in the early editions, but as it turns out, there are later editions that have the potential to be very useful as an intermediate dictionary.

The most interesting edition I have come across is that of J. B. Gallicciolli. A 1778 printing can be found on Google Books: Volume 1, Volume 2. (EDIT: Here is a better source: Volume 1, Volume 2.)

What makes this edition interesting is that it was published after Forcellini's Lexicon. We read in the preface that Facciolati had published a revision of Calepinus. He understood the limitations of the Calepinus and recognized the need for a larger work, which was the Totius Latinitatis Lexicon, completed in 1771 by the sole effort of his pupil Forcellini. Forcellini wrote that one of the reasons for his tireless efforts on the Lexicon was to be of help to "studious youth". Gallicciolli points out that a dictionary in 16 volumes is of little help to the studious youth. That is why he considers the Calepinus to be useful as an intermediate dictionary that holds a place between the "minora lexica" and the Lapis Lydius of Forcellini's Lexicon. Yet he confesses that a certain number of words were deemed lacking in Facciolatti's Calepinus, which he therefore extracted from Forcellini's Lexicon and added to this edition of the Calepinus.

In the other thread, someone mentioned that the best choice for a monolingual dictionary is Forcellini. I answered that it was far too big to be useful as an everyday dictionary, and that it was a pity that nobody had bothered to publish an abridged version. I think Gallicciolli's revision of Calepinus might be considered something like an abridgement of Forcellini. According to Gallicciolli, the later editions of Calepinus were so different from the original work that the original author would not have recognized it. One might say that although it bears the name of Calepinus, it is an altogether different work.

The title "Calepinus Septem Linguarum" speaks of seven languages, but it's obvious that this is a essentially a monolingual dictionary with a few equivalents tacked on in other languages, with a preference for Italian.

So, I wonder if the best monolingual dictionary could be Gallicciolli's Calepinus. The Google scans are too poor to consider transcribing. If someone comes across other scans, please let me know.
Last edited by Nesrad on Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:16 am, edited 5 times in total.

Nesrad
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Re: Calepinus Septem Linguarum (1778)

Post by Nesrad » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:40 pm

Good news, I found some better scans: Volume 1, Volume 2.

cb
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Re: Calepinus Septem Linguarum (1778)

Post by cb » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:51 pm

hi, see pgs 194 and 197 of greswell's history here: stephanus created his dictionary because he despaired of simply updating calepinus' imperfections:

https://archive.org/stream/ofearlyparis ... 4/mode/2up

so you would need to check that whoever updated calepinus later put in serious work, just to bring it up to the level of good scholarship of that time (not to say all that has been worked out since).

the best way would be to try it out: read a text with it, look up words you don't know in that dictionary from the past: if you find yourself then consulting a modern dictionary to update or understand the old dictionary, i think it would show that you need something else as a base dictionary to work from to produce a new abridged version.

i should add, i'm a great sympathiser with using these renaissance dictionaries, i own several and for reading works within the canon, you're highly unlikely in my view to be misled by the definitions in these dictionaries - those guys knew their cicero etc through and through. what i think though is that if you are trying to produce something new, like an abridgement etc, then it would be best to start from the latest scholarship. a similar idea is with critical texts - for my iliad reading my favourite edition is joshua barnes' edition from the 1700s. however if ever i was going to do anything with the iliad text itself (such as when i did scansions of the first 2 books on my old site eg http://www.freewebs.com/mhninaeide/Ilia ... an2005.pdf) i wouldn't have started from an old text from the 1700s or so, but instead i laboriously worked up martin west's latest text and worked from that - polytonic greek wasn't so good a decade ago so i had to find workarounds to get macrons with capital letters.

in my view the scholarship from the past is very useful to use but the latest scholarship is the best platform for doing further work yourself.

cheers, chad

Nesrad
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Re: Calepinus Septem Linguarum (1778)

Post by Nesrad » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:28 am

I think you're right about the older Calepinus, and to be honest I have my doubts about the 1778 edition, but from the few entries I have examined it looks quite good. It should be noted that Stephanus (aka Estienne) was trying to fill another need altogether. His work was more scholarly than an everyday dictionary. The fact that new editions of Calepinus continued to be made for more than two centuries after Stephanus published his Thesaurus shows that the two works had different purposes. As to my goals, I am not a lexicographer. I only hope to one day see a proper single volume monolingual dictionary (re)published.

Nesrad
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Re: Calepinus Septem Linguarum (1778)

Post by Nesrad » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:27 am

After several months of using Gallicciolli's dictionary, I am pleased to report that it has proven to be very useful and completely adequate for my puposes. It has displaced Lewis's Elementary Latin Dictionary as my everyday reading dictionary. It's generally more useful than Forcellini's Lexicon which has far too much detail for casual use. The only down side is the primitive 18th century typography and page layout which would make a reprint very unlikely.

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