7.0. Lexicographical works of Robert Estienne to 1539  [88]

Robert Estienne (1503-1559)  [89] was the son of a Parisian printer, Henri Estienne, and (following his father's death in 1520), the stepson of another printer, Simon de Collines. After finishing his studies, Robert worked for his stepfather until about 1526, when he established himself as an independent printer in premises formerly occupied by his father in the Clos Bruneau, rue St-Jean de Beauvais (Brandon 1904: 3f.). He exercised his trade there until his move to Geneva in 1550, where he continued to print until his death.

As a printer, Robert Estienne's program was a practical one. Over a period of more than thirty years it covered a wide range of Latin and Greek classics, several editions of the Bible in Latin as well as an edition in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, grammars and other pedagogical works in both Latin and French, and several dictionaries, addressed to different audiences.

As an author and editor, we can say with Starnes (1963: 10) that "[h]is was an historical and critical method like that of such humanist scholars as Colet and Erasmus".

7.1. Early Lexicographical Works

Artz (1966: 84) tells us: This Bible, usually called the Complutensian  [92] Polyglot Bible, comprises six volumes, of which Volume VI is a glossary of Hebrew, Chaldean, Greek and Latin words (Starnes 1963: 16). Robert Estienne based his first lexicographical work on the glossary in the Complutensian Bible. It is a glossary of proper names in the Scriptures and an index of the Old Testament, entitled Hebraea, Chaldaea, Graeca et Latina nomina, which was a companion volume to his first edition of the Bible, printed in 1528. The 1532 edition includes an enlarged glossary and an index of both Old and New Testaments. Such a glossary and index are found in all of Estienne's subsequent editions of the Latin Bible (id. 1963: 10f.).

In 1537, Estienne published the glossary of proper names and the index to the Scriptures as a separate work with the title:

Estienne acknowedges his debt to the Complutensian Bible at the beginning of this independent edition of the glossary: Deinde, interpretationem, quae in Bibliis Compluti impressis erat, in omnibus fere secuti sumus (Starnes 1963: 17). Armstrong (1956: 90) remarks that this glossary "is virtually a dictionary".

Further evidence of Estienne's feeling that proper names needed separate treatment comes from his revision of a dictionary of proper nouns compiled by Herman Torrentius (first printed in 1498). Estienne printed the Dictionarium poeticum quod vulgo inscribatur Elucidarius Carminum in 1530 and again in 1535. This text was the basis for his own work entitled Elucidarius poeticus, sive Dictionarium nominum proprium, published in 1541, "but his compilation deals more completely and systematically with the proper names found in ancient literature, with details and references, and incorporates general geographical information of a kind not to be found in the older book at all" (Armstrong 1956: 90).

Estienne's first large, original lexicographical work appeared in 1531: his Dictionarium, seu Latinae linguae Thesaurus, usually called Thesaurus.

7.2. Dictionarium, seu Latinae linguae Thesaurus

Brandon (1904: 27f.) defines three stages in the development of Latin lexicography from the invention of printing until Estienne produced his large lexicographical works.

The first stage is represented by John Balbi's Catholicon. It was the first dictionary to be printed and it dominated the field in the last half of the fifteenth century. The nomenclature of the Catholicon contains ancient and medieval words, and the microstructure is a mixture of encyclopaedic articles and shorter ones. Balbi's citations are drawn mainly from earlier lexica including Papias and Hugutio, from the Vulgate and the Church Fathers, as well as from grammarians and commentators. From the humanist viewpoint, the Catholicon "lacks a solid base: that is, a classical vocabulary supported by citations from authors of good Latinity" (Brandon 1904: 28). We would also include in the first stage the Latin dictionary called Vocabularius breviloquus, compiled by Johannes Reuchlin from a manuscript dictionary based on the Catholicon (see 5.1.2.), and first published in 1475.

The Cornucopiae sive linguae latinae commentarii of Nicholas Perotto, published in 1489 (nine years after Perotto's death), represents the second stage in printed Latin dictionaries. Perotto carefully selected Latin words and studied them thoroughly in order to comment on their meaning and their classical usage. The consultability of the Cornucopiae is aided by an appendix in which the words commented on are listed in alphabetical order with a reference to the page on which they are treated (Brandon 1904: 28). The second stage should probably also include the Commentarii linguae latinae based chiefly on Ciceronian usage, written by Étienne Dolet. Although Dolet was a contemporary of Robert Estienne (the Commentarii were published in two volumes in 1536-1538), his method was entirely different, as Christie (1964: 244f.) explains:

The third stage in dictionary development, according to Brandon, is found in the Dictionarium of Ambrogio Calepino (see 6.1.4.). Calepino's principal source appears to have been a thematic dictionary written by Franciscus Grapaldus, entitled Lexicon de partibus aedium, and first printed in Parma in 1494 (Collison 1982: 64, Green 1996: 50). Each of the twenty-four chapters of the Lexicon begins with a description of the apparatus, instruments, furnishings, etc. of a particular part of a house (such as Apotheca or Gynaecium), but moves on to a general discussion of the subject (Green 1996: 50f.), thus furnishing additional vocabulary and definitions.

It is almost certain that Calepino also used the Catholicon as a source. A number of its lemmata are found in the nomenclature of the Dictionarium: see Appendix 7 for a comparison of lemmata beginning Mag- in the two dictionaries. However, the structure of the articles is different in several respects, as we see from Exhibit 36:

Exhibit 36: Article Abominor in the Catholicon and the Dictionarium of Ambrogio Calepino
Catholicon Dictionarium
Abominor abominaris abominatus sum componitur ex ab et ominor ominaris quod est auguror. et est abominari abhorrere aliquid cum execracione repellere. execrari. detestari. vel malum omine imprecari. Unde hic abominium nii. execracio. et hec abominarium. liber ubi abominaciones scribebantur et correpta mi abominor. et est verbum deponens. Ro. ii Qui abominaris ydola sacrilegium facis. Abominor penultima correpta ex ab et ominor: de quo infra. Est autem abominari execrari fastidire et quasi pro malo omine habere. Pli. Abominamur recedente aliquo ab epulis simul verri solum: aut bibente conviva mensam vel repositorium tolli in auspicatissimum iudecatur...
Mainz 1460; reprint Gregg: Westmead 1971 Josse Bade et Jean Petit, Paris, 1516/1517

In this example, Calepino retains phonetic and derivational information but omits grammatical details, and replaces the etymological definition with an internal reference. Lindemann (1994: 118) points out another important difference between the two dictionaries, that is, the function of citations. She explains that in the Catholicon Balbi frequently uses citations to support the encyclopaedic commentary. By contrast, Calepino uses citations from classical authors to prove the purity of the Latin form.

Brandon (1904: 29) remarks that it appears Calepino did not draw his citations directly from the authors but rather took them from grammarians and commentators, which diminishes the scientific value of the work. Nevertheless, the Dictionarium represents a step forward from the Catholicon, through the elimination of much medieval Latin vocabulary, the number of citations, and the absence of encyclopaedic articles (although Calepino retains some proper nouns).

Calepino's dictionary was an immediate success and enjoyed a lasting reputation (see 6.1.4.). However, repeated printings and emendations soon made it a difficult work to consult, and about 1528  [93] Estienne was asked to produce an improved edition of Calepino's popular work. He approached several scholars whom he considered suited to the task but, such was the state of the work,  [94] no-one would agree to undertake it. Finally, Estienne decided to write an original work based on a fresh survey of Latin literature (Armstrong 1956: 85), exemplified by the best writers and glossed by the most authoritative commentators (Wooldridge 1989a: 177). The result of three years' intensive labour by Estienne was the appearance in 1531 of a new Latin dictionary, comprising 964 folios and containing a quantity of French interpretations, with the title:

Despite the fact that Estienne considered Calepino's work to be unsatisfactory in many ways, it is clear from the comparison in Exhibit 37 that in this case, at any rate, he used the Dictionarium as his basic source: eliminating, adding, correcting and reordering material according to his own plan, verifying or substituting citations, and adding French forms.

Exhibit 37: Article Macer in the Dictionarium of Ambrogio Calepino and the Thesaurus 1531 of Robert Estienne
Dictionarium Thesaurus 1531
¶  Macer cra. crum. a moerore fit: & exilem extenuatumque significat. Virg. Heu heu quam pingui macer est mihi taurus in arvo. Col. lib. ii. Nam vel pinguissima vel macerrima humo iacitur.
¶  Macies macritudo & macor extenuationem significant. Apu. Unde ista tam subita macies & tantus pallor. Plaut. Ossa atque pellis: ut miser macritudine. Pacu. Corpusque meum tali moerore errore macore sonet.
¶  Macilentus plenus macie. Festus. Macilenti macie attenuati.
¶  Macreo es. macer sum: a quo macresco: macer fio. Col. lib. vi. Dabimusque operam ne penuria cibi macrescat pecus. Var. Qui earum aspectus ad desyderium macrescere facit volucres inclusas.
¶  Maceo ces. macui: idem quod macreo: a quo macesco macescis macer fio. Col. lib. ii. Constat arva segetibus eius scilicet hordei macescere. Varro. Tum propter laborem asperantur: & macescunt.
¶  Macio as. macrum facio. Cuius compositum est emacio: quod est valde macio. Col. lib. v. At certe in ordinariis vitibus utique obtinendum est ne pluribus flagellis emacientur nisi si futuria propaginibus prospiciemus.
¶  Macero as. cum ad corpus refertur significat attenuo contero: ab eo quod est macer. Hora. li. i. car. Quam penitus lentis macerer ignibus. Plaut. in cap. Multos iste morbus homines macerat. Cum autem ad animam significat affligo. Lact. li. vii. Nec ad oculus somnus accedet sed animas hominum sollicitudo ac vigilia macerabit. Proprie tum macerare est mollificare: ut fit cum quippiam tam diu in aqua tenetur donec tenerescat. Teren. in Adel. Salsamenta haec Stephanio fac ut macerentur pulchre. Col. li. i. Piscinas duas alteram quam anseribus pecoribusque serviat: alteram in qua lupinum: ulmi vimina & virgas atque alia quae sunt usibus nostris apta maceremus.
¶ Maceresco maceratus fio. Ca. de re ru. Frumento curgulio ne noceat neu mures tangant lutum de amurca facito: palearum paulum addito: sinito macerescant.
° Macro cras. cuius compositivum est emacro: quod est valde macer fio. Pli. lib. xviii. Terram emacrari <sic> hoc satu existimantes.

Josse Bade et Jean Petit, Paris, 1516/1517

MACER macra macrum, à moerore fit, & exilem, extenuatúmque significat. Maigre. Virg. Heu heu quàm pingui macer est mihi taurus in arvo. Columella lib. 2, Nam vel pinguissima vel macerrima humo iacitur.
    Macellus macella macellum, diminutivum, pro macilento. Lucilius lib. 6, Si nosti, non magnus homo est, nasutus, macellus.
Macilentus macilenta macilentum, Fort maigre. Festus, Macilenti: macie attenuati. Plaut. in Asin. 8.20, Macilentis malis, rufulus, aliquantum ventriosus. Idem in Capt. ll.ll6, Sed qua facie est tuus sodalis Philolacrates: AR. dicam tibi, Macilento ore, naso acuto, corpore albo, & oculis nigris.
Macror macroris, mascul. ge. Idem. Pacuvius, Corpúsque meum tali moerore, errore, macrore senet.
Macritudo macritudinis, foem. gen. Idem. Plautus in Capt. 4.32, Ossa, atque pellis sum misera macritudine.
Macies maciei, foem. gen. Maigreté. Apuleius, Unde ista tam subita macies, & tantus pallor:
Maceo maces, macui, macere, Estre maigre. Plaut. in Aulul. 16.28, Qui ossa, atque pellis totus est, ita cura macet.
Macesco macescis, macui, macescere: Devenir maigre. Plaut. in Capt. 4.32, Ego qui tuo moerore maceror, macesco, consenesco, & tabesco miser. Columella libro secundo, Constat arva segetibus eius (scilicet hordei) macescere. Varro, Tum propter laborem asperantur & macescunt.
Macio macias, maciare, Macrum facere. à quo Emacio. Vide loco suo.
Macreo macres, macrui, macrere, Estre maigre.
Macresco macrescis, macrescere, Macrum fierei. Columella lib. 6, Dabimúsque operam ne penuria cibi macrescat pecus. Varro, Qui earum aspectus ad desyderium macrescere facit volucres inclusas.
Macero maceras, macerare, attenuare, conterere, Faire maigre. & ad corpus tunc refertur. Horat. lib. Car. Quàm penitus lentis macerer ignibus. Plaut. in Capt. Multos iste morbus homines macerat.
    Macerare, Mollificare, ut fit cum quippiam tam diu in aqua tenetur donec tenerescat. Mettre attendir en leaue, Mettre destremper. Terent. in Adelphis, 3.3.27, Salsamenta haec Stephanio fac ut macerentur probé. Columella lib. i, Piscinas duas, alteram quae anseribus, pecoribúsque serviat: alteram in qua lupinum ulmi vimina, & virgas, atque alia, quae sunt usibus nostris apta, maceremus.
    Macerare se, Se affliger, & contrister tellement que lon divienne maigre. Plaut. in trinummo, 5.2, Multas res simul in meo corde vorso, multum in cogitando dolorem indipiscor, egomet me concoquo, & macero, & defatigo. Idem in Milite, 10.22, At hoc me facinus miserum macerat, meúmque cor, corpúsque cruciat. Idem in Capt. 4.30, Qui tuo moerore maceror. Terent. in And. 4.2.2, Tu modo anime mi noli te macerare. Ibidem, 5.3.15, Sed quid ego: cur me excrucio: cur me macero: Idem in Eunu. 1.2. 107, Rus ibo: ibo hoc macerabo biduum.
Maceratus macerata maceratum, Qui est amolli, attendri. Plaut. in Poenulo, 8.21, Macerato hoc pingues fiunt auro in Barbaria boves.
Marceresco marcerescis, macerescere, Maceratum fieri, Devenir mol. Cato de re rustica, Frumento curgulio ne noceat, neu mures tangant, lutum de amurca facito: palearum paulum addito, sinito macerescant.
Macro macras macrare, Faire mol. Unde EMACRARE. Vide loco suo.

Robert Estienne, Paris, 1531

Brandon (1904: 36) writes: "Estienne proposed three improvements in the science of lexicography: that is, purging of the vocabulary, verification of generally accepted interpretations, and more extensive use of classical citations with precise references". Estienne explains his methods in compiling the Thesaurus in a second Preface,  [95] and we discuss them in Chapter 8.

We should stress that the Thesaurus of 1531 (T1531) is not a bilingual dictionary. Brandon (1904: 48) affirms that Estienne had Latin and only Latin in mind. He intended T1531, which is addressed studiosis lectoribus, to be used both by students and by scholars knowledgeable in Latin (Brandon 1904: 50). However, he later recognized the need to separate his dictionaries into monolingual Latin and bilingual Latin-French works. In the second edition of the Thesaurus (T1536), he eliminated the expression Cum Gallica ferè interpretatione and replaced it with a list of the Latin writers cited in the text:

Estienne moderated the importance of French in this edition because he had in mind a project to publish a Latin-French dictionary.  [96] However, the absolute volume of French scarcely changed in T1536, due to the large quantity of new entries, of which a number include a French interpretation (Brandon 1904: 58, Wooldridge 1977: 21f.).

French was suppressed entirely in the 1543 edition of the Thesaurus, a huge work of more than 3,000 folios in three volumes, and the last edition published by Estienne.

In the title, Estienne calls this his second edition, but he refers to it as the third edition in the preface.

Wooldridge (1977: 21, n.8) remarks that the Thesaurus subsequently had a "glorious monolingual career". Posthumous editions appeared in Lyons in 1573, in London in 1734 and in Basle in 1740 (Brandon 1904: 59, n.2).

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