Dittionario volgare et latino…con la lingua fiamminga, spagnuola et altre lingue.

Venice, Comin da Trino da Monferrato, 1568.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. (xlvi) 248. Roman letter, occasional Italic, little Greek. Printer’s device to t-p and last, decorated initials. Intermittent light age yellowing, a few ll. a bit thumbed, printer’s ink splodge to fore-edge of first couple of gatherings, very occasional faint marginal water stain, lower outer blank corner of fol. 209 flawed, small worm trail to blank margin of last few ll. A very good, clean, well-margined copy in contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, C15 rubricated mathematical ms in red, blue and black ink lining spine, gauffered edges, a few small wormholes to covers, bridge a bit loose, spine in four compartments, with early shelfmark painted over red at foot. Early shelfmark ‘xxxxiii. D.’ to inner corner, C17 inscription to fep, ex-libris ‘Sum ad usum Jo. Baptistae Grafoglietj’ and purchase note 1817 to fep, similar note and early painted collegiate ex-libris at foot of t-p, tiny early number to last, title inked to lower edge.

A very good copy of the first edition of this scarce and remarkable polyglot dictionary for Latin students. Orazio Toscanella (1510?-80?) was a Florentine classical scholar and translator who worked as a private tutor, mostly in the Veneto. He was the author of over fifty works including facetious poetry, treatises on metrics, commentaries on poetry and classical orations, and, most famously, grammars of Italian and Latin and multilingual dictionaries. Based on previous fundamental lexicographic works like Calepinus’s, ‘Dittionario volgare et latino’ provided for each Italian (in its Tuscan variant) word its Latin, Spanish and Flemish counterparts, sometimes adding French, modern and ancient Greek and even Turkish. It begins with lists of plain Italian translations of common Flemish, Spanish, German, Turkish and French words. The dictionary itself features Italian verbs, adjectives and nouns including place names and qualitative variations. For instance, the noun ‘donna’—both ‘courteous’ and ‘of weak judgement’—is followed by other phrases identifying different typologies of women: ‘women who judge’, ‘who have just delivered a baby’, who are ‘honourable’ or ‘married’, ‘who take their clothes off’, ‘play the recorder’ or ‘work as barbers’. Dedicated to Giovanni Amauser, whose sons Toscanella was tutoring, ‘Dittionario’ addressed the needs of Latin students by using the vernacular as a starting point and as a short-cut to remember Latin words, together with their translations in other languages—because, according to Toscanella, ‘no knowledge can be acquired without language proficiency’.

Harvard, Yale, UPenn and NGA copies recorded in the US.
BM STC It., p. 677. Not in Brunet or Adams.