BRACK, Wenceslaus


BRACK, Wenceslaus. Vocabularius rerum

[Speyer, Konrad Hist, 1509


4to. ff. [2], [XLVI]. Gothic letter. Woodcut Habsburg arms to t-p. Some margins a bit dusty, uniform slight age browning, few scattered worm holes to blank margins, paper flaw to extreme lower outer blank corner of d2, couple of ink smudges, small holes to t-p blank not touching text. A good copy, on thick paper, in C19 half sheep over marbled boards, spine rebacked, corners worn with loss. C19 bibliographic ms. note to front pastedown, two more (providing author and imprint) and ‘13.3.77’ to t-p, couple of contemporary ms. marginalia.

A very scarce edition of this important and very successful Latin-German dictionary. It was first published in 1483, with other four texts, and in 1487, for the first time, separately. This simplified form made it ‘one of the most popular books of its class during the late C15 and early C16, […] reprinted at intervals for some 30 years’ (Scholderer, 87). Wenceslaus Brack, professor at Constance, was also ‘examinator’, probably of grammar school children—the ‘adolescentuli’ to whom his dictionary is addressed. Organised by subject, the lexicon includes sections on words related, for instance, to the sky and its parts (including the zodiac), religion (angels, Christ, the Holy Spirit), the times of the year, body parts, kinship, clothes, warfare, navigation, agriculture, monks, containers (for wine, lamps), ironsmiths, music, games, law, grains, animals (snakes, birds, fish), trees, herbs and gems. Each section bears a list of pertinent Latin nouns or phrases; most are followed by a German rendition, others (e.g., those relating to religion) are followed by brief Latin definitions, with an occasional excursus into their origin (e.g., ‘Olympus from a mountain in Sicily which I believe is very high’). A couple of sections include medical definitions, e.g., smallpox (‘die herpeln’) and measles (a kind of smallpox which, ‘after healing, leaves scars’), epilepsy , leprosy and ‘epidemia’ (‘pestilentz’). Other interesting words include ‘divortium’ (the legal separation of man and wife); ‘stuprator’ (‘the violator of a virgin’) and others related to prostitution, intercourse and sexual violence; kinds of wine (linphatum, falernum, pendulum), winemaking and wine containers; magic (astrologus, magus, nigromanticus); kinds of horses, musical instruments and games. The early annotator of this copy was interested in the times of the year (kalendae and ides). A very important, scarce work.

Only Chicago and LC copies recorded in the US. BM STC Ger., p.145; Graesse I, 517 (earlier eds).
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