MOREL, Guillaume.


MOREL, Guillaume. Verborum latinorum cum graecis anglicisque coniuncto.

London, Henry Bynneman, 1583.


Folio. pp. [8], 1153, [1]. Roman letter, with Italic and Greek, double column. Woodcut printer’s device to title, large woodcut arms of Elizabeth I to verso, decorated initials and ornaments. Title, Qqq6v and RRR1r dusty, light age yellowing, fore-edge of first 6 ll. repaired, very slight intermittent water stain to early outer upper margins, tear to lower margin of Ll4 repaired, little oil spot to fore-edge of last gathering. A very good, clean copy in early C17 English polished calf, rebacked, spine remounted, double blind ruled, TW gilt to covers, raised bands, spine gilt ruled, red morocco label, a.e.r.

A very good copy of this major Latin-Greek-English dictionary, in such fine condition a rare survival. It includes for the first time an English translation, using as model, for the Latin and Greek entries, Guillaume Morel’s ‘Thesaurus vocum omnium latinarum’ (1558). The Hellenist Morel (1505-64) succeeded Turnebus as King’s Printer in Paris in 1555. His most influential work, his ‘Thesaurus’ was an adaptation of Robert Estienne’s ‘Dictionarium Latinogallicum’, with the addition of Greek words. It included numerous quotations from unpublished mss (e.g., Planoudes’s Byzantine translation of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’) which Morel consulted at the Royal Library. For this edition, the scholar Abraham Fleming (1552-1607), an editor on major works such as Holinshed’s ‘Chronicles’, provided new English translations to substitute the French, relying for the English on Cooper’s ‘Thesaurus’ or the bible, even providing new Greek translations for Latin phrases drawn from Cooper.  

Henry Bynneman held the remunerative monopoly of the printing of such popular textbooks; the present dictionary was priced very dearly at 8s 6d. ‘Bynneman’s decision to go straight on from publishing the “Lexicon Graecolatinum” in quarto to make a new edition of Morel’s “Verborum Latinorum” shows his confidence in the English market for Greek dictionaries. He issued [it] in folio, making one obvious difference between the two dictionaries’. Upon Bynneman’s death, less than a year later, his inventory recorded 427,800 folio leaves of ‘alphabets’ (i.e., gatherings marked with one specific letter, here with 138 ll. each), which gives an idea of ‘the scale, and risk, of C16 dictionary publishing’. ‘Although this dictionary was not republished after 1583, it did find a generation of purchasers and generations of readers after them. It might be bought for school use: there was a ‘Hutton’s Dictionarie’ at the grammar school at Heskin in Lancashire in 1624 […]. Its advanced Greek made it suitable for university use […] onwards until the eighteenth century. (Considine, pp.246-7).

ESTC S115091; STC (2nd ed.), 18101. J. Considine, Sixteenth-Century English Dictionaries (2022).
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