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3.4 Annotated Latin vocabulary of Latin terms used by Vitruvius

erstellt von Kulawik Veröffentlicht 05.06.2019 20:47, zuletzt verändert: 05.06.2019 20:47

In Vitruvio sono infiniti vocaboli Greci, e Latini, li quali a l’orecchie altrui paiono nuovi, e rare volte uditi. Però per utilità di coloro che studiano questo libbro, si farà un vocabolario Latino assai pieno, dove saranno per Alfabeto dichiarati tutti i vocaboli Latini, e quelli massimamente c’hanno qualche dubbio, e oscurità.[Tolomei 1547, 82r]

There is an infinite number of Greek and Latin words in Vitruvius [i. e., in the Ten Books on Architecture] which seem to be new to the ear or rarely used. Therefore, for the use of those who study this book, a rich Latin vocabulary will be made where all the Latin terms will be explained, and most of all those of dubious or obscure character.

No printed book or manuscript edition of this vocabulary — or rather dictionary — has been found. But it can be assumed that an annotated list of reoccurring difficult words and notions may have existed in manuscript form to aid Tolomei and his friends during their discussions over the interpretation of the ancient text. Only with such a list at hand it would have been possible to keep an overview and to clarify the significance and meanings of such difficult terms used by Vitruvius.

As is clear from Tolomei’s description, this vocabolario could not have been intended to be just a list of words like an index, but rather must have been planned as a lexicon with full explanations of the words. While the modern term vocabulary in English or vocabolario in Italian usually refers to simple lists of words with very short descriptions or translations, the Italian usage in the 16th century could have been different: For instance, the first dictionary of the (Tuscan) Italian language is the famous Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca printed in 1612, but presumably prepared since the foundation of the Accademia della Crusca in 1583 [Vocabolario (1612)]. The length of its explanations reaches from a few lines to half columns and even more. And with its subtitle announcing «tre indici delle voci, locuzioni, e proverbi latini, e greci» = three indices of the words, the places, and Latin and Greek proverbs» it is clear, that a vocabolario cannot have meant a sort of simple index list of words.

A similar book, even closer to the Roman Accademia can be seen in Aldo Manuzio’s Orthographiæ Ratio from 1566 [Manuzio 1566]. It contains Latin explanations of Latin words with references to places in ancient texts or inscriptions for their interpretation. Aldo Manuzio (the Younger) had been a productive contributor to Jean Matal’s sylloge kept in the Vatican Library. The press of his father Paulo and his famous grandfather Aldo (the Elder) published several of the books by members of Tolomei’s academic Roman network.

So, with vocabolario Tolomei seems to have meant a similar book containing longer explanations for the strange Latin terms used by Vitruvius and not just an index or list of words as, e. g., Rikke Lingsø Christensen [Lingsø Christensen 2011] wants to understand it by comparing the vocabulario mentioned by Tolomei with the index lists in Barbaro’s edition and translation of Vitruvius.