THOMAS ASTLE (1735-1803)First
published in 1784, this work of the English antiquarian Thomas Astle is a
major contribution to the literature of palaeography. Writing, claims
Astle, is that which distinguishes civilized man from the savage.
Concerning the nature of writing, he maintains that "all marks whatever
are significant by compact, and . . . letters do not derive their powers
from ther forms, but from the sounds which men have agreed to annex to
them." Of particular significance in Origin are the sections on
mediaeval writing, still of use to students. Portions on oriental
languages, however, are now out-dated. The work includes 31 plates
showing numerous alphabets and scripts. Astle has added to this second
editon an appendix on the radical letters of the Pelasgians, or
Etruscans, discussing their derivation from the Phoenician alphabet.
Astle was also active throughout his life as an indexer, his most
important works in this area being catalog of the Harleian manuscripts
(1759) and a catalog of manucscripts and charters in the Cottonian
Library (1777). (Alston III (2) : 850; Galland p. 9; Guyot p. 434;
Westby-Gibson p. 14)
The Origin and Progress of Writing.
London, T. Bensley for J. White,
CONGREGATIO DE PROPAGANDA FIDETo Support its missions in the Middle East and Asia, the
Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, an administrative body of
the Roman Catholic Church, produced a series of books giving basic
Christian texts in a variety of non-western languages. This particular
title from that series contains an extended essay on the languages
included, Malayalam and Dravidian, by Clemente Peani (d. 1782). Included
also are the customary texts of the Lord's Prayer, Ave Maria, Apostles'
Creed, and Decalogue. It is introduced and edited by Giovanni Cristoforo
Amaduzzi (1740-1792), Italian classicist and superintendent of the press
of the Congregation. (NUC 10:377 (NA 0202536))
Rome, Press of the Congregation,
JEAN MABILLON (1632-1707)A
work which virtually created the auxiliary sciences of history, including
diplomatics, palaeography, sphragistics, and chronology, De RE
Diplomatica first appeared in 1681. The book is the product of
learned dispute between Mabillon, a member of the Benedictine
Congregation of Saint Maur, near Reims, and Daniel Papebroech
(1628-1714), one of the Bollandist editors of the Actra Sanctorum,
concerning the genuineness of certain Merovingian charters. In the
process of defending the charters, Mabillon gives a detailed history of
the Latin script, and demonstrates the way in which the handwriting of his
day developed out of the capital Roman letters. He also gives methods
for deciphering various manuscripts hands. Included in this third
edition are extensive notes by the philologist Giovanni Adimari, Marquis
of Bumba. Mabillon is also know for his Acta Sanctorum Ordinis S.
Benedicti (Paris, 1668-1702), and Annales Ordinis S.
Benediciti, begun in 1703 and completed after his death by René
Massuet and others. (Gralland p. 116; Graesse IV:318; LC 91:511)
De Re Diplomatica Libri VI. Tertia
atque nova editio.
Naples, Vincenzo Ursini, 1789. 2
ANDRES MERINO (1730?-1787?)Noted Spanish calligrapher and
Merino follows a well established tradition in palaeographical writing,
drawing on the work of Jean Mabillon, and the Spanish palaeographers
Cristóbal Rodriguez (1677?-ca. 1735) and Esteban Terreros y Pando
(1707-1782). The bulk of Merino's work, like that of Rodriguez, consists
of facsimilies of old Castillian, Catalan, and Valencian texts, some
being in Latin, to which a transcription and commentary by Merino have
been appended. Space is given to a consideration of alphabets, and signs
and contracations in Gothic, Saxon, Runic, Ulfilan are deciphered.
Merino also deals with hieroglyphs on old Spanish coins, and devotes a
noteworthy chapter to Gothic and Moorish coins. (Cotarelo 706-3;
Bonacini 1168; Palau 9:110)
Juan Antonio Lozano, 1780.
BERNARD DE MONTFAUCON (1655-1741)With
Montfaucon, a member of the Benedictine Congregation of Saint Maur, La
Daurade, France, created the science of Byzantine palaeography. The work
illustrates the entire history of Greek writing. Of special interest are
Montfaucon's discussions of variations in Greek letter forms, the use of
abbreviations in Greek manuscripts, and the process of diciphering
archaic writing. Still basic in its field, Palaeographia has been
modified chiefly by the invention of photography and the discovery of
Greek papyri in Egypt. Montfaucon's knowledge of Greek manuscripts is
also evident in his texts of Athanahius, Origen, and John Chrysostom. He
also helped to lay the groundwork for scientific archaeology in his
Les Monumens de la Monarchie Françoise (Paris, 1729-33) and
L'Antiquité Expliquée e Representée en
Figures (Paris, 1719). (Brunet 3:1863; Galland p. 127; Graesse
IV:591; Westby-Gibson p. 136)
Paris, Apud Ludovivum Guerin [etc.] 1708.
CHARLES PAILLASSON (fl. 1760)In a
of sixteen plates, this work seeks to provide the geometric proportions
of the three scripts (ronde, coulée, and bâtarde) used in
seventeenth century France. One of the more eminent calligraphers of his
time, Paillasson gives for each of the plates an explanatory text. The
plates were engraved byAubin (fl. 1740-1760). Prepared for publication
in Denis Diderot's Encyclopédie (Paris, 1751-72), the
extract appears in slightly varying formats, this copy having sixteen
pages and sixteen plates. (Bonacini 1322; Marzoli p. 145)
L'Art d'Ecrire Reduit à
Demonstrations Vraies et Faciles.
GIOVANNI BATTISTA PALATINO (16th cent.)
Compendio del Gran
Volvme de l'Arte del Bene et Leggiandramente Scrivere Tvtte le Sorti di Lettere
Venice, Heirs of Marchio Sessa,
in his time as the "calligrapher's calligrapher," Palatino first published
this work in 1540 under the title Libro Nuovo. Especially noted
for its samples of chancery scripts, the work includes examples of
non-western scripts, as well as hieroglyphs and cipher alphabets.
Palatino's fellow-calligrapher Giovanni Francesco Cresci claimed that the
plates in Compendio were actually the work of the engraver Cesare
Moreggio. Manuscripts in Palatino's own hand at the Bodleian Library,
Oxford, and the Kuntsgewerbemuseum, Berlin, vindicate Palatino as the
author of his own plates. Despite Cresci's strictures, Palatino remained
one of the most versatile and popular calligraphers of his day, his work
seeing fifteen editions by 1588. (BMC Italian books p. 485; Bonacini
1342; Galland p. 138)
MARCUS VALERIUS PROBUS (d. ca. 105 A.D.)Roman grammarian and literary critic,
survives only in fragments and in notes taken by his students. The
present piece is a compilation of extracts from these fragments,
particularily Probus' De Iuris Notarum, a work on abbreviations,
especially of proper names, used in legal and historical writing.
Appended to the extracts are two brief essays by Pomponius Laetus (6th
cent. A.D.?) on Roman magistrates and religious customs. (Panzer
Litterarum Signgulariu in Antiquitatibus Romanis.
JOSEPH BALTHAZAR SILVESTRE (b. 1791)The work of a painter and artist,
Universelle is a an interesting piece of its kind. The 296 plates
include specimens of numerous styles of calligraphy, oriental and
western. Some of them are accompanied by engraved facsimiles of
illuminated miniatures. The accuracy of the various scripts represented
differs greatly. Konstantin von Tischendorff (1815-1874), German
Biblical scholar, has pionted out that the Greek material in the work is
marked by numerous errors and confusion of letters, due to Silvestre's
ignorance of the Greek language. More recent scripts are the work's
strong point.. The accompanying text is the work of Jacques Joseph
Champollion-Figeac (1778-1867), curator of manuscripts at the
Bibliothèque Royale, Jean François Champollion (1790-1832),
founder of Egyptology, and Jacques Joseph's son Aimé Louis
Champollion-Figeac (1813-1894), the director of archives at the
Bibliothèque Royale. (Galand p. 170; LC 137:312-313)
Paris, Typographie de Firmin Didot Frères, 1841.
WERNHER VON SCHUSSENRIED (15th cent.)
Though usually held to be an anonymous work, Victor Scholderer has
demonstrated, on the basis of an acrostic in the text, that this piece is
probably by a certain Wernher, of the town of Schussenried, canon of the
College of Saint Germains at Speier. A study of abbreviations used in
texts of civil and ecclesiastical law, the first edition is probably that
of Adolf Rusch (Strasburg, ca. 1475). The edition has been identified
as the work of the Printer of the 1483 Jordanus de Quedlinburg, thought
by some scholars to be Georg Husner (fl. 1473-1505). (BMC 15th cent.
I:140 (IB 2030); Polain (B) 2753)
Abbreviaturas [and other legal tracts].
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