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Old Georgian phrases and sentences 67 (Physiologus § 13)   Leave a comment

The text this time is longer than others in the series, but here is the whole of Physiologus § 13 in Georgian. The Georgian version was published by Marr (in asomtavruli, with Armenian) and later by Gigineišvili and E. Giunašvili. For the Armenian version, published alongside Greek, see Muradyan. Generally on this very widespread work, see here. Alin Suciu has written on a use of the Physiologus in a Coptic lectionary here.

In addition to vocabulary and a few grammatical notes, below I’ve included Graf’s German translation (pp. 100-101).

Bibliography

Gigineišvili, B. and E. Giunašvili, შატბერდის კრებული X საუკუნისა / Шатбердский сборник X века (Tbilisi, 1979), pp. 175-190 (§ 13 on p. 180). Available at TITUS here.

Graf, G. 1925. “Der georgische Physiologus.” Caucasica 2: 93–114.

Marr, N. 1904. Физиолог. Армяно-грузинский извод. Грузинский и армянский тексты, исследование,  издание и переводИздания факультета восточных языков Императорского Санкт-Петербургского университета 6. Tbilisi.

Muradyan, G., Physiologus: The Greek and Armenian Versions with a Study of Translation Technique, Hebrew University Armenian Studies 6 (Louvain, 2005). See here.

In addition, I refer a couple of times below to Gerhard Deeters, Das Kharthwelische Verbum (Leipzig, 1930), where the text of the Physiologus fortunately served for examples.

Text and notes

Here’s an image of Marr’s text:

Marr, Phys., pp. 16-17

Marr 1904, pp. 16-17

კეთილად ჰრქ(უ)ა იოვანე ფარისეველთა.

Gut sprach Johannes zu den Pharisäern:

„ნაშობნო ასპიტთანო. ვინ გიჩოჳენა თქ(უე)ნ სივლტოლაჲ რისხვისაჲ. რ(ომელ)ი მოსლვად არს‟.

„Natternbrut! Wer hat euch gezeigt, dem Zorne zu entrinnen, der kommen wird?‟

  • ნაშობი born, child
  • ასპიტი viper (ἀσπίς)
  • გ-ი-ჩოჳენ-ა aor 3sg O2 ჩუენება to show, reveal
  • სივლტოლაჲ to flee
  • რისხვაჲ wrath
  • მოსლვაჲ to come

სახის-მეტყოჳელმან თქ(უ)ა. ასპიტისაჲ.

Der Naturbeschreiber sprach von der Natter:

  • სახის-მეტყოჳელი (physiologus) discoverer, investigator (სახეჲ nature + მეტყუელი speaker)

რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს მამალი შეეხის დედალსა. პირით მაკნდის. და დედალმან რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს შთანთქის თესლი იგი. საოჳრველნი მოჰკოჳეთნის მამალსა მას და განაშოვრნის

Wenn das Männchen das Weibchen berührt, wird dieses durch den Mund trächtig, und wenn das Weibchen den Samen verschlingt, schneidet es dem Männchen die Geschlechtsteile weg und trennt (sie) ab.

  • მამალი male
  • შე-ე-ხ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg შეხება to touch
  • დედალი female
  • პირი mouth
  • მაკნ-დ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg მაკნება to get pregnant (cf. Fähnrich, Georg. Spr., pp. 242, 248-255 for the -დ- in the aor of this kind of verb)
  • შთა-ნთქ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg შთანთქმა to swallow, gulp
  • თესლი seed
  • საოჳრველი testicle
  • მო-ჰ-კოჳეთ-ნ-ის მოკუეთა to cut off (cf. Mt 5:30 Ad მოიკუეთე იგი)
  • გან-ა-შოვრ-ნ-ის iter aor 3sg N განშოვრება to remove, eliminate

რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს ჰგონიენ მამალსა მას თოჳ შეეხო დედალსა მას. მოჳნქოჳესვე მოკოჳდის მამალი იგი. სიკოჳდილის წინა მრავალჯერ მივიდის. მოვიდის დედლისა მის. და რ(ამეთუ) ვერ დაოჳთმის შეეხის დედალსა [p. 17] მას და მოკოჳდის.

Indem das Männchen wohl weiß: Sobald es das Weibchen berührt, daraufhin stirbt es — so geht und kommt das Männchen vor dem Tode oftmals zu dem Weibchen, und weil es nicht ausharrt, berührt es das Weibchen und stirbt.

  • ჰ-გონ-იენ perf 3sg გონება to think, to seem to (indirect verb) (on the form of the verb, cf. Deeters, § 93, where this very sentence is cited, along with the plural ჰგონიედ, from Keimena I 31.29)
  • შე-ე-ხ-ო aor 3sg შეხება to touch
  • მოჳნქოჳეს-ვე quickly, immediately
  • მო-კოჳდ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg მოკუდომა to die
  • სიკოჳდილი death
  • მრავალჯერ often, frequently
  • მი-ვიდ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg მისლვა to go
  • მო-ვიდ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg მოსლვა to come
  • და-ოჳ-თმ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg დათმობა to be patient

ხოლო დედალსა მას, რამეთუ არა ადგნ მუცელი, რაჲთა-მცა მართუენი იტჳრთნა, რაჟამს აღორძნდიან ლეკუნი იგი, განჴურიტნიან გუერდნი დედისა თჳსისანი და გამოჴდიან და მოკლიან დედაჲ იგი თჳსი და ესრეთ მამა-დედისა მჭამელ არიან.

Aber das Weibchen — weil es keinen Bauch hat, damit es die Jungen trage, — wenn die Jungen wachsen, durchstoßen sie die Seiten ihrer Mutter und töten ihre Mutter, und so sind sie die Verzehrer der Eltern.

  • ა-დგ-ნ pres 3sg დგმა to have (see Deeters, § 204, p. 118, where this line is quoted)
  • მუცელი belly
  • მართუეჲ young (of animals)
  • ი-ტჳრთ-ნ-ა aor 3sg ტჳრთვა to bear, raise
  • აღ-ორძნ-დ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl აღორძინება to grow
  • ლეკუი young animal
  • გან-ჴურიტ-ნ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl N განჴურეტა to pierce, bore through
  • გუერდი side
  • გამო-ჴდ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl გამოჴდომა to come out
  • მო-კლ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl მოკლვა to kill
  • მამა-დედაჲ father-mother > parents (a dvandva compound)
  • მჭამელ eater, consumer

კეთილად ამსგავსნა ფარისეველნი ასპიტთა:

Gut hat er die Pharisäer mit Nattern verglichen.

  • ა-მსგავს-ნ-ა aor 3sg N მსგავსება to compare (cf. Lk 13:20 A-89 რასა ხოჳამსგავსო სასოჳფეველი ღ(მრთისა)ჲ  τίνι ὁμοιώσω τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ;)

ვითარცა-სახედ ასპიტმან მამა-დედაჲ მოკლის, ეგრე-ცა ფარისეველთა — მამაჲ საგონებელი, მამაჲ და დედაჲ თჳსი, მაცხოვარი ჩუენი იესუ ქრისტჱ და ეკლესიაჲ. რაჲთა აღესრულოს სივლტოლაჲ რისხვისაჲ მის, რომელი მოსლვად არს?

Gleichwie die Natter die Eltern tötet, so auch die Pharisäer den geistigen Vater, ihren Vater und ihre Mutter, unseren Erlöser Jesus Christus und die Kirche, auf daß erfüllt wird: „zu entrinnen seinem Zorne, der kommen wird‟.

  • მოკლის aor iter 3sg მოკლვა to kill
  • საგონებელი conceivable
  • მაცხოვარი savior
  • აღ-ე-სრულ-ო-ს aor conj 3sg აღსრულება to fulfill

ხოლო მამაჲ იგი მათი და დედაჲ მათი ცხოველ არიან უკუნისამდე და იგინი მოწყდეს საუკუნოდ.

Aber ihr Vater und ihre Mutter sind lebend, ewig; und sie (die Pharisäer) kamen um auf ewig.

  • ცხოველი living
  • უკუნისამდე forever (უკუნი eternity + postposition -მდე until)
  • მო-წყდ-ეს aor 3pl მოწყდომა to die out, go extinct, go to waste
  • საუკუნოდ evermore (adv of საუკუნოჲ eternal)

Fähnrich’s recent book on Georgian   1 comment

While (Old) Georgian is generally thought of as one of the big six languages of eastern Christianity — considered, that is, apart from Greek and Old Church Slavonic — it seems to have fewer researchers than the other five languages: Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Gǝʿǝz, and Syriac. Those of the Semitic family have a long history of research in Europe from the 16th century on and knowledge of one naturally builds toward knowledge of another. Athanasius Kircher and others before and after him worked on Coptic, the study of which was rejuvenated in the mid-20th century with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices (in quite a more lasting way, we can be sure, than that due to the recent hullabaloo-accompanied discussion of the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife). Armenian, while still a language and a tradition apart, is nevertheless an Indo-European language and so not really so foreign linguistically as it may seem to most American and European scholars. But, compared with these languages, Georgian stands furthest away, both for its linguistic uniqueness and perhaps for the distinct Caucasian stamp it shares with Armenian. Scholars writing in Georgian and in Russian have published extensively on the language and its literature, but aspiring students who can’t read those languages have much less to work with. That which is available in the commonly read European languages is mostly in French and German (some of which was translated from Russian or Georgian), and only recently has anything appeared in English.

Map of Georgia from Marr-Brière

It is well known that Lord Byron had a strong interest in Georgia and its culture. More substantively in the 18th century, Marie-Félicité Brosset (1802-1880) wrote Éléments de la langue géorgienne (1837), a grammatical guide giving attention both to the literary language and the “vulgaire,” including some reading exercises at the end, only one of which might be surely classified as Old Georgian: The Martyrdom of David and Constantine (pp. 268-283); it has the text in Georgian, Brosset’s (now idiosyncratic) transliteration, literal phrase-by-phrase or word-by-word French translation, and a more fluid French translation. More recently came Zorrell’s brief (handwritten!) grammar for reading the Georgian version of the Bible and then N. Marr and M. Brière, La langue géorgienne (Paris, 1931), at the end of which are reading selections in all three scripts (the majority being in mxedruli). The author of the tome considered in this post, Heinz Fähnrich — see on him auf Deutsch here, and in Georgian here; at the latter is a picture of him with renowned Georgian scholar Ak’ak’i Šaniże (1887-1987; see here, very brief, in English and more here in Georgian) — earlier penned a 100-page survey of the language in English (mostly made up of paradigms), and in English we also have the recent, short treatment by Kevin Tuite. Longer than the latter, but still very compendious (and in German), is the little book by R. Zwolanek, with J. Assfalg’s assistance. (See the bibliography below.) This is decidedly not a complete list of grammars for Old Georgian, but it suffices to show the context into which Fähnrich’s new work comes.

This new book is hardly the first grammatical work by Fähnrich on Georgian, even in addition to the translation of Šaniże’s grammar and Fähnrich’s survey in English (see the bibliography below); these works are not closely compared with the new book here. That book appeared in 2011 (or 2012, see below) in Brill’s Handbuch der Orientalistik series. Including bibliography and index, it finishes at 856 pages. The book treats Old and later Georgian separately (15-498 and 511-828), but there is a handy discussion of main differences between the two at pp. 499-510. Most of what I have to say here has to do only with the part on Old Georgian; I studied the second half of the book in much less detail. There is some confusion concerning the book’s publication details: the copyright date in the copy I studied is 2012 (also on the title page), but the ISBN there leads one to an Introduction to Altaic Philology (2010)! The ISBN on the back cover of my copy leads one to the correct book, it seems, but the stated publication date for that one is 2011, and in any case, that is the only appropriate volume that comes up when you look at the author’s books at Brill’s site. Not surprisingly, the cost is exceedingly prohibitive: €217/$298 from Brill, and used copies available through AbeBooks are only moderately cheaper.

Strengths

Now, I point out the book’s strengths. Such judgements are, of course, at least partly subjective, but even so they will serve to give a more precise idea of the book than one might glean from the blurb of a bookseller.

At the outset, it is worth stressing that, while the majority of the book really is a presentation of the linguistic behavior of Georgian (i.e. a grammar), it is not exclusively so. The macrosection called “Lexik,” which covers “Bedeutungsänderungen,” “Normierung von Lautformen,” “Homonyme,” “Synonyme,” “Fachwortschatz und wissenschaftliche Terminologie,” “Wortgut kartwelischer Herkunft” (classified topically), and “Lehnwörter” (classified by origin), is the most interesting. We might justifiably ask whether such a section belongs properly to grammar stricto sensu — I think not, but it is well to recall that the book’s title lacks Grammatik! — but at the same time, its interest is almost undeniable. I wish more lexica included sections like these, and easily navigable. (Cf. R.M.W. Dixon, Basic Linguistic Theory, vol. 1, ch. 8.)

Another not strictly grammatical topic, but one especially important for a non-current literary language, that Fähnrich covers is the corpus, i.e. Old (15-46) and later (514-528) Georgian literature. While serviceable as surveys, these sections would be all the stronger with full references to editions and at least a few textual and literary studies, where they exist.

The fact that the book covers both Old and Modern Georgian in one volume will be appreciated by some linguists, both Kartvelologists and others, and especially worth highlighting here is the aforementioned concluding part of the first main part of the book: “Veränderungen vom Alt- zum Neugeorgischen” (499-510).

Weaknesses

I turn now to some complaints I have about the book. One of the biggest problems with the book is that the sources of text citations are not given. Those from the Bible might be easily identified, but not so with the rest of Georgian literature! Supplied references would be of use not only to those who want to check the further context of a particular word form or syntactic usage, but also to those who are struck by the content itself of an example sentence and who wish to see more. Supplied references also confirm without a doubt the genuine existence this or that form, that it is not a mere contrivance of a grammarian.

A quibble: Why is the section “Stammwechsel bei Verben” (370-371) classed under syntax? This is simply suppletion, and not really a feature of syntax, even though it may the case that “[i]n der altgeorgischen Sprache sind Morphologie und Syntax eng miteinander verflochten” (328). (Whether this is really more characteristic of Georgian than other languages is another question.) While a language’s grammar (understood in the fullest sense) is in fact “an integrated system” (cf. § 1.8 in Dixon, Basic Linguistic Theory, vol. 1) — sections on “morphosyntax” that are sometimes found in grammars bear some witness to this recognition — and so suppletion touches aspects of both morphology and of syntax, in a work ranged according to that traditional tripartite structure of phonology, morphology, and syntax, which Fähnrich’s is, questions of “Stammwechsel bei Verben” are to my mind misplaced if they appear under syntax.

Some long spans of the book consist almost entirely of paradigm after paradigm after paradigm. We expect this in books with titles like 501 [insert language adjective here] Verbs or [Language] Grammatical Tables, but in a bald form such as here it is not an advantageous characteristic of linguistic description. (The same criticism might be raised against Fähnrich’s English survey of Old Georgian.) These paradigms will, to be sure, find some occasional use by certain users in certain circumstances, but more description and explanation, less enumeration, would have better made up what purports to be a fairly comprehensive guide to Georgian as a language.

As for the arrangement of the book, in rather non-Teutonic fashion, sections are not numbered and subnumbered ad nauseam. While we may appreciate not being brought ad nauseam, some demarcation and clear marking of divisions with an easy system of reference would certainly have made the book more navigable.

The typography of individual letters, words, and lines (in German or in Georgian) leaves little to be desired, but the same cannot be said for the mise-en-page. There is almost no space in the margins, which not only makes the reading experience itself less pleasant, but also leaves little room for notes (only 1/2 inch outer margins). Indeed, a quick glance at one of this volume’s pages reminds one unfortunately of a document produced using the default settings of Word! (With which contrast the default for a document in LaTeX!) In addition, straight (rather than curved) quotation marks are used, which lends an overall cheap appearance to the book, something hardly appropriate for a book the personal possession of a hard copy of which will devour a few hundred dollars or euros from one’s bank account!

I praised above the inclusion of the section on lexicon. The part on loanwords includes a few remarks particular to each case that touch on historical or sociolinguistic factors of language contact thought to have been conducive to linguistic influence, and it is classified according to language (or, at least, family) of origin, but Fähnrich does not actually gives the words in those original languages. Perhaps he assumed that scholars familiar with the source languages could come up with the original words easily enough themselves, but such scholars are not the only people who might find the data of interest.

The upshot

The appearance of Fähnrich’s new book is not unwelcome. With the paucity of materials on Georgian available in widely read European languages, we might welcome almost any attention to the language, especially one with the kind of detail given here. But the $300 price tag certainly limits its distribution and therefore its use, scans of the book notwithstanding. From the perspective of Old Georgian, the one from which I am writing here, the book takes its place among the detailed grammars of Šaniże(Schanidse)-Fähnrich and Marr-Brière, but what does it add to what has been available in them for decades? The strengths that I indicated above — and there are probably more — do make the book stand out, but we do not yet have before us a reference grammar of Old Georgian that will stand for decades as the main go-to resource for students and scholars of the language. Such a work must be not only authoritative in analysis and explanation, it must also be comprehensive in linguistic and textual scope, based on clearly defined sources, preferably with examples from those sources clearly indicated, easily navigable, accessible (i.e. widely distributed), and at least relatively affordable (I would say under $150 or so). And it would not be a bad thing for its author, where needful, to break out of the traditional tripartite mold of grammatical presentation mentioned above and well-known to all of us by bowing to linguistic common sense and being well-versed in up-to-date — I acknowledge the constant movement of this adjective and thus the frequent evolution of its meaning! — linguistic theory. Finally, while the great majority of scholars, but not necessarily students, who might be interested in a Georgian reference grammar can work with German, it is, for better or worse, probably the case that this wished-for book will garner broader readership with English than with German. In the meantime, we can spend our efforts studying those easily available Georgian texts — there are some published in Georgia that are unfortunately very hard to find — in CSCO, PO, Le Muséon, and elsewhere, publishing new texts, making translations, and studying the language itself more closely, and as we do we have the aforementioned grammars, including the one here under review, whose author (with Surab Sardshweladse) has also given us a monumental dictionary.

Some amusing or otherwise memorable phrases and sentences, or, the beginnings of The Quotable Old Georgian

There is very often something amusing in the vocabulary, phrases, and sentences taken out of context that one meets in grammars, whether they are intended for pedagogical or reference purposes, and dictionaries.[1] Here listed from the Old Georgian part of Fähnrich’s work are but a few phrases or sentences useful not only for remembering particular grammatical forms, but which will also serve us well at the next cocktail party we attend. Because Fähnrich fails to cite his sources, I cannot easily give them (although the places of some can be guessed), but I do give the page in his book where these occur.

  • მაქსიმიანე ეშმაკთმსახურისა მეფისა ზე “zur Zeit des Königs Maximian des Teufelsdieners” (305)
  • უდაბნოსა ზედა “in der Wüste” (305)
  • ენასა ზედა ეგჳპტურსა “in die ägyptische Sprache” (305)
  • მწიგნობართა თანა და ხუცესთა “mit den Schriftgelehrten und Ältesten” (308)
  • აჰა, ესერა, სიმრავლც მოაწია ჯინჭველთაი! “Siehe, es ist eine Vielzahl von Ameisen gekomen [sic]!” (323)
  • ვაგლახ მონაზონსა ვეცხლისმოყუარესა “Weh dem geldliebenden Mönch!” (323)
  • თურე ვარა ხარ? “Bist du denn ein Esel?” (327)
  • მატლ ვარ და არა კაც “Ein Wurm bin ich und kein Mensch.” (329)
  • და იყო პირსა შინა ჩემსა, ვითარცა თაფლი ტკბილ “Und es war in meinem Mund wie Honig süß.” (329)
  • ეტლები რკინისა იყო მათი “Sie hatten Wagen aus Eisen.” (335)
  • მამით ნუვის ჰხადით “Nennt niemanden Vater!” (341)
  • ავაგენ ატენი სახლნი “Ich habe in Ateni Häuser gebaut.” (365)
  • ეპისკოპოსმან აღმკუეცნა თმანი “Der Bischof beschnitt mir die Haare.” (366)
  • დასაბამად ქმნნა ღნერთმან ცაჲ და ქუეყანაჲ “Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde.” (368)

Note

[1] Cf. Ullendorff’s remarks on the curious presences and absences in Armbruster’s English-Amharic Vocabulary (An Amharic Chrestomathy, 5).

Bibliography
Fähnrich, Heinz. Grammatik der altgeorgischen Sprache. Hamburg, 1994.
——–. Kurze Grammatik der georgischen Sprache. Leipzig, 1987.
——–. “Old Georgian.” In Alice C. Harris, ed., The Indigenous Languages of the Caucasus, Vol. 1, The South Caucasian Languages. Delmar, N.Y., 1991. Pp. 129-217.
Marr, N. and M. Brière. La langue géorgienne. Paris, 1931.
Schanidse, A. Altgeorgisches Elementarbuch, 1. Teil, Grammatik der altgeorgischen Sprache. Trans. H. Fähnrich. Staatsüniversität Tbilissi Schriften des Lehrstuhls für Altgeorgische Sprache 24. Tbilisi, 1982.
Sardshweladse, Surab and Heinz Fähnrich. Altgeorgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch. With the collaboration of Irine Melikishvili and Sopio Sardshweladse. Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 8, Uralic & Central Asian Studies 12. Leiden and Boston, 2005.
Tuite, Kevin. “Early Georgian.” In Roger D. Woodard, ed., The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages. Cambridge, 2004. Pp. 967-986.
Zorell, F. Grammatik zur altgeorgischen Bibelübersetzung mit Textproben und Wörterverzeichnis. Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici. Rome, 1930.
Zwolanek, Renée. Altgeorgische Kurzgrammatik. With the collaboration of Julius Assfalg. Orbis biblicus et orientalis, Subsidia didactica 2. Freiburg and Göttingen, 1976.

Bringhurst on letterforms   Leave a comment

I’ve talked here occasionally about typography in various scripts. A recently published volume dedicated to the typographic work of Hermann Zapf recently appeared on HMML’s doorstep: Jerry Kelly, About more alphabets: The types of Hermann Zapf, Typophile Chap Book, New Series no. 3 (New York, 2011). The foreword is by Robert Bringhurst, author of the delightful (and affordable) Elements of Typographic Style, and I share a few lines of it here (p. 7).

Letterforms are things that nearly all of us in the Western world have learned to take for granted. We treat them much like door knobs, water taps, thermostats, and hinges. We evidently think (in defiance of all logic) that what we read or write matters far more than how it’s read or written, and that letterforms are just a way to get there, as a door knob is a way to open a door. At their best, though, letterforms are more like sailboats and cellos. They are works of art that beg to be used as well as admired. They make demands on those who use them; in return, they lend their beauty, strength, and character to the work for which they are used.

 

Posted June 22, 2012 by adamcmccollum in Books, Typography

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Greek typography from some of our rare books   2 comments

First, an apologia: this post is not directly tied to the regular fare here, but in the belief that the appreciation of cool books is not too uncommon a faculty, I can in perfectly good conscience share these images with you here. And who doesn’t love Greek? In this case, let’s recast Vergil’s “Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis” to “Ecce ego complector Danaos monumenta ferentis!” (Note the meter!)

While he was not the first printer of Greek, Aldo Manuzio stands out clearly as one of the most zealous philhellenes among early printers. Among the issue of his press are, for example, Constantinus Lascaris’ Erotemata (1495), Aristotle (1495), and Aristophanes (with scholia, 1498). The Erotemata, a kind of grammatical catechism, — Chrysoloras wrote a similar work with the same title — had been published earlier in Milan, 1476, the first completely Greek book printed; Constantinus Lascaris is not to be confused with another Greek scholar of the period, Janus Lascaris. Aldo dedicated serious attention to publicizing his plan of Greek printing and encouraged purchasers to buy so that more Greek books would follow. The Aldine Press, during Aldo’s life and after in the hands of his family, was not the only publishing house interested in Greek, of course. The only other one I’ll mention here is that of the Estienne (Stephanus) family (Henri, his son Robert, and his grandson Henri the younger).

As with Latin, early type in Greek, in some fonts at least, was made to mimic a certain kind of handwriting, one which had a plethora of ligatures. Proctor (cited below, pp. 12-13) describes what this mimicry entailed:

In the Venetian type the appearance of continuity is sought by an elaborate system of ligatures, two, three and four letters being commonly cast in one piece, and in an immense variety of forms and combinations, so that the number of sorts found in the two books exceeds twelve hundred, and even this is probably far from representing the fount in its completed state as projected. The effect was unsatisfactory; because the ‘case’ was complicated to an extraordinary extent by the enormous quantity of boxes required, and the use of so many ligatures resulted (in practice, thought not of necessity) in splitting up the longer words into disconnected syllables, a result which makes the books very difficult to read even after considerable experience of them.

Some, but certainly not all, of this difficulty remained for both compositor (typesetter) and reader well into the 18th century. The first time I really took notice of it was several years ago in Daniel Wyttenbach’s (1746-1820) edition of Plutarch, printed at Oxford. Not until, it seems, the Didot-Porsonian types of the 19th century did a more separate and straightforward Greek type become the norm still in wide use today. There is to me, though, a kind of beauty in the convoluted knots of ink found in the ligatures of older printings; no, I would not want it for rapid reading of an unfamiliar text, but there are times when one can appreciate a more familiar text in this type. (Note that Proctor is fairly unsympathetic toward the Aldine type and its subsequent influence; more recent discussion has not been so unfavorable.)

The examples that follow, all from the collections of HMML or Saint John’s University, are from the 15th and 16th centuries, followed by images of two fine press editions from the early 20th century. Since most or all of the abbreviations and ligatures encountered in these printings occur, too, in manuscripts, some of the handbooks to Greek paleography may be useful in deciphering them (e.g. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, p. 30), but the most comprehensive list, for printed works in particular, that I know of is the work of G.F. von Ostermann and A.E. Giegengack listed below. Finally, it should be pointed out that all this is not of any mere historical or aesthetic interest. There are still occasions where one is required to consult volumes printed with this kind of type for everyday research: not long ago while studying some hagiographic material in Christian Palestinian Aramaic I had to compare a Greek text in F. Combefis’ Illustrium Christi martyrum lecti triumphi, vetustis Graecorum monumentis consignati (Paris, 1659), which, while not as difficult to read as some ligatured typefaces, nevertheless requires some acclimation for those who typically read Porsonian or similar type.

ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ Ο ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΙΚΟΣ ΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΠΕΡΙ ΓΕΝΕΣΕΩΣ, ΚΑΙ ΦΘΟΡΑΣ. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ Ο ΑΦΡΟΔΙΣΙΕΥΣ ΕΙΣ ΤΑ ΜΕΤΕΩΡΟΛΟΓΙΚΑ. Ο ΑΥΤΟΣ ΠΕΡΙ ΜΙΞΕΩΣ. Ioannes Grammaticus in libros De generatione, et interitu. Alexander Aphrodisiensis in Meteorologica. Idem De mixtione (Venice, 1527) at the Aldine press, under Andreas Asulanus. The title page has a warning against the book being printed elsewhere in Venice or of being sold elsewhere once printed.

Alexander of Aphrodisias on Aristotle’s Meteorologica

ΔΙΟΝΥΣΙΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΑΛΙΚΑΡΝΑΣΣΕΩΣ ΡΩΜΑΙΚΗΣ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ ΒΙΒΛΙΑ ΔΕΚΑ. Dionysii Halicarnassei antiquitatum Romanorum Lib. X (Paris, 1546) bound with ΔΙΟΝΥΣΙΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΑΛΙΚΑΡΝΑΣΣΕΩΣ ΠΕΡΙ ΣΥΝΘΕΣΕΩΣ ΟΝΟΜΑΤΩΝ, ΠΡΟΣ ΡΟΥΦΟΝ. Τοῦ αὐτοῦ τῆς ῥητορικῆς τέχνης κεφάλαιά τινα, πρὸς ἐχεκράτην. Τοῦ αὐτοῦ περὶ τῶν θουκυδίδου ἰδιωμάτων, πρὸς ἀμμαῖον. Dionysii Halicarnassei de compositione, seu orationis partium apta inter se collocatione, ad Rufum. Eiusdem, artis Rhetoricae capita quaedam, ad Echecratem. Item quo genere dicendi sit usus Thucydides, ad Ammaeum (Paris, 1547) at the press of Robert Estienne (Stephanus). Not listed on any title page, but also included are the sections from Dionysius’ work On the Attic Orators that deal with Lysias and Isocrates.

Dion. Hal., On the Style of Thucydides

Isaac Casaubon, Strabonis rerum geographicarum libri xvii (Paris, 1620). With the Latin translation of Guilielmus Xylander (a.k.a. Wilhelm Holtzman, 1532-1576). Casaubon was responsible for the first critical edition of Strabo (1587?), but this is a later edition. This edition (others too?) has a Latin poem on Casaubon’s edition of Strabo by Theodore Beza (1519-1605), and two shorter poems, one in Greek, one in Latin, by an author I am unable to identify. Casaubon’s text-critical notes are in the margins, and his commentary comes at the end of the book.

Casaubon’s Strabo

Marsilio Ficino, Plotini Platonicorum facile coryphaei operum philosophicorum omnium libri liv in sex enneades distributi, (Basel, 1580). Contains the Greek text, Ficino’s Latin translation in parallel, and commentary.

Ficino, Plotinus

Biblia Sacra Polyglotta, 6 vols., edited by Brian Walton with the assistance of many other scholars.

The beginning of Gen 22 from the London Polyglot

ΑΙΣΧΥΛΟΥ ΟΡΕΣΤΕΙΑ (London, 1904). Typeset by Robert Proctor, who was mentioned above. According to the colophon, printing was finished in March. The Greek type is based very closely on the Alcalá Greek typeface used for the famous Complutensian Polyglot (1514), with some augmentation to make up for some original deficiencies, such as a full set of accents.

Proctor, Agamemnon, first lines

ΟΜΗΡΟΥ ΠΟΙΗΣΙΣ. ΙΛΙΑΣ (Bremen, 1923), edited by Edward Schwartz at the Bremer Presse. A small number of text-critical notes (in Latin) are placed at the end of the book. This copy is no. 300 of 615. The Odyssey was issued the next year, and HMML also has that volume. The typeface of these volumes was first printed at this time: “adhibitis typis quorum forma nunc primum inuenta et excusa est”, in the words of the colophon to the Iliad edition.

The opening lines of the Iliad

Bibliography

Nicolas Barker, Aldus Manutius and the Development of Greek Script and Type in the Fifteenth Century, 2d ed. (New York, 1992).

Martin Davies, Aldus Manutius: Printer and Publisher of Renaissance Venice (Malibu, 1995).

Greek Font Society

Martin Lowry, The World of Aldus Manutius: Business and Scholarship in Renaissance Venice (Oxford, 1978).

G.F. von Ostermann and A.E. Giegengack, “Printer’s & Translator’s Elementary Information on Classical & Modern Greek and Abbreviations in Early Greek Printed Books,” originally in Languages: For the Use of Printers and Translators, 3d ed. (Washington, DC, 1936), reprinted at the end of Al.N. Oikonomides, Abbreviations in Greek: Inscriptions, Papyri, Manuscripts, and Early Printed Books (Chicago, 1974).

Rudolf Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship from 1300 to 1850 (Oxford, 1976).

Robert Proctor, The Printing of Greek in the Fifteenth Century (London, 1900).

Nigel Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy: Greek Studies in the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, 1992).

________, Mediaeval Greek Bookhands: Examples Selected from Greek Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries Medieval Academy Books 81 (Cambridge, Mass., 1973, repr. 1995).

Posted May 9, 2012 by adamcmccollum in Books, Greek, Typography

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Héribert Rosweyde’s Vitae Patrum   Leave a comment

While studying William Wright’s description of a Syriac manuscript of saints’ lives (Add. 12174), I was impelled to see if Saint John’s had a copy of Héribert Rosweyde’s Vitae Patrum (Antwerp, 1615), and I was not disappointed. Upon request, my colleague kindly (on whose blog this post might fit well) brought the book up for my perusal, and here are a few photos of the pigskin-covered tome that show its size, fine typography, and maps.

Héribert Rosweyde (1569-1629) stands at the beginning of the work of the Bollandists, the society dedicated to the scientific study of saints’ lives, work well represented by the voluminous and ponderous Acta Sanctorum, the journal Analecta Bollandiana, and the Subsidia Hagiographica series, the latter two publications continuing to this day. In the words of the Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye, “L’oeurve capitale de Rosweyde, le Vitae Patrum, parut en 1615. C’est véritablement la pierre fondamentale des Acta Sanctorum” (L’oeuvre des Bollandistes à travers trois siècles, 1615-1915, 2d ed. [Brussels, 1959], p. 17; ET pp. 16-17),[1] and again,

Le recueil que Rosweyde entreprenait de publier est un des plus considérables, un des plus célèbres aussi, de toute la littérature hagiographique. C’est l’épopée des origines du monachisme en Égypte et en Syrie, une des plus grandioses et des plus attachantes qui soient.

p. lxxvii

Rosweyde’s initial researches into hagiography appeared as a much smaller book: Fasti sanctorum quorum Vitae in belgicis bibliothecis manuscriptae (Antwerp, 1607). Both this and the later book were printed at the famous Plantin press in Antwerp. The notable aspects of Rosweyde’s approach are its breadth — his plan was regarded as very ambitious (in particular to Cardinal Robert Bellarmine), and with good reason, since it is still being followed and carried out by his successors now four centuries later — and its close and faithful reliance on complete manuscript sources. He was not working on untilled soil, just ground that had not been most properly worked. As Delehaye says (pp. 14-15; ET pp. 12-13),

Voici comment Rosweyde entende recuellir et préparer les matériaux.

Pour les Vie déja imprimées, par example dans Lippomano et Surius, ne pas se contenter du texte de ces éditions, mais le collationner sur les manuscrits. On sait que dans les recueils précédents les pièces ont été souvent retouchées pour le style. L’autorité du document s’en trouve diminuée et le sens fréquemment altéré. Des prologues, des miracles, des passages obscurs ont été supprimés. It faut rétablir les textes dans leur intégrité.

Les pièces dont on ne trouve pas de manuscrits ne seront admises que si l’on a l’assurance qu’elles n’ont pas été retouchées. Quant aux Vies inédites, elles doivent être cherchées partout et insérées, à leur rang, parmi les autres. Les passages obscurs ne doivent pas être laissés sans explication ; ils seront éclaircis selon le programme des Illustrationes [in Vitas sanctorum].

Finally, while Rosweyde’s work does not yet fully exemplify the critical attitude of the following centuries, it is nevertheless a remarkable step forward from his predecessors, and one that is hardly without value even today.

Les méthodes minutieuses et précises appliquées de nos jours à l’établissement des textes n’étaient point créées à l’époque de Rosweyde, et il ne faut point chercher dans son édition les résultats qui supposent un travail de ce genre. Mais en dehors de cela, il a abordé tous les problèmes ; son intelligence claire les a nettement posés et résolus avec les ressources d’une érudition solide, sobre et élégante. Si l’on tient compte de l’étendue et de la variété des écrits qui forment le recueil, de l’imperfection des instruments de travail d’alors, des difficultés de l’exécution, on n’exagérera guère en qualifiant de chef-d’oeurve le Vitae Patrum de Rosweyde. (Delehaye, pp. 19-20; ET p. 20)

p. 812

Rosweyde laid the groundwork with his plan, his purposeful approach to the texts, and his industry, but his death came before much of the task was realized. His work would continue in the hands of Jean Bollandus, from whom, of course, the society takes its name.

Note

[1] Yes, I know there is an English translation of Delehaye’s history of the first three centuries of the Bollandists, and that the first edition is available here, but I am too fond of French not to quote it. I have used the second French edition, but the first (1920) is available here. The corresponding pages in the first edition of the English translation are given for those who want or need them. In Latin, cf. also the proemium to Acta Sanctorum, Oct., vol. 7, pt. 1, available here (and, if you’re lucky, in your library: these magnificent volumes deserve to be read and touched directly.) More recent perspectives on Rosweyde and the subsequent work of the Bollandists will be found in R. Godding, B. Joassart, X. Lequeux, and F. De Vriendt, De Rosweyde aux Acta Sanctorum: La recherche hagiographique des Bollandistes à travers quatre siècles. Actes du Colloques international (Bruxelles, 5 octobre 2007) (Brussels, 2009).

Recently digitized books from HMML’s collections   1 comment

I want to highlight five books from HMML’s rare books collections that we have recently photographed and made available at Vivarium. The first three are slim booklets with some very basic information about Arabic, Persian, and Syriac in the form of a guide to reading and pronunciation with some short well-known texts in the particular language and a Latin translation. The Alphabetum Arabicum (1592) has  the Lord’s Prayer, the Annunciation, Psalm 113 (112), Psalm 117 (116), and John 1:1-9.[1] Similar introductory books were published for Gǝˤǝz (Alphabetum Aethiopicum sive Gheez et Amhharicum [Rome, 1789]),[2] Armenian (Alphabetum Armenum), Coptic (Alphabetum Cophtum sive Aegyptiacum), Persian (Alphabetum Persicum), and Syriac (Alphabetum Syro-Chaldaeum), all of these printed by the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide press. Later the Dominicans at Mosul would print the comparable Syllabaire ou exercices de lecture arabe à l’usage des enfants (1862), Syllabaire chaldéen, 3d ed. (1884) for east Syriac script, and Livre de lecture syrienne, 3d ed. (1884) for west Syriac script.[3] These digitized booklets on Arabic, Persian, and Syriac (the script in this one is mostly Serṭo) may be of interest for the history of scholarship in these languages, typography, and perhaps even pedagogy.

Alphabetum arabicum (Rome, 1592).

Alphabetum persicum, cum Oratione dominicali et Salutatione angelica (Rome, 1783).

Alphabetum syro-chaldaeum, una cum Oratione dominicali, Salutatione angelica, et Symbolo fidei (Rome, 1797).

The next volume, completely unrelated to the previous three, is Budge’s The Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Life of Hannâ (Saint Anne), and the Magical Prayers of ‘Ahĕta Mîkâêl (London, 1900). Only 300 copies were printed (“for private circulation”), of which this copy is no. 79. No one who has not seen this ponderous tome will divine its heft and size merely from viewing the images on a screen, but I vouch for its massive dimensions. To be sure, some of the criticisms that R.H. Charles leveled against another of Budge’s huge books are fitting here (see in Hermathena 10 [1899]: 397-406, available here), too, but, at the very least, many of the plates are worth examining.

The last book is Giovanni Battista Ferrari’s Ktābā da-bnāt qālē suryāyātā = Nomenclator Syriacus (Rome, 1622), a Syriac-Latin glossary (based on onomasiological rather than semasiological principles). HMML also has a copy of Thomas Obicini’s similar work, Thesaurus Arabico-Syro-Latinus, which was posthumously published at Rome, 1636.[4]

[1] For Arabic HMML also has the similar, but longer, Fabrica overo dittionario della lingua volgare arabica, et italiana by Dominico Germano de Silesia (Rome, 1636); it includes some partially vocalized Christian phrases and texts, such as the Christian basmallah, the Lord’s Prayer, Ave Maria, the Apostles’ Creed, Ten Commandments, Salve Regina, and the Athanasian Creed.

[2] Note also the Chaldeae [sic!] seu Aethiopicae Linguae Institutiones (Rome, 1630). HMML also has this volume; it has already been photographed and will be added to Vivarium in the near future.

[3] See further M.W. Albin, “Preliminary bibliography of Arabic books printed by the Dominican fathers in Mosul,” MIDEO 16 (1983): 247-260, and J.F. Coakley and David G.K. Taylor, “Syriac Books Printed at the Dominican Press, Mosul,” in, George A. Kiraz, ed., Malphono w-Rabo d-Malphone. Studies in Honor of Sebastian P. Brock, Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies 3 (Piscataway, 2008), pp. 71-110.

[4] This work is based, without attribution, on Eliya of Nisibis’ Kitāb al-turjumān fī taˤlīm luġat al-suryān, of which I am preparing a new edition—there is an older one by Lagarde—based partly on six newly identified manuscripts of the work, including the oldest dated copy.

Ethiopic typography   1 comment

By virtue of my work at HMML, I work most closely with manuscripts, and it’s not infrequent that I find myself well reminded of how important it is to stay closely familiar with manuscripts over against printed editions for one reason or other, but I nevertheless have no trouble finding both interest and beauty in printed texts (and unfortunately also ghastliness!). And there are times when a printed text is the only witness to a text one has access to!

There have been studies and discussions of the history of Arabic type and Arabic typography, and for Syriac there is J.F. Coakley’s excellent Typography of Syriac: A historical catalogue of printing types, 1537-1958 (New Castle, Delaware and London: 2006). As far as I know, there is nothing very extensive on Coptic or Georgian from this viewpoint, but I will happily be corrected. (See here for some sources on Armenian typography.)

We are, I believe, richer in these cases from the standpoint of paleography than of typography. So, too, with Gǝ`ǝz: we have Siegbert Uhlig’s Äthiopische Paläographie (Stuttgart, 1988), and its much slimmer English cousin, Introduction to Ethiopian Palaeography (Stuttgart, 1990), but there is no Ethiopic counterpart to Coakley’s book mentioned just above. There are, by my unscientific estimate, less printed data to go on for Gǝ`ǝz than for Syriac, but there is still plenty to be of interest. Here I only give a kind of mini-gallery of some printed texts, some from screen captures of digital images and some from photos of books at HMML, but a proper presentation would also naturally include the history of the type used in this or that printing. These examples go from 1654 to 1900. We could also look at texts published after this time period, such as in PO, CSCO, and Aethiopica, but the typography of these publications is not appreciably different from the examples below from Dillmann’s Chrestomathia and Budge’s Miracles.

Nissel and Petraeus, S. Johannis Apostoli & Evangelistae Epistolae Catholicae Tres, Arabicae & Aethiopicae (Leiden, 1654), p. 11

Robert Bellarmine, Dottrina Christiana (Rome, 1786), p. 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.J. Marcel, Jonas propheta, idiomata gheez (Paris, 1802), p. 2

A. Dillmann, Cat. Cod. Manu. Orient. qui in Mus. Brit., pt. III (London, 1847), p. 1

 

 

 
 

 
 

 

A. Dillmann, Chrestomathia Aethiopica (Leipzig, 1866), p. 43

 

 
 

 
 

 

 
 

 

Budge, Miracles of the B.V.M. (London, 1900), p. 11

Posted December 16, 2011 by adamcmccollum in Gǝ`ǝz, Typography

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