Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae latinitatis

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The Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae latinitatis (since 1883 only Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis ) was first published in 1678 by Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange (1610–1688) in Paris by the publisher Billaine. In over two hundred years of work, it was expanded by a number of French and German scholars and grew into the most important dictionary of the younger Latin language : Middle Latin .


The reason for the creation of the glossary arose from Du Cange's membership in a commission commissioned by the minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert , which was to create a new collection of French historians. To this end, he carried out a draft, which, however, was not approved by the minister. Du Cange was seriously offended by this and decided to publish the material he had already collected in the form of the glossary .

The glossary is therefore not a linguistic dictionary of medieval Latin, but an encyclopedia of things and things of the Middle Ages, arranged alphabetically according to the Latin words that designate them. (Langlois 1904) Every article is a collection of texts which in certain cases reach the size of a treatise. The explanation of the subject is also served by the citation of old and middle French text examples. On the other hand, there is no linguistic explanation about declination , conjugation or grammatical usage.

For du Cange, non-classical Latin was indeed corrupt ( corrupta latinitas ); but for this very reason he saw the need to collect and explain the evidence in order to understand the sources.

With the name Glossarium du Cange puts the work in the series of the ancient and medieval glossaries . On the one hand, he and his successors try to grasp the entire vocabulary of the aforementioned periods of the Latin language. On the other hand, only factual and historical explanations are given for the individual entries. In this way a work was created that can be assigned to the subject lexicography (see dictionary ), although it should be used mainly as a language dictionary.


The full title is also a detailed description of the content of the work:

Glossarium ad Scriptores Mediae & Infimae Latinitatis: In Quo Latina Vocabula Novatae Significationis, aut usus rarioris, Barbara & Exotica explicantur, eorum Notationes & Originationes reteguntur; Complures aevi medii Ritus et Mores, Legum Consuetudinum municipalium, et Iurisprudentiae recentioris Formulas, et obsoletae voces: Utriusque Ordinis, Ecclesiastici & Laici, Dignitates & Officia, & quam plurima aliae observatione digna recensentur, enucleant .
English: Glossary of Middle and Young Latin Authors, in which Latin words of new meaning or seldom used, illiterate and extraordinary are explained and their names and origins are illuminated, as well as many medieval customs and manners, laws and habits of the citizens, both forms the more recent jurisprudence as well as lost designations from the ecclesiastical as well as from the non-ecclesiastical area, dignities and offices and what else is reported, listed, explained.

Were added nouns , adjectives , and verbs , nouns wherein the predominate. The nouns are lemmatized mainly in the nominative singularis ; however, the plural form is often chosen. Verbs are listed in the infinitive .

The lemma is first followed by a short explanation in Latin in almost exclusively incomplete sentences. After that, references are cited from sources for the use of the word, which are introduced and connected by Latin explanations. The documents are identified with the exact location and are often dated.

The explanations and documents are sometimes extraordinarily extensive. So z. For example, amir (aldus) offers a list of French naval commanders up to the 18th century and moneta a 45-page numismatic treatise, the latter even supplemented by coin images in the appendix. Under the keyword campiones , pages of excerpts from old and central French legal records about the duel are given.


Du Cange summarily names his sources in the work title with e libris editis, ineditis, aliisque monumentis cum publicis, cum privatis , d. H. printed or unprinted and other public or private written monuments . Not only Latin, but also Old and Middle French works are reproduced. The source base has been significantly expanded by the various editors.

Work history

The first edition created by du Cange appeared in 1678: Lutetiae Parisiorum [Paris]: Typis Gabrielis Martini. Prostat apud Ludvicum Billaine, Bibliopolam Parisiensem ... 1678. - Reprint Fracofurti Ad Moenum [Frankfurt am Main]: Impensis Johannis Davidis Zunneri, Typis Balthasaris Christophori Wustii ... 1681. It comprised three volumes:

1. [AC]. (1371 columns); : 2. [DN] (823, 807 col.); : 3. [OZ] (1560 col.)

Ten years after the first edition, du Cange added an appendix to his Greek dictionary: Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae graecitatis: accedit Appendix ad Glossarium mediae et infimae Latinitatis . Paris 1688 (2 vol.) The publisher Zunner published an edition increased by these supplements in 1710 in Frankfurt am Main: Editio Novissima Insigniter Aucta, ubi non solum e Glossario Latinitatis, sed & Graecitatis addita cuique Parti supplementa, suis quaeque locis inserta sunt . Francofurti ad Moenum: Officina Zunneriana, Jungius 1710. The work grew to four volumes:

1. [AC]. (1462 col.); : 2.1. D [-H]. (926 col.); : 2.2. IN]. (870 col.); : 3. O [-Z]. (1736 Sp.)

The work was significantly expanded by four Benedictines from the Congregation of St. Maurus with the main monastery of St. Germain-des-Prés in Paris. They respected Du Cange's text extremely, so that they even adopted his mistakes, and added their own additions and corrections under certain symbols. Their edition is referred to as Editio nova locupletior et auctior / auctore Carolo Dufresne, domino Du Cange. Opera et studio monachorum Ordinis S. Benedicti è Congregatione S. Mauri . Parisiis [Paris]: sub oliva Caroli Osmont. - Reprints Venice 1736-1740, Basileae [Basel]: Tournes 1762 (3 vols.). In the editions of Paris and Venice the work now comprised six volumes:

1. AB. 1733 (1393 col.); 2nd CD. 1733 (1705 col.); 3rd EK. 1733 (1678 col.); 4. LO. 1733 (1420 col.); 5. PR. 1734 (1562 col.); 6th SZ. 1736 (1814 col.)

The Benedictine Father Pierre Carpentier prepared a four-volume addendum Glossarium novum ad scriptores medii aevi, cum Latinos tum Gallicos; Seu suplementum ad auctiorem glossarii Cangianio editionem / collegit et digessit D. Pierre Carpentier . - Parisiis: LeBreton [u. a.], 1766:

1. (1256 col.); 2. (1376 col.); 3. (1235 col.); 4. (672 col.)

The German lexicographer Johann Christoph Adelung put together a concise dictionary from the work of Du Cange and the addendum by Carpentier, in which he in turn added his own additions: Glossarium manuale ad scriptores mediae et infimae latinitatis: ex magnis glossariis Caroli Du Fresne, domini Du Cange et Carpentarii in compendium redactum, multisque verbis et dicendi formulis / auctum [a Jo. Adelung] . Halae: Gebauer, 1772.

1. 1772 (864 pp.); 2. 1773 (866 pp.); 3. 1774 (878 pp.); 4. 1776 (864 pp.); 5. 1778 (786 pp.); 6. 1784 (964 pp.)

The French scholar GA Louis Henschel put the work together with the addenda by Carpentier and Adelung and added his own information: Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae Latinitatis / conditum a Carolo DuFresne, domino DuCange. Cum supplementis carpenterii; Adelungii, aliorum suisque digessit GAL Henschel . Parisiis [Paris]: Didot

1. 1840; 2. 1842; 3. 1844; 4th 1845; 5th 1845; 6. 1846; 7. Glossarium franco-gallicum, Glossaire français: Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae Latinitatis . 1850

Subsequently, the German scholar Lorenz Diefenbach published a Glossarium latino-germanicum mediae et infimae aetatis in Frankfurt am Main in 1857 and a Novum Glossarium latino-germanicum mediae et infimae aetatis in 1867 , both of which were designed as an addendum and supplement to the glossary by du Cange.

Finally, Léopold Favre developed a new edition, which he in turn supplemented with his own and with additions to Lorenz Diefenbach's glossaries. The work has been used in this edition since then: Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis / conditum a Carolo DuFresne, domino DuCange. Auctum a monachis Ordinis S. Benedicti cum supplementis integris DP Carpenterii, Adelungii, aliorum, suisque digessit GAL Henschel sequuntur Glossarium gallicum, tabulae, indices auctorum et rerum, dissertationes. Editio nova aucta pluribus verbis aliorum scriptorum a Léopold Favre . Niort: Favre 1883-87; Reprints Paris 1937-1943, Graz 1954/55 and more.

1 [, 1]. [A-Arch]. 1883 (368 pp.); 1 [, 2]. [Arch - Byz]. 1885 (pp. 369-802); 2. [C - Cto]. 1883 (688 pp.); 3. [D-Fyr]. 1884 (642 pp.); 4. [G-Kyr]. 1885 (491 pp.); 5. [L - Nym]. 1885 (629 pp.); 6. O-Q. 1886 (619 pages); 7. R - p. 1886 (694 pp.); 8th T-line 1887 (469 pp.); 9. [Glossaire français]. 1887 (400 pp.); 10. [Indices]. 1887 (172 pp.)


  • Mario Esposito: Du Cange (Charles du Fresne, sieur) . In: Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie . Vol. 4, Paris 1921, Col. 1657f.
  • Peter Stotz: Handbook on the Latin Language of the Middle Ages , Vol. 1 (= Handbook of Classical Studies 2, 5, 1). Munich 2002, pp. 193–197

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