About the Engelhus-Vokabular

WHAT Is the Object of Research?

My research intends to produce a digital edition of a 15th century dictionary called “vocabularius quadriidiomaticus”, “Vokabular”, or “Glossar” (there is, as yet, no universally recognised name), based on two out of 19 surviving manuscript copies. It contains lemmata in both Latin and Greek (using the Latin alphabet), followed by a multitude of explanations, such as definitions, translations into Middle Low German, examples of use, derivations and grammatical information. The dictionary was intended for advanced learners of Latin.

WHO Is the Author?

The author is Dietrich Engelhus (ca. 1362-1434), a chronicler, theologist and school-master from Einbeck, Germany. In addition to compiling teaching books, such as this dictionary and an encyclopaedia called “promptus”, he is well-known to scholars for his world chronicle and theological works.

WHY Are the Manuscripts Important?

What makes the two manuscripts of the dictionary – Cod. Guelf. 720 Helmst. and Cod. Guelf. 956 Helmst. – so fascinating is the circumstances of their composition. It is highly likely that they were dictated to two students at the same time as part of their education. The manuscripts’ unusually detailed colophons and indicators in the text support this assumption (read more). The colophons mention not only the scribes’ names (Ludolf Oldendorp and Hermann von Hildesheim), but also indicate a completion date (24th August 1444) and even the exact completion time (“hora tercia post prandium” – in the third hour in the morning). Furthermore, they suggest, that it was a certain Konrad Sprink who dictated the dictionary to the students. Editing, encoding and comparing the two manuscripts will therefore provide an insight to their lexicographic and linguistic peculiarities as well as to the educational circumstances under which they were produced.


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