Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Stephan Blankaart's Lexicon Novum Medicum

To start the first Latin Therapy session of 2014, we  looked at the preface to the fourth edition of Stephan Blankaart's Lexicon Novum Medicum.  I'll paste below the original Latin, and our attempt at a translation.

An interesting challenge was posed by the "libertam" in the final line.  Does it mean freedom, a former female slave, or something else?!

As always, if you have any comments or think you can do better, please let us know!

Blankaart, Stephan (1690) Steph. Blancardi lexicon novum medicum, Græco-Latinum, cæteris editionibus longe perfectissimum. Lugduni Batavorum: Cornelium Boutesteyn [et] Jordanum Luchtmans
Lectoribus typographum

Hic Habetis hujus Lexici quartam editionem, Lectores; primo ab Auctore editam; secundo in Germania recusam; tertio Londini Anglicè versam; verum quam nunc damus recens revisam, correctam, & uti videtis, auctam. Insuper  adiecti sunt Indices Belgici, Germanici, Gallici et Anglici, addidisset quidam Arabicarum, uti & aliarum Gentium, quæ in hoc Lexico hinc et inde occurrunt, vocabula, imo et Chymicorum Mystica nomina, sed ea vel in opera præcedenti vel explicata sunt, vel ob usum diu obsoletum, studio prætermissa. Leve unicuique forte videbitur Lexica scribere, non negatur: sed arduum sane est de Medicinæ Apicibus tot Chiliadas componere; & si nobis non credas, quæso et ipse faciat quisque periculum, & certè experietur difficultatem. Modus erat ei in hisce rebus colligendis, ideoque breviter omnia tanquam unica mappa, constrinxit; Largiter enim scribere & tædium parit & Auctore & Legenti. Sit ut sit, vix scribitur libertam male, unde non aliquid boni possit decerpi. Vale


The press to the readers

Here, readers, you have the fourth edition of this Lexicon; the first edited by the Author; the second re-forged in Germany; the third turned into English in London; indeed which now we offer recently revised, corrected and, as you have seen, enlarged.  In addition wordlists have been added in Belgian [Dutch], German, French and English, and having also added some words of the Arabs and other peoples, which in this Lexicon appear here and there, and indeed the Mystical names of the alchemists, but those which are either explained by previous efforts or are obsolete through long use, have been left out deliberately.  Writing dictionaries will perhaps seem easy to some people, it is not denied: but it is really hard to compose so many thousands of words of Medicine; and if you do not believe us, let him, pray, take the risk himself, and he shall certainly experience the difficulty.  This was his method in gathering these things together, and therefore he briefly squeezed everything together as if in a single chart; however more broadly to write also seems to provide tedium both to the writer and his reader.  Be that as it may, the book is hardly so badly written, that nothing good may be plucked from it.  Farewell.

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