Grammar Textbook in Tenth Century Binding

Serreius, Joannes. Grammaticae Gallicae, ex optimis in hoc genere auctoribus, vsitata & perspicua Methodo concinnatae. Per Ioannem Serreium Baudovillanum: Editio secunda. Non sine labore & industria plerisque in locis emendata, & necessarijs obseruationibus e quotidiana lectione aucta: sic vt plane nova videri queat.

❧ Argentorati [Strasbourg]: Typis Antonij Bertrami Typographi Academici, [1600?].  150 × 90 mm (6 × 3.625 in.). [14], 142, [2] pp. Errata on page [143]. Ink stamp on title page: Franziskaner Kloster Dettelbach.” Ink inscription on title page: Pro Conventu Dettelb. F. Min. Recoll.” Remnants of red wax seal on front and rear pastedowns. Ink inscription by an early reader on the front pastedown, dated March 1664. Good. Bound in boards covered in an old manuscript on vellum. The vellum is heavily rubbed from use and shelf wear; a blue ink stain on the front cover; center of the rear cover along the fore-edge is pinched with a crack in the vellum.

The second edition of the French physician Joannes Serreius (or Jean Serre) grammar textbook to teach French to Germans in Strasbourg during the late 16th and early 17th century. The date of publication is taken from the final line of the dedication.

In his dedication to Daniel Hardoncourt and Samuel de Bruno, Serreius ties the project of educating the youth in grammar to good governance and nation-building (“Discendas autem in unius cuiusque sua patria, Grammaticorum ratione, ut legere & pronunciare, eademque intelligere possent adolescentes” [One should learn grammar in their own country in order to read and pronounce and understand the same things as youths]). The work begins with a brief history of the French language. It then provides a guide to pronunciation for every letter of the alphabet. Articles, diphthongs, verb conjugations (the largest section), and syntax are all given their own sections. Examples in French are printed in Italics while a few sparse German words and examples are printed in blackletter. The work concludes with an errata page, and an early reader has supplied a couple of corrections of their own.

The first edition of Serreius French grammar published by Antonius Bertramus was published in 1598. There are significant differences between the two texts, in the main text as well as the preliminaries. This second edition, printed two years after the first, contains brand new preliminaries. The old dedicatees and preliminary verse have been swapped for new dedicatees, and two new laudatory poems dedicated to Serreius by Johann Peparinus (1573–1623) and Bartholomew Werner. This was the final 16th century edition, and the last before being superseded by Grammatica Gallica Nova. Seven other editions of this new title were published by Lazarus Zetzner and his heirs between 1606 and 1648.

With evidence of early readership. An inscription on the front pastedown refers to bequeathing the book to the most illustrious” Brother Martiniano in March of 1664 . This may have been an inhabitant of the Franciscan monastery in Dettelbach which was completed in 1620.

A rare work that provides snippets into manuscript textual transmission, linguistics along the Franco-German border, and the life of a Franciscan monastery. OCLC reports no copies outside of Europe, with only one holding at the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome. Vd16 reports one copy at the University of Jena. We note one copy also at the Universidad de Salamanca. No sale history reported by Rare Book Hub and none currently in the trade.

Vd16 ZV 25190


Blokland, F.E. On the origin of patterning in movable Latin type: Renaissance standardisation, systematisation, and unitisation of textura and roman type.” Doctoral thesis, Universität Leiden, 2016.

Tenth Century Waste Binding

[Likely Germany with French influence, 10th century]. Single leaf, in situ. (Approximately 195 x 150 mm, originally in excess of 225 mm). 13 lines in two columns; text of Column A from Samuel II 21:20–22; Column B text 22:1–5; 22:12–21. Trimming excised approximately 10–13 lines of material; bottom margin relatively intact.

This example of Carolingian minuscule demonstrates the script’s dynamic forms at play. We see the retention of an uncial M in one instance, a throwback to the exchange between the Continental and Insular scribes. While the predominate form of the letter s is the long version ( ſ, resembling an f ), a single example of a terminal round s appears. The long s does not descend the baseline; however, the descender of the letter r does, which gives an earlier feel to the script. Though the text sample is limited, there are no et ligatures, and, in fact, neither the Tironian et (a later feature) nor the ampersand (an expected contemporary feature) is used. The scribe, however, has used the standard ct ligature. Other notable paleographic features include the consistent use of the straight-backed d, the feet employed on m, the wedge shaped ascenders, and the consistent use of the closed g. E‑caudata used for vowel cluster ae and oe suggests French scribe.

The height ratio of letters (3mm) to interlinear space (5mm) gives the script the typical uncluttered feel of a Carolingian manuscript.

Binding Text

(front cover) [Samuel 2 22:12–21]

… suo latibulum cribrans aquas de nubibus coelorum.
Prae fulgore in conspectu eius accensi sunt carbones ignis
Tonabit de coelom dominus et excelsus dabit vocem suam
Misit saggittas suas et dissipavit eos fulgura et consumpsit eos
Et apperuerunt effusiones maris et revelata
sunt funamenta orbis ab increpatione domini ab inspiratione
spiritus furotis eieus. Misit de coelo et assumpsit
me et traxit me de aquis multis liberavit me
[ab inimico] meo potentissimo [et ab his qui oderant me
] robustorres me erant. Prevenit me in die afflictionis
meae et factus est Dominus firmamentum [meum]. Et eduxit me
[in latitudinem] liberavit me quia complacui [ei. Retribuet mihi
dominus secundum iustiam meam.
Et secundum
] munditiam manuum mearum reddet mihi.

(back cover) [Samuel 2 21:20–22; 22:1–5]

…erat de origine Arafa. Et blasphemavit Israel:
percussit autem eum Jonathan filius Samaa fratris David.
Hi .iiii. nati sunt de Arafa in Geth, et ceciderunt in
manu David et servorum ejus. Locutus est autem David Domine
verba carminis hujus in die qua liberavit eum Dominus
de manu /omnium\ inimicorum suorum, et de manu Saul. Et ait:
Dominus petra mea, et robur meum, et salvator meus.
Deus fortis meus: sperabo in eum; scutum meum, et
cornu salutis meae: elevator meus, et refugium
meum; salvator meus: de iniquitate liberabis me.
Laudabilem invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis [meis]
salvus ero.Quia circumdederunt me contritiones
mortis: torrentes Belial terruerunt [me].


In stock

Stock Code: 1456A17 Collection: Catalogue:


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