One of the earliest and most widely circulated dictionaries in the 16th century was Ambrogio Calepino’s Dictionarium. Although it was not the first printed alphabetical Latin dictionary—that was Gutenberg’s 1460 printing of Balbi’s Catholicon based on the 1286 manuscript—after its first printing in 1503 it held a special place among dictionaries in Europe, going on to be printed in multiple countries with roughly one edition every two years until 1700. The early editions included Latin and Greek, which Calepino had studied as an Augustinian. Vernacular languages were added to later editions, with significant local variation. After Calepino’s death in 1510, many other scholars and compilers took on the task of expanding and editing later versions of the Dictionarium, leading to a great degree of variation between editions. Variations of the work were so prolific that the name “Calepino” became a kind of “brand name” for dictionary. Three editions of the Calepino can be seen and compared here. Later editions expanded even further.
References and Further Reading:
Blair, Ann. 2010. Too much to know: managing scholarly information before the modern age. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press.
Labarre, Albert. 1975. Bibliographie du dictionarium d'Ambrogio Calepino: (1502-1779). Baden-Baden: Koerner.