Thesaurus linguae romanae & britannicae - 1578

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              Also known as Cooper's Dictionary, the Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Brittanicae was first published in 1565, and was reprinted without major changes in 1573, 1578 (the CRRS copy comes from this printing), and 1587. The compiler Thomas Cooper relied on several previous works of Latin lexicography, including works which translated Latin into French and German, but added English translations where previous authors had supplied no vernacular equivalent. With prefaces and dedications mostly in Latin, and little in the way of grammatical guidance, the Thesaurus appears to have been intended for an audience already comfortable in reading Latin. The book contains several epistles—one a dedication to Robert Dudley and the others notes to the reader on the use of the book—and several poems for the author by other academics in both Latin and Greek. Only one of the epistles uses English, and this one describes the use and organization of the volume and how words are organized into "primitives" and "derivatives"—important main words and those formed from them—throughout the volume. Rather than a linguistic reference, the volume serves as a literary one, supplying both English translations and citations to the classical authors who employed the words and phrases included here; the latter section of the book is a vocabulary of proper names and places from classical history and poetry. Today the volume is prized as a piece of evidence for Elizabethan English usage as it contains idiomatic, full phrases for its English definitions.

References and Further Reading:

Cooper, Thomas. Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Brittanicae. Menston, English Scholar Press 1969. Preface to the facsimile edition.

Starnes, DeWitt T. 1954. Renaissance dictionaries: English-Latin and Latin-English. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Thesaurus Linguae Q1v (Canis) Thesaurus Linguae Q1v detail 2 (Canis)


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Entries are alphabetized by Latin. The alphabetization is rough. The pages are in two columns with three letter headings. Some columns have two three letter groupings. Alphabetization is by main word, with related words following. Alphabetization within these headings is not strict word by word.

Latin is set in roman type and English in black letter (gothic) throughout, including in the prefaces.

Bibliographic Information


Thomas Cooper


Thesaurus linguae romanae & britannicae: tam accurate congestus, vt nihil penè in eo desyderari possit quod vel latinè complectatur amplissimus Stephani Thesaurus, vel anglicè, toties aucta Eliotae Bibliotheca ... Accessit dictionarivm historicum & poëticum ...




Londini [London]


H. Denham?


Robert Estienne
Thomas Elyot


Londini : [H. Denham?], 1578.


Leather bound. Binding mostly intact, cover and first several pages separated.

¶2 is pasted to another sheet as a repair, lengthwise. ¶3 has a patch that has more acid than the paper. ¶5 has been patched in the bottom corner with what looks like a railway schedule.

Vernacular and Latin Dictionaries
Thesaurus linguae romanae & britannicae - 1578