666G Montfaucon, Bernard de. 1655-1741

Diarium italicum, sive, Monumentorum veterum, bibliothecum, musaeorum, &c :notitiae singulares in itinerario italico collectae : additis schematibus ac figuris.


Parisiis : Apud Joannem Anisson typographiae regiae praefectum,1702     $2,200

Quarto, 10 X 7 1/2 inches . First edition. ã4 e4 i4 õ4 u2, A-Z4, Aa-Zz4,Aaa-Vvv4.+ [3] leaves of plates (1 folded)] It bound in a later nineteenth century vellum binding The binding is indsc_0018-2 good working condition, and attractive.

“Bernard de Montfaucon, an eminent French antiquary and philologist, born in Languedoc in 1655, was a member of the congregation of the Benedictines of Saint–Maur. Having visited Italy in 1698, he published, after his return, his ‘Diarium Italicum,’ an account of the libraries of Italy, ‘Palaeographia Graeca,’ a treatise on the origin and progress of Greek letters, ‘Antiquity Explained and Represented in Figures,’ (10 vols. folio, 1719, in French and Latin,) and ‘The Monuments of the French Monarchy,’ (5 vols., 1729). He also published excellent editions of Saint Chrysostom and other Greek writers. He was a member of the Academy of Inscriptions. Died in 1741.” (Thomas’ Pronouncing Dictionary)“Before undertaking new patrisitic labors, [Montfaucon] resolved to study the dsc_0020manuscripts in the libraries of Italy. Obtaining permission in 1698, he set out with dom Paul Briois. At Milan he made the acquaintance or Muratori; at Venice he was received very coldly, and was not even allowed to see the manuscripts in the Benedictine monasteries of San Giorgio Maggiore and San Marco. On the other hand, he was welcomed at Mantua, Ravenna, and especially at Rome by Innocent XI. Having been named by his superiors procurator general at Rome of the Order of St. Benedict, certain difficulties with the Jesuits led to his resignation of that office which brought with it so many distractions from his chief work, and in 1701 he secured his recall to France. The scientific results of his journey were embodied in the quarto volume of his ‘Diarium Italicum’ (Paris, 1702 This book!). He also collected the notes of his companion, Dom Paul Briois, who had died on the journey. […] The thoroughly scientific bent of Montfaucon’s mind led him to elaborate a new auxiliary science out of the studies he had made for the verification of his Greek texts. dsc_0030As Mabillon had created the science of diplomatics, so Montfaucon was the father of Greek palaeography, the principles of which he established by the rigor of his method in grouping his personal observations. His great ‘Palaeographia Graeca’ (folio, Paris, 1708) inaugurated the scientific study of Greek texts. Another auxiliary science of history, that of bibliography, owes to him a work still of considerable value, the ‘Bibliotheca Bibliotecarum manuscriptorum nova’ (2 vols., folio, Paris, 1739), a catalogue of the Greek, manuscripts of the chief libraries of Europe.” (CE, vol. X, page 539-540)

dsc_0024In 1705 Montfaucon examined and described the manuscripts of the Fonds Coislin, in Bibliotheca Coisliniana (Paris, 1705). In 1708 in Palaeographia Graeca Montfaucon became the first to use the term “palaeography”. The work illustrates the entire history of Greek writing. It contains Montfaucon’s discussions of variations in Greek letter forms, the use of abbreviations in Greek manuscripts, and the process of deciphering archaic writing. It was Montfaucon’s special interest. In this work he often cited Greek manuscripts in texts of Athanasius of Alexandria, Origen, and John Chrysostom. The book dealt so comprehensively with the handwriting and other characteristics of Greek manuscripts that it remained the leading authority on the subject for almost two centuries.dsc_0022dsc_0029