The Wissembourg Priscian Glosses

Digital Edition - Introduction


The "Wissembourg Priscian Glosses"-project aims at completing a digital edition of the Latin and Old High German glosses attached to the text of Priscian's Ars Grammatica in the manuscript Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, 50 Weiss. (Wissembourg, ca. 850-870), hereafter: W. For a codicological description of W see: Hans Butzmann, Die Weißenburger Handschriften (Kataloge der Herzog-August-Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel 10), Frankfurt a.M. 1964, p. 187. Digitized pictures of W and Butzmann's description are available online here. Further literature on W: Handschriftencensus no. 12744; Franck Cinato, Priscien glosé. L'Ars grammatica de Priscien vue à travers les gloses carolingiennes, Turnhout 2015.

The project uses the critical edition of Priscian’s Institutiones Grammaticae published by Martin Hertz in 1855 under the direction of Heinrich Keil as a reference (Grammatici latini ex recensione Henrici Keilii, 7 vols; vol. 2: Prisciani Institutionum grammaticarum libri I–XII; vol. 3: Prisciani Institutionum grammaticarum libri XIII–XVIII, Leipzig: Teubner, 1855). Alessandro Garcea (Sorbonne Université, Paris) generously provided us with his TEI-XML transcription of Hertz’ edition (hereafter: H).


Priscian's text

The digital edition is structured according to the pages and the lines in H. In order to enable comparison with other digital editions of Priscian glosses (see: Gloss Corpus), we have followed the model provided by the “St Gall Priscian Glosses”-project. In particular, we link to their scans of H at the beginning of each new page, we reproduce their adaptation of H with regard to line breaks, and we follow them in recording the position of each line within H. For instance: “II 1, 5” indicates that line 5 of page 1 of volume II of Keil’s Grammatici Latini begins.

For the sake of comparison with similar digital editions, all lines of H have been encoded, also those which were not glossed by the Wissembourg glossators. The punctuation of Priscian's text reproduces that provided by H regardless of what occurs in W. The line breaks of W obviously do not conform with those of H: they are signaled in italics and within round brackets.

Words of Priscian's text occurring in W but not in the main body of H appear in bold and italics in the digital edition. Further differences between W and H with regard to Priscian’s main text have been recorded as “text variations”. Omissions of Priscian's text in W are marked as follows: “Codex 50: omitted”.

W never conveys spirits and accents of the numerous Greek words occurring in Priscian's text. Differences with Hertz' edition in this regard have not been recorded.

Differences between W and H regarding spelling, assimilations (e.g. inliterata/illiterata; subposui/supposui) and the use of "h" at word beginning have not been recorded. As for spelling, there are frequent discrepancies in the use of ci/ti; e/ae/ę; i/y; i/e (e.g. elementum/elimentum); t/tt (litera/littera); p/pp; "ms"/"mps" (hiems/hiemps).

Glosses and other interventions on Priscian's text

Interventions by scribes on Priscian's text are listed under the related lemma of H and preceded by the entry: “Codex 50”. They can consist of a text, a decoration, or a graphic symbol. Accordingly, they have been divided into five categories: a) glosses; b) emendations; c) rubrications; d) reference signs; e) annotations signs.

  1. Construe marks, interlinear and marginal annotations, red marginal titles are recorded under the category of “glosses”. According to their function and content, glosses are divided into five main categories: prosodical, lexical, grammatical, syntactical and commentary glosses. This taxonomy follows that provided by Rijcklof Hofman, The Sankt Gall Priscian Commentary. Part 1 (2 vols, Münster, 1996), though with some adaptations. Construe marks are regarded as “synctatical glosses using symbols“, since they facilitate the understanding of the main text by highlighting its synctactical structure and the word order. A reproduction of all construe marks occurring in W opens the digital edition.
  2. All modifications of Priscian's text (expunctions, rasurae, additions) are marked as “emendations”. Letters and words that were deleted in W have been crossed out in the digital edition. Additions appear between angle brackets.
  3. The decorative interventions on the main text in W consist of red initials and fillings. Probably, these were made by the scribe of Priscian's text himself. They have been recorded as “rubrications”.
  4. The “reference signs” (also called reference marks, meta marks, or signes de renvoi) occurring in W are of two sorts: 1) Rarely, reference signs were added as an orientation tool within Priscian's grammar. They highlighted the recurring of particular topics by connecting two content-related words of the primary text. These reference signs are marked as lemma-lemma signs; 2) Usually, reference signs were used to link a lemma to its marginal annotation: these are marked as lemma-gloss signs. In these cases, the scribe drew a sign both above the lemma and at the beginning of the corresponding explanation. The digital edition provides the user with a picture of each reference sign occurring in the manuscript in order to facilitate future studies on the shape and the spread of such graphic symbols.
  5. To this end, we also record all "annotation signs" used in W as a separate category. Annotation signs occurring in W include attention, excerption and omission signs. These were used respectively to call the reader's attention onto particular passages of Priscian's grammar, to select passages for excerption, and to mark those segments of Priscian's text mistakenly skipped by the scribe and added afterwards into the margin of the page. The digital edition includes a picture of all annotation signs occurring in W. For a thorough study on the use of annotation signs in the Latin West see E. Steinová, Notam superponere studui. The Use of Annotation Symbols in the Early Middle Ages, Turnhout 2019.

Glosses: Transcription criteria

The punctuation of the glosses reproduces that occurring in W. Illegible parts of glosses are rendered with dots. If the missing text can be plausibly guessed, it appears between angle brackets with the acronym "C. G." (for Cinzia Grifoni) in italics.

Common abbreviations for et, per, quae, quia, and word endings occurring in W have been silently expanded. The Insular abbreviations for et (in the 7-shaped form), quae (q followed by the three dots/trigon), and est, as well as the common abbreviations for scilicet, vel and id est are recorded. These appear between vertical dashes in the digital edition and can be easily spotted on the related manuscript page in the interactive edition.

The scribes

Provisionally, the writing of both Priscian's text and of the construe-marks are attributed to only one "main scribe", although we know that at least two scribes alternating very often were responsible for Priscian's text (Otfrid of Wissembourg was one of them). A precise distinction of their work will be conducted by the end of the project. With regard to the glosses, three scribes have been distinguished thus far: 1) the first glossator, who can be identified with Otfrid of Wissembourg; 2) a second glossator, who read and annotated Priscian's text in the same time as Otfrid; 3) a third glossator, who added very few explanations and is recorded as a "secondary hand" ("sec"). Both Otfrid and the second glossator wrote a limited number of words in Old High German. These vernacular glosses are recorded in the digital edition. Moreover, they are included in the separate list "Old High German Glosses" on the navigation bar. Here, unpublished glosses (new findings) are highlighted with a brown sidebar.

User's guide

The digital edition provides the user with information about the position of each intervention on the manuscript page (symbol: ), about the writer responsible for the intervention (symbol: ) and about the type of intervention (symbol: ). This symbol introduces words linked together through construe marks. The "simplified" version of the edition displays only the glosses attached to Priscian's text in W. In the "interactive edition" the reader can spot each intervention on the digital reproduction of the manuscript page.

The glosses have been encoded relying upon the digitized images of W available in the digital library of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. Some annotations are hardly legible on the screen and will be checked against the manuscript before the end of the project.

The edition is a work in progress and will be completed until 2025. A search mask will be implemented with the next release.