Manus 16: Eberhard of Bethune. Graecismus [fragment]. Edit


Component Unique Identifier
Item 16
Level of Description


  • pre-1500 (Creation)


  • Scope and Contents

    Language: Latin. Date: unknown [pre-1500]. Title: Graecismus [fragment]. Creator: unknown ; Eberhard of Bethune (13th c.). Place of creation: unknown. Physical description: vellum, 2 leaves (4 pages) ; 21 x 17 cm. Summary: Two leaves excised from a volume of Graecismus, a medieval Latin grammar composed in verse by the 13th century Flemish grammarian Eberhard of Bethune, from Arras. Bethune’s popular grammar was evidently one of those Erasmus studied during his time in school, and four lines from these leaves are quoted in P.S. Allen’s discussion of the text in his The Age of Erasmus. Allen remarks that “its name, Graecismus, was based upon a chapter, the eighth, devoted to the elementary study of Greek, a feature which constituted an advance on the current grammars of the age.” Allen goes on to quote the lines: Quod sententia sit bole comprobat amphibolla, Quodque fides broge sit comprobat Allobroga.... Constat apud Grecos quod tertia littera cima est, Est quoque dulce cimen, inde ctmetcrium. These four lines may be found on the verso of the second leaf, the first two beginning seven lines above the somewhat large initial C near the center of the page, and the final two beginning with that large initial C of Constat, which indicates that this leaf comes from the important eighth chapter on Greek grammar from which the work takes its name. To call this a section on Greek grammar is somewhat generous, as the text generally confines itself to tracing Greek etymologies, many of which, including the above reference to “cemetery,” are ultimately spurious. Aside from his grammatical works, of which there are several, Eberhard wrote an important treatise against the Waldensians, entitled Antihaeresis. For more information, see P.S. Allen. The Age of Erasmus: Lectures Delivered in the Universities of Oxford and London. (NY: Russell and Russell, 1963): 39-41, available online at Offprints of these pages are kept in the folder with the manuscript. Note: Disbound. Written in dark brown ink in three or possibly four distinct hands. Main body of the text supplemented by copious marginal notes, as well as some interlineal notation, much of which is written in a difficult to read cursive gothic script. Includes one large illuminated initial O(?), heavily damaged, in red with blue decoration and a partial border on f. 1 r. Additional initials in red. Trimmed from original size such that the two leaves are not of the same width (f. 2 is 17 cm. wide, f. 1 only 15), affecting the marginalia on both leaves. The upper and lower margins of both leaves have been trimmed also, again affecting the marginal text. These leaves may well have been used as the endpapers of a later volume, as discoloration around the edges suggests the former presence of paste downs. Folio 2 r. also retains traces of glue and paper from a time when the manuscript was pasted to another surface. Ex collection of Victor Berch, Brandeis Special Collections Librarian. Donated by Berch to Brandeis, March 2008. Call #: Manus 16