Forcellini, Egidio

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Priest and lexicographer; b. Campo sul Piave, Belluno, Italy, Aug. 26, 1688; d. there, April 5, 1768. He was educated at the Padua seminary, which he entered in 1704. He spent seven years (172431) as director of the seminary at Ceneda, near Treviso, and the last three years of his life in retirement in his native town. Otherwise, the Padua seminary was his home from boyhood and its library the focus of his work. He first collaborated with Jacopo Facciolati on a number of projects in Greek, Latin, and Italian grammar and lexicography, especially on a new edition (1718) of the then-standard Latin dictionary of Calepinus (first published 1502).

The deficiencies of the "Calepinus" led to the planning of a thoroughly new work, which was to be marked by breadth of coverage, with gleanings from rare authors, coins, and inscriptions, close attention to orthography and arrangement of meanings, and generous provision of illustrative examples. This work, the Totius latinitatis lexicon, Forcellini completed after about 40 years of prodigious toil, but he never saw it in print.

The first edition, dated 1771 (four folio volumes from the Padua seminary press), was followed by five other Italian editions and a number of transalpine and American reprints and adaptations. The best edition is that edited by F. Corradini and G. Perin (Padua 18641920; reprinted, with some additional material in the appendixes, Padua 1940). Until the Thesaurus linguae latinae (1900) was completed, the Forcellini dictionary stood as the fundamental monument of Latin lexicography.

Bibliography: j. e. sandys, History of Classical Scholarship (New York 1958) 2:374377; 3:243. a. zardo, Enciclopedia Italiana di scienzi, littere, ed arti (Rome 192939) 15:662. g. bellini, Storia della tipografia del seminario di Padova, 16841938 (2d ed. Padua 1939) 219221; 255267; 352354; Le cinque edizioni padovane del Lexicon totius latinitatis (Padua 1942). s. serena, S. Gregorio Barbarigo e la vita spirituale e culturale nel suo seminario di Padova, 2 v. (Padua 1963). m. e. cosenza, Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of the Italian Humanists and of the World of Classical Scholarship in Italy, 13001800 (Boston 1962) 2:145355; 5:729. Prefaces of earlier eds. of the Forcellini Lexicon repr. in 18641920 ed., l:xviixlviii.

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