My PhD

My PhD was published under the title Das Alphabetum vulgaris linguae graecae des deutschen Humanisten Martin Crusius (1526-1607): Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der gesprochenen griechischen Sprache im 16. Jh., Cologne: Romiosini, 2005. ISBN: 3929889714

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This is a study of the manuscript archive of Martin Crusius, a German Humanist of the second halve of the 16th c., known today for his interest for the spoken Greek language of his time (his best known work is the Turcograecia, published 1584). My book follows two objectives:

  • To explain Crusius’s motives for learning Early Modern Greek
  • To edit all linguistic material available in his manuscripts that allow us to reconstruct the spoken Greek language of his time

Mh 466 1.266For achieving these objectives the book relies heavily in the actual data provided by Crusius in his manuscripts. Crusius kept a diary (a sample page is shown here to the left), where his used to write down not only news and letters he received but also his thoughts and strategies, even his own dreams. It is possible to reconstruct with the help of the manuscript material a chain of events that led Crusius to acquire Early Modern Greek editions, start a long correspondence with Greek scholars of his time on linguistic issues and, last but not least, use Greek-speaking visitors in Tübingen as informants / teachers of Greek. Crusius was considered in previous literature as the «first Philhellene» of Europe, an opinion that this book does not follow: Crusius’s interests in the Greek language and the actual life of Greek speakers in the Ottoman empire is related with contemporary social and historical European events of his time.


GH31 In two chapters of the book I have tried to reconstruct Crusius’s study of Early Modern Greek and provide a profile of the Greek speakers he was using as instructors in Tübingen. Again I use data from his manuscripts, this time a special purpose notebook he kept during the sessions with his Greek informants (a sample page can be seen here in the right). Crusius’ notebooks are truly multilingual, written in Early Modern German, Latin, Classical Greek, (some) Italian and, of course, Early Modern Greek (as he heart it from his informants).

The book concludes with a partial edition of what Crusius called «Alphabetum vulgaris linguae graecae», an alphabetically sorted (by the first two or three letters only) word list of all lexical items he had sampled both from texts and the informant interviews. Crusius made a «curious» choice of method for creating this list, using instead of loose paper pages the margins of a printed (1496) lexicographical / grammatical work of Ancient Greek, the «Thesaurus Cornucopiae«, and most specifically a copy now held at the Beinecke library, Yale University.


Do contact me if you need a copy and you can’t get hold of one in your local library.