The first grammar of Persian ever published

Dieu, Lodewijk de (ed.) / Javier, Jerónimo, SJ. [Dastan-i Masi]. Historia Christi Persice conscripta, simulque multis modis contaminata.

Leiden, Elsevier, 1639.

4to. (24), 636, (8) pp.

(With:) [Dastan-i San Bidru]. Historia S. Petri Persice conscripta [...], Latine reddita [...] a L. de Dieu. Ibid., 1639. (8), 144 pp.

(And:) L. de Dieu. [`Ansarha-yi zaban-i Farsi]. Rudimenta linguae Persicae. Ibid., 1639. (8), 95, (1) pp. All titles printed in red and black. Contemporary brown full calf with gilt spine.


First edition of the first Persian grammar ever printed, with two Persian texts edited for the first time from manuscripts. "De Dieu's most striking performance [...] De Dieu is well aware that he is the first to publish a grammar of Persian. [...] In the preface De Dieu relates how he studied Persian with the help of the Constantinople Polyglot borrowed from Gomarus, and mentions Elichmann as the supplier of the manuscript with the 'Historia Christi', which was owned by Golius. The latter also supplied a ms. dictionary of Persian. In the annotations to the 'Historia S. Petri' the original ms. is described: it contained two more Persian texts, and was once bought by the Rotterdam physician Johannes Romanus at Agra in 1626. The volume then passed into the hands of Elichmann, who lent it to the editor. The two chapters from Genesis are taken from a complete translation in Arabic characters [by Rabbi Jacob Tawus] at Istanbul in 1546" (Smitskamp). These are lives of Christ and St Peter, originally written in Portuguese by the Jesuit priest Jerome Xavier (1549-1617) and then translated into Persian at the command of the Mughal emperor Akbar. It was at the Elseviers' request that De Dieu composed, as an addition, the elementary grammar. The grammars of Ignazio di Gesù (Rome 1661) and of Labrosse (Amsterdam 1684) were largely based on his work. Willems notes that Raimondi, as early as 1614, produced a grammar in Rome for the use of missionaries which remained virtually unknown in the west, but this existed only in manuscript (cf. Smitskamp).

Occasional slight brownstaining, but a good, tight copy from the library of the Swedish antiquarian bookdealer Björn Löwendahl (1941-2013).

Smitskamp, PO 310. Willems 490 & 477. Copinger 5255 & 1314. De Backer/S. VIII, 1339, 8 & 9. Rahir 473. Berghman 674. Schwab II, 727. OCLC 6445068, 6445039, 82252380.

Art.-Nr.: BN#44926 Schlagwörter: , , ,