Ars minor.

Donatus, Aelius [Browse]
[Mainz : Johann Gutenberg (Donatus and Kalendar type), ca. 1454-1457].
2 vellum leaves ; 25.5 x 17.3 cm.


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Donatus was a Roman grammarian of the mid-4th century A.D.; among his pupils was St. Jerome. The first part of Donatus's Ars grammatica, commonly called the Ars minor, became the standard elementary Latin grammar for much of the Middle Ages. Many editions were printed in Mainz in the 1450s and 1460s, some even preceding the Gutenberg Bible. Approximately sixty such editions are known, printed either with Gutenberg's first type (the DK, that is, Donatus and Kalendar type) or with the type of the Gutenberg Bible, but none is complete. All are attested only by vellum fragments of binding waste, strongly suggesting that an even greater number of editions has been entirely lost. No fragments printed on paper are known. The text portions represented by these many fragments are typically identified by the chapter and line numbers assigned by Paul Schwenke, Die Donat- und Kalender-Type: Nachtrag und Übersicht (Mainz, 1903), who based his text primarily on a large number of Mainz and Dutch Prototypography fragments. This later medieval recension contains many interpolations not present in the Carolingian manuscripts of Donatus, as edited by Louis Holtz, Donat et la tradition de l'enseignement grammatical: étude sur l'Ars Donati et sa diffusion (IVe-IXe siècle) et édition critique (Paris, 1981).
WHS fragment is a bifolium, ff. 6.9 (Schwenke 17,34-21,12; 27,4-28,45), of a 27-line edition.
Provenance: Sir Arthur Howard; acquired November, 1963.
  • GW 8682.
  • Goff D-315.
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